Anger is your body’s way of overcoming obstacles. When you find yourself in mortal danger, anger gives you enhanced physical power and sharpens your senses to give you every advantage over your enemy. When you get angry, your blood pressure increases, your heart pounds in your chest and you breathe rapidly, all in an effort to deliver more oxygen to your tense muscles so you can spring into action. You eyesight and hearing improve and your thought processes are sharp and efficient. Anger helps you win. But what if, after all the physical and emotional drama of being angry, you lose the battle again and again? You probably grow very frustrated in addition to still being angry.

Anger and frustration go hand in hand, it seems. There are only two ways to relieve anger- either by getting what you want or by forgetting about it. You become frustrated when you feel neither option will work for you. You realize you cannot have what you want but, for one reason or another, you cannot just let it go.

Both anger and frustration are normal, natural emotions. Anger is a protective emotion, meant to give you the power to overcome potentially dangerous situations. Anger prompts action; it pushes you further into the fight. Frustration is nature’s way of making you question your commitment to this action. Frustration is your body’s way of pulling you out of the fight long enough to reassess your strategy before anger pulls you back into the fray. Anger and frustration, then, are a closed and endless emotional cycle, one telling you the battle is nearly won and the other telling you your efforts are pointless.

Frustration can be described as impotent rage. When you are frustrated, you really want to bring about some sort of positive change to your life but, no matter how mad you get, you cannot make it happen. You feel the utter inability to change something extremely important to you. You might be frustrated about the death of a loved one, or the job you’ll never get, or even upset because the person you love has married another. Your anger and frustration are a reaction to real pain.

Anger and frustration tint your perspective of the world. Indulging in anger and frustration for long periods of time actually changes the way you think and behave. You cannot feel contradictory emotions like compassion and rage at the same time; one emotion eventually wins out. When you are perpetually frustrated, you see the world through angry eyes, only noticing the bad things in life. This negative perception reinforces your belief that the world is dangerous and keeps your mind and body in a constant state of vigilance against predators.

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