Why am I So Angry? Experts Weigh-In
Stress and anger are not the same thing, of course, but living in a chronically stressful societal setup with no change in sight—and then being advised to meditate to manage it better—can make a girl big mad. So can fear of, say, the sea boiling over or losing someone you love to gun violence. “There are real social changes we really need to make, to make people’s lives easier,” says Christine Smith, Ph.D., a professor of psychology, human development, and women’s and gender studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, who adds that we’re all so beaten down these days that we can’t help having anger bubble up. “When we’re stressed and exhausted, we have less bandwidth, and that’s when bad stuff comes out.”
To be clear, Smith does not mean that anger is bad—it’s our built-in signal that something isn’t working for us—but rather that we may completely lose it on someone who may not deserve that. When we’re running on emotional and cognitive fumes, she explains, we just don’t have it in us to reason, “Maybe that guy ahead of me at Starbucks didn’t mean to thwack me with his yoga mat.” Instead, we shoot lasers out of our eyes, vent at the barista, or upsize to a Trenta caramel mocha latte with extra whipped cream to try to soothe our souls.