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5 ways to deal with anger

Dr. Leo Flanagan discusses why it is okay to be angry, upset, and hurt right now. The key is working through these emotions to ensure we don’t act on them. #newdaynw

SEATTLE — For a year and a half, the world has been living through trauma. Just when we thought we were turning a corner, we are dealing with another surge of the virus. It's taking a toll on all of our emotions. 

Psychologist and author Dr. Leo Flanagan said anger is the most powerful drive we have right now. We are wired to try to take flight or fight at any sign of threat. Differences are often perceived as threats.

"It's a neurological need to use up these chemicals, this mobilization, and this hyper-arousal. Anger has become a major problem. It, unfortunately, will probably get worse because things are going to get more complicated as we move forward. We'll get through it, but the more complications and threats the more likely there will be anger."

Dr. Flanagan, who founded The Center for Resilience, says the key is working through these emotions to ensure we don't act on these feelings in the wrong way. He offers these tips to manage your emotions.

1. Realize anger is a natural function of the brain. It's not the person or the situation. You just need to express anger. 

2. Take a deep cleansing breath when you start to feel angry

3. Practice empathy. Empathy blocks the anger. It fires up a part of the brain that counteracts anger.

4. Realize when someone is angry with you, they're probably not angry with you. They're just in the same neurological need to release anger that's been building up.

5. Step back. Take a break. Space is an antidote to anger.

Segment Producer Rebecca Perry. Watch New Day Northwest 11 AM weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day.