Suppressed anger can do more harm than good! Learn healthier ways to release it

Bottled up emotions can make you sick. Anger is no exception. Learn healthier ways to release suppressed anger with tips from an expert!
angry woman
Don't hold your anger in! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Purvi Kalra Published: 14 Dec 2023, 09:00 am IST
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How many times do you feel boiled up inside due to anger, but you suppress it for one or another reason? Your concealed emotions may keep pestering you at everything you do. Since childhood, many parents discourage expressing anger, portraying it as aggressive and negative. If you are someone who has anger management issues, or you live around people who rile you up by testing your patience, know that suppressed anger will do no good to you. While you don’t always have to lash out at the person in front of you to vent your emotions, there are healthier ways to release anger.

Why do people suppress anger?

Suppressing anger is a common response shaped by societal norms, upbringing, and individual personality traits.

healthier ways to release suppressed anger
There are various reasons that can give birth to suppressed anger! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Here are some common reasons why people choose to keep their anger within, as explained by psychiatrist Dr Ankita Priydarshini.

1. Social conditioning

Early childhood influences: During formative years, children observe and mimic the behaviour of authority figures, often learning that displaying anger is unacceptable.

Parental modelling: If parents suppress anger, children may adopt similar behaviours, viewing anger as something to be concealed rather than openly addressed.

Peer influence: Social groups and peer interactions further reinforce the societal expectation of concealing anger, creating a cycle of suppression.

2. Fear of consequences

Relationship strain: Individuals may worry that expressing anger openly could strain relationships, leading to a preference for silence to maintain harmony.

Professional ramifications: Fear of jeopardizing one’s career or professional standing can be a powerful motivator for suppressing anger, particularly in work environments where emotional expression is perceived negatively.

3. Cultural influences

Collectivism vs. individualism: Cultures emphasizing collectivism often discourage individual expression of anger to preserve group harmony, while individualistic cultures may promote assertiveness but can still stigmatize excessive anger.

Gender roles: Cultural expectations regarding gender roles may influence how anger is perceived and expressed, with certain societies dictating gender-specific norms for emotional expression.

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What are the physical symptoms of suppressed anger?

The internalisation of anger can manifest in various physical symptoms, affecting both mental and physical well-being.

1. Increased stress levels

“Suppressed anger gives rise to chronic stress in the body, elevating cortisol levels and impacting overall mental health,” said the expert.

healthier ways to release anger
Anger management is a skill you need to learn. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Muscle tension and pain

The physical toll of bottled-up anger often presents itself through muscle tension, leading to headaches, migraines, and other bodily pains.

3. Cardiovascular effects

Prolonged suppression of anger may contribute to cardiovascular issues, as the body remains in a heightened state of arousal, potentially increasing the risk of hypertension and heart problems.

What are healthy ways to release anger?

Encouraging individuals to find constructive outlets for their anger is paramount in preventing the detrimental effects associated with its suppression. Dr Ankita Priydarshini shares a few healthy ways in which suppressed anger can be released.

1. Open communication

Encouraging open dialogue allows individuals to express anger in a way that promotes understanding rather than conflict. “This involves active listening, and the ability to voice out feelings without resorting to aggression,” adds the expert. When people feel heard and validated, it fosters resolution and strengthens interpersonal connections, breaking the cycle of suppressed emotions.

2. Physical activity

Regular physical activity is the most natural and effective outlet for bottled-up energy and frustration. Exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancers, promoting emotional well-being. Whether through cardiovascular exercises, strength training, or activities like yoga, physical exertion provides a healthy channel for emotional release, reducing stress and enhancing overall mental health.

healthier ways to release suppressed anger
Any form of physical activity is the perfect way to release suppressed anger. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Mindfulness and meditation

Practising mindfulness and meditation techniques cultivate emotional awareness and control. By developing mindfulness, individuals can better observe their emotions without immediate reaction. “This heightened self-awareness reduces impulsive anger expression, fostering a calmer and more considered response to triggering situations. Mindfulness practices also contribute to overall mental resilience, empowering individuals to navigate challenges with greater equanimity,” says the expert.

4. Journaling

Writing about anger in a private journal serves as a therapeutic means of processing emotions. This introspective practice allows individuals to explore the root causes of their anger, identify patterns, and gain insights into triggers. Journaling provides a safe space for self-reflection, helping individuals develop coping mechanisms and find healthier ways to manage and express their emotions.

Understanding the roots of suppressed anger lays the foundation for implementing healthier outlets. Breaking the silence surrounding anger and embracing these constructive methods paves the way for healthier emotional lives and more resilient relationships.

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About the Author

After testing her skill-set in the field of management and marketing, Purvi Kalra is exploring the world of turning thoughts to words. Her penchant for writing stems for being an avid reader all her life. Her work drives her to be better every day. ...Read More

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