5 Reasons to Stop Pretending You're Not Angry

5 Reasons to Stop Pretending You’re Not Angry

Anger is rarely an emotion we think to have more of in life. In fact, we are often taught that it should be avoided at all costs because of the collateral damage it can have on our surroundings. And it can be toxic. But avoiding anger altogether can have negative consequences as well. Knowing when to avoid it and when to indulge can be challenging, and since we usually hear the reasons to avoid it, let’s look at 5 reasons to start being angry instead.

1. Your repressed anger is causing health problems

We tend to think of emotions as being entirely abstract of our physical bodies, but a recent study suggests that emotions manifest physically as well as in our thoughts. Embarrassment can make us blush. Extreme anxiety can make us vomit. And stress can even give us a heart attack.

When we store anger, it is affecting us whether we acknowledge it or not, and unless we allow ourselves to walk through it, it can cause seemingly unrelated health problems. Some of these problems are:

  • headache
  • digestion problems, such as abdominal pain
  • insomnia
  • increased anxiety
  • depression
  • high blood pressure
  • skin problems, such as eczema
  • heart attack
  • stroke

2. Your unprocessed anger turns into twisted behavior

Because our emotions are stored when we don’t address them, they can leak out in uncontrollable ways. We may have held it in initially so as to not hurt or offend anyone, but then we’ll lash out at those who pose a small threat to us, like a child or pet. We aren’t intending to hurt them, but the anger is simmering underneath, and is easily set off when our self-control is weakened.

Repressed anger can also cause anxiety disorders, irrational fear, and blatant rage. The nature of an emotion is that it needs to be felt and heard, so even if our brain is trying to keep it all in, it will find a way out, and be less productive than if we’d dealt with it originally.

3. Others need to know if they’re hurting you

While there are plenty of times when people intend to hurt or anger another person, there are just as many instances where they have no clue if what they’re doing is upsetting. If we feel guilty for our anger, we may internalize it and blame ourselves, never addressing the real issue. When we allow ourselves to process and realize the anger, however, we will become more aware of the cause behind it. Then we will have the tools necessary to address the person angering us, and give them a chance to change the relationship dynamic.

4. You need to know when to set boundaries

Becoming aware of the people in our lives who anger us is a great first step, because then we can start setting healthy boundaries. Are we angry because of something they’re doing, or is the anger caused by a personal wound from our past that they’re reminding us of? Is it because of an insecurity on our part, or is the other person treating us badly?

The answers to these questions are discovered when we face our anger and walk through it. And this knowledge will give us the clarity to make good decisions about the relationships we allow in our lives. We may need to take a step back from some, and realize that others aren’t as bad as we assumed.

5. Experiencing anger can be enjoyable for you

Believe it or not, there can be a joy in experiencing anger. There tends to be a slanted emphasis on experiencing positive emotions rather than negative, but if we visualize each of our emotions as a different color, an alive feeling of discovery can be experienced as we move across the spectrum.

Experiencing anger in an aware and conscious way is an entirely different experience than  the stuff, deny, and explode method. It can be an amazing process of getting to know ourselves, by understanding why certain elements make us angry.

So while we don’t want to live entirely in a state of anger, we also don’t want to pretend it doesn’t exist. Anger is a natural human emotion, and we need to feel permission to experience it, so we can lead healthier more fulfilling lives.



Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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