Anger is a natural, (though sometimes unwanted or irrational emotion) that everybody experiences from time to time. It is a primary, natural emotion which evolved as a way of surviving and protecting yourself from a wrong-doing. It may also be a ‘secondary emotion’ to feeling sad, frightened, threatened or lonely. It ranges from mild irritation to intense fury and rage.

Anger may be misconstrued for aggression; however, the goal of aggression may be to harm or injure another person or damage properties, but anger may be harmless. In other words, anger urn aggressive when the emotional attachment is negative. Generally speaking, controlled anger may yield positive result and uncontrolled anger may result in aggressive behavior and consequently cause damages. Mild anger may be brought on by feeling of tiredness, stress or irritation. Anger develops from every area of human endeavour. Anger can be a tool for self defence especially in reaction to frustration, criticism, or a threat, and this is not necessarily a bad or inappropriate reaction. In fact, there is what is known as righteous anger. This type of anger reacts to injustice and such reaction may be physical (staring, frowning and clenching of fists) or verbal (cursing, vituperating, etc.), or both.

Anger can trigger physical changes including an increased heart rate, heightened blood pressure and levels of hormones such as adrenaline preparing us physically for ‘fight or flight’. Due to these physical effects, long-term anger can be detrimental to health and wellbeing. An angry person has the option “to speak, act, or bottle it up”. Expressed anger through dialogue may lead to peaceful resolutions, while acting up due to frustration may cause some damages. When anger is bottled up, it may eventually explode.

(To be continued)

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Dr. Silas Falokun is the coordinator of the Prison Rehabilitation Ministry International (PREMI) in North and South America. He is a behavior interventionist and an expert in prison matters. He is an employee of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.