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“Anger acts like an early-warning system for our bodies, letting us know when something is not right,” says Paul Roadt, a Mayo Clinic Health System social worker. “We often ignore or stuff down our anger, letting it brew within our mind and body. When we don’t process our anger, it starts to escape our bodies through our words and actions, causing damage to relationships, people, animals or things.”
Roadt explains the damage created by anger does not need to be physical.
“One of the most common presentations I see is internal anger,” he adds. “People will tell themselves, ‘I’m bad’; ‘I’m not good enough’; ‘I let them down’; or ‘I messed up again.’ When these thoughts develop, they reduce our natural ability to handle stressors. This can lead to not having the coping skills in place to handle our anger effectively, causing us to have an anger episode.”
Roadt says if you’ve been able to relate to any of this so far, you might benefit from having an anger evaluation conducted by a mental health professional. If you’re finding yourself physically hurting people, animals or property, he says it’s time to seek help now.
If you struggle with minor anger, Roadt offers a few quick skills you can use to reduce your anger level:
If you feel you would like help with your anger or more skills than were offered here, consider an appointment with a mental health professional to reduce the cost of anger in your life.
Learn more: Anger management: 10 tips to tame your temper.