Why Bottling Up Your Anger is Dangerous to Yourself and Others

by Marie Miguel

Man expressing signs of anger. Image source – Pexels.com

What is anger?

Anger is a normal emotion people feel when they are hurt. It’s one of the feelings we need to experience to have stable mental health. A person gets angry if they perceive they’re being treated unjustly. Anger is a way to fight back against being slighted. Some people are good at managing their anger, while others struggle with it. Some individuals lash out when they’re angry, and others bottle up their anger inside. When you bottle up your feelings, that can be unhealthy; here’s why keeping your anger under wraps could be detrimental to your mental health.

Is anger healthy?

Everybody gets angry from time to time. Feeling mad is not a bad thing; in fact, it’s a natural part of human existence. You’re not a robot but rather a person who experiences a myriad of emotions, one of which is anger. It’s a matter of how you express that feeling. If you’re able to productively release your anger, it isn’t a problem. However, not everyone can manage this emotion. Maybe you had parents or guardians who couldn’t handle their angry feelings. You observed them explode or get physical when they felt mad. Maybe you modeled that behavior from them. Perhaps you had a family who viewed anger as toxic. The people in your familial unit internalized their anger. You may have modeled bottling up your anger from them. Whether you explode or bottle it up, anger can become unhealthy when you don’t have an outlet for it.

Why do people bottle up anger?

Some people struggle with expressing anger. If you find that you’re afraid to be angry, you may bottle it up. The reason is that you are worried that you’ll do something you regret. Perhaps you lashed out at others when you were angry in the past. The reality is if you bottle up your anger, you can end up causing you more problems. Here are some things that can happen if you internalize angry feelings

  • You may develop physical problems such as acid reflux or stomach issues.
  • You might develop high blood pressure 
  • You end up lashing out later because you’ve held in your rage for so long
  • You’ve bottled up your emotions, and they come out all at once, and you could harm someone physically
  • You start to feel hopeless and like nobody wants to hear what you have to say

These are some of the consequences of bottling up your anger. Instead of internalizing angry feelings, it’s best to find ways to tell someone that you’re upset.  

Sometimes there is a source of your anger that you can point at, and there’s something you can do about it. Other times you can be angry at a situation that cannot change. If there’s no way to modify something that’s making you mad, you may benefit from channeling your anger into something productive.

How can you express anger in a healthy way?

There are many different activities that can help you express your anger, so you don’t bottle it up. It’s crucial to find something that works for you, so you’re not stagnated by your angry feelings. Here are a few suggestions of things you can do to relieve some anger. 

Writing 

Some people find that writing about their feelings can help them. If you’re feeling angry, try taking a pen and paper out and writing in a journal. You may get clarity on why you’re mad and help you figure out how to resolve your feelings. When you see the words on paper, it can help you decide what actions to take next. There may be something you can do about the anger, or it could be a matter of processing emotion and moving forward. It can help to express your angry feelings without fear of being judged. writing is a great way to release your emotions 

Exercise 

Exercise can be a great way to express anger. You can channel all of your emotions into activity. Whether you go for a walk or run on a treadmill, you can place your emotions into that task. You might try martial arts to channel your anger into something productive. Any form of exercise is a great way to get out pent-up emotions.

Talking about anger in therapy

Therapy is a safe space where you can talk about being mad. A therapist is there to support you no matter what emotions you’re feeling. You may be upset because someone hurt your feelings, and you can’t seem to figure out what’s triggering you. A counselor can support you in working through the anger and finding ways to express yourself to the person who hurt you. That person can help you cope with unresolved anger.

Maybe you’re mad because someone close to you passed away. Death can make a person angry. Anger is part of the grieving process for many individuals. Regardless of the reason you’re feeling angry, it can help to speak to a therapist. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you’re bottling up your anger or if it’s out of control. In therapy, you can learn productive ways to cope with anger and start feeling more in control of your emotions.

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About the writer:

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

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