Emotions are information. Through emotion our body tells us things (often important things) and upon which our brain is trained to react.
This system developed as an evolutionary adaptation - fear of being eaten by a bear produces a fight/flight/freeze reaction.
Today this system gets invoked for reasons that often don't have anything to do with why we evolved the system in the first place, and it is therefore an imperfect system.
We can pay attention to this in ourselves. Understanding that we are having an angry reaction is meaningful - perhaps we should be angry. We also may be reacting to one thing (work) and taking it out some place else (home). This is less healthy.
Choosing these reactions and managing them are part of being an adult. It isn't easy. I've found Focused Attention Training and meditation to be effective ways to understand these streams of information and work on managing them in an offstage way.
This can help you later on when you have to manage them onstage.
You can also understand people by looking at their emotional reactions, though again, this is an imperfect system.
A person may display anger for a number of reasons:
- Pain (physical or emoational)
All of these are examples of the brain doing the best it can to handle a situation.
What is happening inside that person you can't tell without talking to them or knowing them very well.
What you do know is that anger is a strong emotional response driven by something that is bothering them. It's an indicator that this person may need help and you should approach it from that direction.
It's also possible that anger is being used to manipulate or negotiate. This is also information.
Here's another good blog post on this topic: post.
My name is Jonathan Fries. I work for Exadel, Inc. Exadel is a great company, with great people all around the world. I currently lead the Boulder, CO, USA office.