“There is no more stupefying thing than anger, nothing more bent on its own strength. If successful, none more arrogant, if foiled, none more insane – since it’s not driven back by weariness even in defeat, when fortune removes its adversary it turns its teeth on itself.”
Seneca, On Anger.
The emotion we call anger exists to promote a fight response to a perceived challenge to your needs. You feel threatened or aggrieved by someone or something – anger supports an intention to overcome, defeat or insubordinate it. If an aggressive response is not appropriate in the social context, where does the emotion find its outlet? Your body is already responding to the adrenalin and cortisol that are coursing through your veins, getting ready for a physical fight. Unable to let loose the emotion right away, perhaps you unconsciously choose to let it out on the next situation or someone who comes along – snapping at your partner, shouting at your children or shouting out loud towards other drivers on the road?
The next time you feel anger rising, take a step back and think again. About to boil over? Take the kettle off the stove, and make a cup of tea instead.