Anger is a complex emotion. It is an adaptive response that can help with our survival and can be a way of protecting our boundaries and showing others that any kind of injury to our own sense of worth will be challenged. It could also be a gateway to another emotion like hurt, shame or fear.

Anger can be passive. Dispassion, evasiveness, secretive behaviour, manipulation, self-blame, defeatism are all passive forms of anger. Anger can be aggressive. Bullying, destruction, grandiosity, hurtfulness, risk-taking behaviour, selfishness, vengeance, unpredictability, threats etc are all forms of aggressive anger. Anger could also be assertive. For example, behaviours meant to discipline others such as punishment, sternness etc.

Everyone expresses anger at some point of time in their lives. Such an expression is generally episodic – at times the situation even demands one to be angry. The issue with anger arises when it becomes excessive, often translating into aggression or violence, impacting our minds, bodies, and others around us. A person who gets angry can start viewing everything and everyone as a threat, often including themselves. This type of Anger is misplaced, triggering reactions in a situation that could have been associated with other experiences.

Certain people are more predisposed to anger. Holistic systems generally ascribe this kind of dispositional anger to the constitution of a person. For instance, as per the Ayurvedic perspective, the Pitta predominant people are more prone to anger.

From a spiritual perspective, anger arises when our worldly desires are frustrated. These desires arise from the Ego. Hence, dissolving the false Ego is key to overcoming anger.

Some people have internalised anger. Here the inner voice becomes too critical and could cause feelings of worthlessness and anxiousness in a person. Often, people with internalised anger end up crying when they get angry, because they were not allowed to develop boundaries or to express anger freely as a child. Such people have a tendency to repress anger, which also affects self-esteem adversely.

People who tend to externalise their anger, project their anger outward, which ensures that their boundaries are protected, even as that may impact interpersonal relationships and professional prospects. They learnt to externalise their anger because they did not feel heard or because they felt their boundaries being hurt in the past. And so they have their guards up now.

We can address our anger in three steps. First, by raising our awareness about our emotions and recognizing the root of our anger, which will pave the way for building a healthier relationship with ourselves. Recognising and addressing the link between childhood trauma, of fractured, fragmented memories that lay suppressed which affect outbursts or prolonged feelings of resentment will help us be more in tune with ourselves. Second, deepening our acceptance for ourselves and our circumstances by forgiving ourselves, our loved ones as well as the universe or the collective, will help in letting go of anger. It is then we will be able to explain our anger instead of expressing it in an unhealthy manner. And third, learning to transform and channelise anger to something meaningful and larger than us will help us reduce our ego. This could be a sense of purpose, passion, fighting for justice. In this way we will ensure that our anger is not directed towards ourselves or our loved ones.

Emotions linked to the Heart Chakra like Love, Acceptance, Peace, Forgiveness and Gratitude are an amazing antidote to anger and help in cultivating more love within ourselves to enrich our lives significantly. It is important to note that experiencing anger or having difficulty in dealing with anger does not make you a bad person. The awareness of this fact in itself, is a step in the right direction. If anything, there is a need for forgiving and accepting yourself so that one can start giving the same to other people.