Understanding the Link Between Anger and Anxiety

Anger and Anxiety

Anger and anxiety share a complicated relationship. It is one frequently misunderstood, which can make it difficult to seek appropriate treatment. While the ties between these two emotions aren’t easily distinguishable, they are capable of interacting in ways that can wreak havoc on a person’s quality of life. If you are experiencing this convoluted combination of emotions, you may be seeking answers. In order to fully understand the association between anger and anxiety, you must first understand them separately.

Your anger might actually be the result of anxiety you have been experiencing. People with certain anxiety disorders may not be getting adequate sleep or nutrition or be able to participate in hobbies or activities that normally instill a sense of calm. These factors can exacerbate small issues, leading to anger. On the other hand, those who typically exhibit an angry personality may feel anxious or impatient when they don’t get their way. The more anxious they are, the more their anger worsens, which can, in turn, affect their personal relationships and professional lives. There are a number of reasons why the combination of anger and anxiety is problematic. Learning to manage these feelings is important in leading a happy, healthy life.


Common Causes of Anger


Anger is a powerful emotional response to certain situations that cause you to feel displeased, antagonized, resentful or agitated. There are a wide variety of things that can make you angry, but one of a few primary causes may be to blame. These include the following:

Disappointment  – Expecting one thing and instead receiving another can be a major trigger for anger.

Frustration – Situations in which you don’t get what you want can cause frustration, which may lead to anger. These can include waiting in line or arguing with your insurance company over a claim.

Hurt – Some people tend to mask their own feelings of hurt with anger.

Annoyance – This can include instances like your car running out of gas on the way to an important event.


Types of Anger


There are different types of anger. You may have experienced several of them throughout your life. Dealing with overwhelming amounts of these types of anger can lead to anxiety.


Passive Aggressive Anger


One of the most common ways of dealing with anger is to exhibit passive aggressive behavior. If you are passive aggressive, you may avoid directly saying that you are angry, instead using sarcasm or other methods that may hint that you are displeased.


Sudden Anger


Sudden Anger is the term used when your anger comes seemingly without notice or cause. Episodes of sudden anger may happen quickly and pass quickly with the potential to leave behind emotional damage.


Paranoid Anger


Believing that others are targeting you is common if you have paranoid anger.


Shame-Based Anger


People who exhibit shame-based anger are very sensitive. They might lash out once they receive criticism as it brings out their own personal feelings of worthlessness. This may cause them to become angry and blame, criticize or ridicule others.


Addictive Anger


There are some people simply addicted to anger. Anger may give them a rush of excitement, which may cause them to pick fights or seek out other ways to achieve this type of “high.”


Habitual Anger


Some people feel anger so much that it becomes a habit for them. They might exhibit grumpy behavior or have a tendency to become angry over small matters.


Planned Anger


Planned anger is deliberate and often a result of a need for control. People with planned anger seek to gain power by bullying or threatening others.


Moral Anger


If you exhibit moral anger, you may feel as if your anger is rooted in a good cause. With this type of anger comes a sense of superiority as you might look down upon those who have broken the “rules.” People who commonly exhibit moral anger often see the world in black and white and may lack empathy.


Symptoms of Anger


There are a number of emotional and physical responses associated with anger, anxiety and a combination of the two. Some physical symptoms of anger may include the following:

  •      Clenching your jaw
  •      Stomach ache
  •      A feeling of tightness in the chest
  •      Heart palpitations
  •      Sweating
  •      Shaking or trembling
  •      Increased blood pressure
  •      Pressure in the head or sinus cavities
  •      Fatigue
  •      Dizziness
  •      Headaches


Emotional symptoms can include the following:

  •      Irritation
  •      Depression
  •      Feelings of guilt
  •      Resentfulness


Methods to Help Manage Anger and Anxiety


Whether you are searching for the best herbal remedy for anxiety or seeking therapy to address the range of emotional symptoms you might be experiencing, there is a variety of ways to manage the emotional and physical symptoms that come with feelings of anger and anxiety.


Maintain a Diary


Keeping track of the instances in which you become angry and the events that lead to these moments can help you better understand the root causes of your anger and how they can best be avoided. Jotting down your thoughts in a diary for a few weeks can be a great start in recognizing your triggers and how to better manage them.


Practice Breathing Techniques


Breathing deeply has proven to be effective in stress reduction. People tend to hold their breath or breath in rapid, shallow movements when feeling angry or anxious, which can lead to more tension. If you feel a bout of anger or anxiety coming on, breath deeply, allowing your breath to flow deep into your diaphragm.

Other methods that may be effective at managing different types of anger include…

  •      Anger management classes can help you properly understand your anger,
  •      Taking a “time-out” period of a few minutes to gather your thoughts and cool down before you discuss a problem with someone,
  •      Avoiding aggression while discussing an issue with someone (Be assertive with your points, but do so in a non-intimidating manner.),
  •      Discussing the issue with a friend prior to confronting the person with whom you are angry,
  •      Channeling your energy into physical activities, and
  •      Participating in a calming hobby.


Anger and anxiety may be more closely linked than you realize. Anger that results from anxiety can be particularly frustrating, and it may take a great amount of effort to learn to control and reduce these emotions. Controlling your anger and controlling your anxiety are two separate tasks that can be enormously beneficial for your emotional well-being. Understanding the underlying causes of these and addressing them accordingly can lead to a better quality of life for you and those closest to you.


Have you experienced feelings of anger and anxiety? What techniques have you found most useful in managing these emotions?