The Aftereffects of Anger

You find yourself angry with a loved one and have called a time out. Your partner is having a hard time containing hostility, so you agree to table the discussion, for now. The best solution to an angry situation is a promise to regroup and try again when our tempers have cooled and our nostrils are less flared. But what happens to us in the aftermath of anger? What are it’s aftereffects?

  1. A narrowing of attention. One of the common prompts to anger is a feeling that you are being treated unfairly which leads us to blame. This doesn’t just go away when you leave the room. Very often, we will continue to ruminate about the situation that is ticking us off.
  2. Bringing the past back into the present. Very often, the issues we have with a person is part of a pattern. In the aftereffects of anger, we can stew about all of the times in the past when we felt the same way, locking ourselves into feeling hopeless about the possibility of change.
  3. Feeling numb or disconnected. Sometimes this comes from our body’s physiological response to being riled up, other times, it is a psychological effect of trying to process all of the frustration, irritation and outrage we have felt.

Recognizing that the aftereffects of anger are present are an important part of choosing an appropriate amount of time in order to process. The 24 hour rule is often a good one, as it gives us time to allow our rational brain to weigh in on the situation. It also gives us time to chat it over with a friend, or work on thinking about a solution before returning to a discussion about it. The aftereffects of anger; important knowledge to have in our tool belt when it comes to understanding this complex, yet simple emotion :)

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