You may not associate anger with anxiety – one reason for this might be that people who are often worried are also often very polite, responsible and people pleasers. Sadly they can also be overly self-critical.
If anger is not experienced safely there can be a heavy price to pay and that price is not just your mental health but also your physical health. You can become vulnerable to illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, upper respiratory illness, chronic pain and cardiovascular disease.
Studies from Concordia University demonstrated that internalised anger is a conduit for anxiety. Meaning if anger is internalised instead of expressed then anxiety increases.
So why do we repress our anger? Well lots of us are taught as children that anger is bad, it’s rude and that it equals out-of-control behaviour.
As adults we may have established a pattern of feeling afraid of our anger and instead of experiencing this emotion we repress it. Denying feelings can only work for so long because all feelings go somewhere.
Pretending that a situation or person has not upset you is to deny yourself, your authenticity, now you are a ticking time bomb.
Children learn to experience feelings safely from the experience of their parents doing exactly that, if Mum or Dad cannot own their feelings or expose them in a dysregulated manner then children learn to feel confusion, shame and a sense of not being good enough when they experience their natural normal emotions.
So what can we do to re-train our brain to stop repressing our feelings? First of all give yourself permission to experience all your feelings and start paying attention to the sensations your body feels when these emotions are activated.
With acknowledgement to Linda Esposito, thank you.