What is Anger?

Written By

Kannika Iyengar

Nov 16. what is anger.Final-02 Loading

Anger is a natural emotion that we all experience from time to time and it can range from mild irritation to frustration to rage.

Anger basically has three components:

  1. Physical reactions, usually starting with a rush of adrenaline and responses such as an increased heart rate, blood pressure, and tightening muscles; often known as the “fight or flight” response.
  2. The cognitive experience of anger, or how we perceive and think about what is making us angry. For example, we might think something that happened to us is wrong, unfair, and undeserved.
  3. Behaviour, or the way we express our anger. There is a wide range of behaviour that signals anger. We may look and sound angry, turn red, raise our voices, clam up, slam doors, storm away, or otherwise signal to others that we are angry. We may also state that we are angry and why, ask for a time-out, request an apology, or ask for something to change.

Anger is a warning bell that tells us that something is wrong. But it can also motivate us to stand up for ourselves and rectify injustices. In an anger filled situation when we manage ourselves well, it can also prompt us to make positive changes in our lives and the situations we find ourselves in.

However anger that is not under control or mismanaged is counterproductive and unhealthy not only to the concerned individual but also to the people around him / her. Poor decision-making and problem-solving skills are affected when anger is out of control, too intense or misdirected. Not only that, mismanaged anger can also create problems in relationships, at work and home, and can affect one’s health.

A common question I am asked by parents is how do they know their child has reached the tipping point and his / her anger is out of control? Temper tantrums are normal for young children while lashing out with words is common with teenagers. But when parents are not able to cope with the anger, when their efforts are ineffective in dealing with their child’s anger, that is the tipping point and it is imperative that parents seek professional assistance if their child is in that position. In some cases, there may be medical or neurological reasons for a child’s inability to control his / her anger.

Believing that a child’s anger is “just a phase” that he or she will eventually outgrow is to deny what could be a serious problem. Before uncontrollable angry behaviour escalates to a point of no return, parents can confront it and get the professional help they need.

So parents, please don’t feel that it is only your responsibility to control your child’s tantrums and anger – sometimes you need help and it is better to seek it earlier than later.




Kannika Bharath Iyengar, 27, is a Masters in Counselling from the University of Edinburgh. She is currently consulting in a number of Bangalore-based organisations for work related to autism spectrum disorders and counselling. Kannika counsels people across a range of economic and social backgrounds, and dealing with issues ranging from academic and adolescent to marital problems, old age related issues, aggression, obsessive compulsive tendencies, etc. She is also a passionate baker and loves to use healthy ingredients to make great food, and teach the same to others. A green advocate, Kannika ensures that people around her produce as little waste as possible and make the world greener.

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