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What Are the Stages of Anger?

Anger is a complex emotion that unfolds in stages, starting with a trigger and escalating to a peak of intensity. It begins with irritation, builds to frustration, then evolves into outright anger, and can culminate in rage. Each stage is accompanied by physical and psychological responses. Discover how recognizing these stages can empower you to manage anger effectively. What might your anger be telling you?
Christina Edwards
Christina Edwards

One of the main human emotions is anger, which enables a person to express his displeasure regarding a certain situation. One of the first stages of anger is the build up of the anger. This is then usually followed by a triggering event, or an event that causes a person to head into the next stage. The emotional outburst and the calm moment after it are also often considered the last two stages.

Although many people attempt to suppress it, anger is a natural human emotion. Healthy anger is usually an emotional outburst caused by an unpleasant stimulus. People may get angry for a number of reasons, but some people may also get much angrier than others, and this is sometimes referred to as unhealthy anger. No matter why or how a person gets angry, however, nearly everyone goes through the stages of anger.

Anger is a natural human emotion.
Anger is a natural human emotion.

One of the first stages of anger is the build up of negative feelings. This usually occurs at the first sign of an unpleasant stimulus. A person may feel irritable or edgy. This stage, sometimes referred to as pre-anger, is usually the best time to try to suppress the anger or rage.

In nearly every situation involving anger, there is usually a specific event that triggers the emotion. This is the event that causes a person to have an emotional outburst. A triggering event will usually be different for nearly everyone, since everyone has different tolerance levels when it comes to anger.

People may get angry for a number of reasons, but some people may get much angrier than others.
People may get angry for a number of reasons, but some people may get much angrier than others.

Something that angers one person may not necessarily anger another person. For instance, most people would become angry with another driver only when he crashes into them in traffic. Some people, however, would be angry with another driver when that driver failed to use his turn signal.

An emotional outburst is often one of the most recognizable stages of anger. This outburst can include a number of reactions. Some people may simply raise their voices slightly. Other people, however, may resort to verbal or physical abuse.

Although anger is considered a healthy emotion, difficulty with controlling it may lead to high blood pressure.
Although anger is considered a healthy emotion, difficulty with controlling it may lead to high blood pressure.

It is not entirely uncommon for a person to resort to violence when he is angry. A person may break an inanimate object, for instance. He may also, however, direct his anger at other people, sometimes causing injury. The aftermath of the emotional outburst is one of the calmest stages of anger. A person usually calms down quite a bit during this stage.

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    • Anger is a natural human emotion.
      By: Minerva Studio
      Anger is a natural human emotion.
    • People may get angry for a number of reasons, but some people may get much angrier than others.
      By: gstockstudio
      People may get angry for a number of reasons, but some people may get much angrier than others.
    • Although anger is considered a healthy emotion, difficulty with controlling it may lead to high blood pressure.
      By: Minerva Studio
      Although anger is considered a healthy emotion, difficulty with controlling it may lead to high blood pressure.