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Anger affects people in different ways. When it is left uncontrolled, it can lead to arguments, self-harm, fights, and abuse, among other things. Experts also point out that uncontrolled anger can be toxic damaging to your health. “If you have intermittent episodes of really very severe anger, it can affect the heart,” Dr. Michael A. Kutcher, an interventional cardiologist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, told U.S. News. “It’s kind of an adjunctive risk factor. It’s not of and by itself a cause of coronary artery disease or a cause of heart disease. But if the anger is sustained and the blood pressure is affected, and the heart rate is affected, that indirectly can lead to coronary disease or disease of the heart muscle.” If you are chronically angry, it is likely to keep you from living your best life. Here are five ways anger holds us back and how to conquer it.

It Stops Us From Confronting Our Hurt

If you’re always angry, you need to ask yourself what is at the heart of it. There may be something deeper that’s driving your anger. Maybe it’s a pain of early childhood abuse, a failed relationship that you’re not complete about, or the loss of a loved one that has broken you down to the core. Sometimes, it’s easier to deal with anger than it is to deal with the hurt. We mask our emotions, so we don’t have to deal with them. There is freedom in confronting your anger head-on. If you’ve never considered therapy, maybe it’s time to think about talking to someone. This person can help you work through your anger and figure out what’s at its root. This can be the first step in your healing.

It Keeps Us From Connecting With Others

Anger can disconnect us from the people we love the most. Think about the most explosive argument you’ve had with a partner or a friend. You can’t forget the sting of the argument, and those words can never be taken back. These ongoing arguments can cause major damage over time and get in the way of you loving your partner as you should. Often, misunderstanding is at the bottom of the anger. This is why communication is so important in relationships. If you and your partner are angry with each other, stop and try to figure out their frustration. Maybe it’s something they’ve mentioned before, but it may be something they’re afraid to talk to you about. The more time you take to listen to them, the more connected and comfortable they will begin to feel with you.

It Triggers Us

Many people fail to realize that there are often triggered and re-triggered by the same things. If you don’t know what your triggers are, they will keep showing up again and again. That’s why you must become aware of the triggers so that you can prevent the anger from showing up in the first place. Maybe you’re triggered by a particular person who hurt you in the past. Maybe it’s a certain memory, hearing a particular word, or listening to someone bring up a sensitive situation. If there is a person who is constantly poking you and triggering your anger, you may want to consider dialing back from them. It’s hard to eliminate certain people from our lives, but if they get in the way of our emotional well-being, they shouldn’t be around.

It Causes Us to Overthink

Have you ever heard of analysis paralysis? It’s the kind of overthinking that gets so bad that you can never make a solid decision. You often find yourself caught between dwelling in the past and worrying about the future. The more you think about the situation, the worse you begin to feel. The anger, anxiety, and frustration that show up when we overthink can keep us from moving forward.

Some people find that their anger is triggered by a person that has done bad things to them. They can’t move past the situation because they can’t get out of their head. If talking to this person is off the table, consider writing them a letter. You don’t have to send this letter to them. It is for you. Write out everything you’re feeling – your anger, pain, frustration, rage, and brokenness. Let them know that what they did was not ok. Then tell them how much you’ve accomplished despite them. This exercise can be incredibly freeing. Just writing the words out can transfer that negative emotion to the paper and help you take the first step in moving past the hurt they’ve caused you.

It Keeps Us From Trusting God

The enemy loves when we’re angry. He takes the opportunity to take advantage of us when we’re going through painful situations so he can try to dominate our lives. When we allow this to happen, it is a sign that we are unwilling to trust God. While it can be easier to fall into our anger, we must let God take the lead.

It may feel like God is far from you when you’re angry, but that isn’t the case. God is aware of our pain and the suffering that we’re going through. Trust Him to guide you through your anger and pain. Call on Him when you are in the middle of an argument or feeling so low that you don’t know if you can keep going. He is not far from you.

Anger is an emotion we all have to deal with. It often comes up when we’re dealing with tragic and difficult situations. Some will confront anger more than others. Some are fortunate enough not to have to deal with anger regularly. No matter what your circumstances are, you must deal with your anger before it deals with you. Don’t allow anger, fear, and pain to destroy you.

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