There is an intense relationship between anxiety and anger. Understanding this interaction is perhaps one of the most important concepts that will have a major impact in calming down your nervous system.
- Anxiety and Anger are universal. Few human beings have seemed to rise above them because they are both survival emotions.
- Anxiety represents a feeling of vulnerability and helplessness. The intention is to be so unpleasant that it compels us to take action to decrease it. So, we are hard-wired to avoid this emotion at all costs.
- Anger feels powerful. It is a fast, effective response that masks anxiety. It also gives you the extra boost to assist you in solving the problem that is causing your anxiety.
The Disconnect of Anger
But what happens to your thinking when you are angry? Not only are the anxiety-producing circuits reinforced, but there is the barrage of angry, irrational thoughts that follow.
- Anger both masks the feeling of anxiety and turbocharges the negative circuits that produce anxiety.
- Anytime you feel angry, you have already experienced some level of anxiety and blamed someone or something for your grief. You are now a victim and the anger kicks in.
- Anger effectively masks the feeling of anxiety while dramatically reinforcing it. It is a deadly axis.
Give Up Your Anger?
Not only is it deadly for your quality of life, but the interaction between anger and anxiety makes treatment difficult. In essence, you are being asked to give up your anger so you can experience anxiety. Raw anxiety is an unpleasant feeling. It is this interaction that may be the root cause of why it is commonly thought that you cannot really be open for change until you “hit bottom.” In other words, the anxiety is so out of control that it can no longer be contained by either functional or dysfunctional means.