Dealing with Depression, Anger and Moods: Anger

Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus


“You’re lucky that kid only flipped you off, Wally!” his wife screamed as the other car sped away. “He could have pulled a gun out instead!”  Wally knew Sandra was right. His inability to control his anger was destroying his life: no one in his family would speak to him except his mother, and he’d recently been fired from his third job in six months.  What Wally didn’t realize was that his anger was actually affecting his physical health.


Anger is the most destructive emotion ~ more damaging than depression, anxiety, or guilt feelings.

You may have heard the theory that people who display so-called “Type A” behavior ~ often rushing, impatient, hard-driven, and over-ambitious ~ are at greater risk for heart disease than people with

“Type B” characteristics ~ those who are more laid-back, easygoing and unhurried.

Well, further studies showed that the problem or the killer was not due to the pace, the pressure, or the hard-driving qualities of Type A behavior, but that these personalities were usually very hostile, and that anger was at the root of it.

The destructive impact of anger on a person’s physical and mental health has now been well documented. But where does anger come from? How is it generated? The simplest answer is that we create anger by placing demands on ourselves and others.

It’s the theme that crops up time and again ” ~ the impact of shoulds, oughts and musts. Anger always entails a should. “You should have known better!” “You shouldn’t have been sassy to your Uncle Charlie!”

• Shoulds and should nots ~ the more you have, the angrier you will be.

Unless you are Jehovah and run the universe, you really don’t know what “should” and “should not” occur. You know what you would prefer, what you desire and wish for, and what you think is right and wrong, good and bad.

To say: “I think it would be nice if you did more work around the house” is very different from “You should do more work around the house.” Why should anybody do anything? The point is that you would appreciate it if certain things were done, or perhaps done differently.

But that doesn’t mean that anyone should obey your wishes and that it makes sense to get really mad at them if they don’t.

• Give up your shoulds, stop laying them on others, and see what happens to your emotions.

You will definitely experience less anger, and you may live a longer, healthier and happier life.


Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus is a licensed psychologist, Co-founder and Clinical Director of The Lazarus Institute. In addition to his general psychotherapy practice, Dr. Clifford Lazarus specializes in health and neuropsychology.

Dr. Clifford Lazarus received his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University where he was a Henry Rutgers Research Scholar.  Seen here are excerpts from one of his books, The 60-Second Shrink – 101 Strategies For Staying Sane In a Crazy World, a book, he co-authored with his father “One of the ten most influential psychotherapists in America”  Arnold A. Lazarus, Ph.D.  For more details on Dr. Clifford Lazarus visit this link to The Lazarus Institute.  Or visit his page here on


Books available at Amazon by Arnold and Clifford Lazarus

Direct links to two highly recommended books by Dr. Clifford Lazarus and Dr. Arnold A. Lazarus:

The 60-Second Shrink: 101 Strategies for Staying Sane in a Crazy World 

Don’t Believe It for a Minute!: Forty Toxic Ideas That Are Driving You Crazy

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