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Buck Black, LCSWBuck Black, LCSW
A Blog about Anger and Other Uncomfortable Emotions

The Link Between Anger and Stress

Buck Black, LCSW Updated: Mar 15th 2010

Have you ever looked at the role stress has in anger? Many people say that stress is more prevalent today than 20 years ago. Likewise, others say there is more anger (road rage, workplace violence, and so on). Stress can certainly create a variety of problems. If you are prone to anger, then stress will likely increase your angry behaviors.

stressed businessmanStress is healthy when controlled. Healthy stress (Eustress) is what gets us out of bed in the morning and makes us pay attention to the details throughout our day. This type of stress does not cause anger or irritability. For those who do not have enough stress in their lives, they are often referred to as “lazy” or “unmotivated.”

Distress, on the other hand, is a type of stress that causes many people to be irritable and sometimes downright angry. This happens when the stress is too much and is no longer a motivator. You can think of this as when there is a combination of stressors and things just keep piling up. One day, the person does not know how to handle this anymore and there is an anger outburst.

What feeling is behind stress? I have asked the same question about anger in a previous article. When you are feeling either stressed or angry, there is some other feeling that is fueling this. Often, it is being overwhelmed, feeling disrespected, helpless, fearful and so on. It is very important to look at the feelings behind the stress to better understand why you are having this reaction. Once this insight is gained, then steps may be taken to relax and feel much better.

Once you have identified the feelings and thoughts associated with your stress, take a look at your environment. Do you live in a chaotic home environment or perhaps a have a work environment that is adding your stress? When you identify your environmental stressors, take some time to identify ways to limit these stresses in addition to changing the ways you are thinking.

Substances that often increase stress and anger:

  • Sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Excess food
  • Nicotine

 

    Stress and Anger reducers:
  • Exercise
  • Hobbies
  • Learning communication skills
  • Journaling
  • Engaging in social activities
  • Deep breathing, yoga, Qigong

Here are a few of quick quips for managing stress:

If you allow others to make you stressed, you are allowing them to control you. Do you really want others pulling your strings?

Look at stress as a test. Do you want to fail that test by getting stressed out?

The only person responsible for your stress is you.

Stress is energy. Are you going to use this energy for something productive or destructive?

Will it matter tomorrow? Next week? Next Month?

 

Buck Black, LCSW

Buck Black offers psychotherapy for anger issues through his practice in the Lafayette Indiana area (www.BuckBlack.com) via phone, email, and office visits. He also provides anger and stress management for truckers via phone, webcam, and email at http://www.TruckerTherapy.com. You can also follow Buck on Twitter at @TruckerTherapy or @BuckBlack.

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