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What is really messing up your day? To be honest, it is rarely the huge catastrophes that we get outraged about in everyday life. Serious illnesses, divorces, or accidents are seldom – fortunately.

Most of the time, it’s the daily hassles that lead to stress. It’s the traffic jam on the way to work, the person pushing ahead at the supermarket checkout, or the colleague on the phone talking loudly. All in all, these many minor hassles can still affect our health and wellbeing.
Let’s take a look at why we get angry, what the consequences are and which strategies are helpful.

Schauen wir uns doch mal an, warum wir uns ärgern, was die Folgen sind und welche Gegenmaßnahmen sinnvoll sind.

Why Do We Get Outraged?

Outrage is usually triggered when our expectations are not met. It is related to our beliefs that we acquire in life through parenting, school, or social norms.

For example, if I believe that ‘what you can get today, don’t postpone it until tomorrow’, I will definitely get mad at my colleague who always takes care of everything at the last minute. So here, two conflicting beliefs clash. I’m angry about my colleague who ‘just doesn’t get things done’. Maybe I’ll even take on a task in his place without being asked. In return, the colleague will be enraged about me and may feel pressured. So both of us experience stress due to different beliefs. In the example, I expect other people to do their jobs as soon as possible, but they may not see it that way.

Another reason we get angry in everyday life is that our goals get blocked – by other people or the situation. Our goals are based on needs that we want to satisfy. For example, if I’m hungry and the waitress in the restaurant ignores me for half an hour, for sure, I get outraged. The traffic jam on the way to work also blocks my goal of ‘I want to be on time for work’.

What Are The Consequences Of Outrage?

Perceived outrage triggers a stress reaction: our blood pressure rises, breathing speeds up, and muscles tense. Rage or anger puts our bodies on alert. As a result, adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones) are released, affecting our immune system. The acute anger situation usually lasts no longer than ten minutes, and the physical reactions typically return to normal within an hour.

However, if outrage persists, it can be harmful to our health.

In addition to the physical reactions, anger triggers certain emotions in us. We get furious, fearful, sad, irritable, or feel disrespected or not accepted by others. As a result, our self-esteem suffers. In the worst case, persistent anger can lead to depression.

What You Can Do To Feel Less Outrage.

  • There are several ideas on how to deal with outrage. The first step is to acknowledge it. Notice the anger and accept it. If you suppress outrage or feel guilty about it, the situation worsens, and the stress increases.
  • However, it is not helpful to ruminate about the outrage or to talk about it repeatedly. Subsequently, you will experience the anger situation with all its consequences over and over again. The physical reactions to stress are even triggered when you recap the incident in your mind. Even when you share at home how your colleague ‘annoyed you again’, you’ll experience the anger over. Plus, the negative consequences are also carried over to the listeners. Outrage is contagious.
  • When experiencing anger, you can do various exercises to relax as well as focusing your thoughts and attention on other things.
  • Much more important, however, is not to let outrage arise in the first place. It can be helpful to analyze and question your own beliefs and expectations. Do you really have to get work done right away? Or can it be organized differently?
  • Suppose you find that people around you have goals or beliefs that conflict with your own; talk about it. In many cases others are not familiar with our beliefs. Thus, they don’t know that their behavior may annoy us.

Many of us experience outrage frequently, which is terrible for our health and gets us in a bad mood. However, this does not have to be the case, and you can avoid it with specific training. Things that annoy us occur every day – but how we deal with them determines what happens to us.

Take Away

  • The outrage we experience in everyday life is based on our beliefs and expectations, determining how other people should behave.
  • Also, if the achievement of our goals is blocked, we perceive it as an annoyance.
  • When we get angry, it triggers a physical stress response and affects our emotions. It can harm our health.
  • If we accept outrage, direct our thoughts to other aspects, and be aware and question our beliefs, we can reduce the daily anger.

What are your strategies to feel less outrage? Please share them with us.

Or do you have any questions? I look forward to a conversation.

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Andrea Seekatz

I'm a trained & certified coach (ICF) and psychologist. Don't forget: Take Care of Your Self.

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