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Anger and Depression: A Look Inside
Posted: 11/19/2013 | Personal Development Comments
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Many of us have experienced depression to some degree. We’ve felt the difficult and sometimes crushing emotions that often accompany depression, like hopelessness and despair, frustration and confusion. You may have noticed other classic symptoms of depression, like the lack of energy and motivation, excessive sleep, or losing interest in activities you normally love. Pleasure decreases sharply and you may feel stuck and unable to move forward in your life. Sometimes these feelings can spill outwardly, looking and feeling like anger, even if they’re not. This misinterpretation of anger can make depression all the more difficult to bear.

Anger is a natural part of our protection system. When we feel threatened we tend to fight, flee, or freeze. Since our anger is often a way to protect our more vulnerable feelings–like sadness, shame, hurt or fear–depression might present itself outwardly as anger while softer feelings run the show underneath. Anger also comes in many forms, from impatient, annoyed or exasperated all the way to feeling incensed or enraged. Some of us show anger by shutting down, another with tears, and someone else might immediately jump into a confrontation. All these expressions can be part of depression.

Anger can be damaging depending upon the degree and reaction to the feeling. If we hold our anger inside, we might experience more self abuse or physical manifestations of our anger. If we fight it out, flinging our anger onto others, the negative consequences increase. We might get into legal trouble, lose our jobs or important relationships. When we rage or frequently fly off the handle, we create undue wear and tear on our relationships, and passive aggressive expression of anger also takes a big toll.

How do we begin to deal with our anger when we recognize the impact on our lives?
Anger management programs, for example, can offer a great way to begin unraveling our issues. Many shorter programs can launch our exploration of anger, but ultimately it’s most helpful to explore what’s fueling our anger. We need to ask ourselves, what feelings accompany our anger? What happened in our past to fuel these feelings? Where are we misusing our anger instead of expressing the deeper feelings beneath it?

As we begin to explore all our internal mechanisms,
we learn how to contain our own feelings. Containing isn’t the same as repressing or suppressing; it’s responding, rather than reacting, to life. In time, when we feel anger, we can sift through that emotional briar patch and easily identify our underlying feelings. We can understand our emotional process, work with it, and effectively communicate our needs.

When we learn to contain our feelings, we can ask ourselves a few more important questions:

1. What feeling is under this anger or rage right now?
2. What is it I don’t want to feel?
3. What is this anger communicating to me?
4. Is there something I need to do, feel, or let go of?
5. Is there wisdom my anger is trying to give me about my life or a situation?

With work and attention, we can diminish our angry reactions in life by learning to properly express our displeasure, knowing what’s really going on inside. Our deepening understanding of ourselves not only diminishes our anger and alleviates depression, it brings us a richness we may not have realized was possible. As we continue to grow, learn and practice our new skills, we create more peace and fulfillment in our relationships. We become happier, more grounded and connected people.

Have you noticed anger as part of depression? How have you dealt with it? Please leave your comment; it makes a difference for all of us!

For further information on accessing your wisdom, happiness, fulfillment, and peace you desire, click here to learn about Dr. Howard's Multiple Award Winning Book "Your Ultimate Life Plan: How to Deeply Transform Your Everyday Experience and Create Changes That Last."

 

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