Illustration about anger

If anger is taking over your life, it might be time for you to rediscover what makes you happy. Ramona Brewer, a licensed clinical social worker and founder of Hope4Hearts Counseling, gives you some suggestions on where to start.

By Lennie Omalza

It is completely normal to get angry from time to time, but living in a constant state of hostility can lead to mental illness and other issues. Ramona says that oftentimes, a seemingly endless bout of anger is the result of not recognizing and accepting your true feelings.  

“A lot of times, people don’t acknowledge their anger,” she explains. “They don’t speak it, and they may [suppress] it.” Ramona has worked with countless patients on ways to accept their feelings, express their emotions in healthy ways, discover deep-rooted issues, and heal from pain. She holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work, as well as a master’s in guidance counseling, and has worked in the industry for more than 20 years. In 2019, she founded Hope4Hearts Counseling in the Gardiner Lane neighborhood.  

“Anger is just a mask … for deeper emotional issues that we’re not talking about or receiving treatment for — [and that] can lead to mental illness,” she says. Ramona adds that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a heavy influence on this problem.  

“In the beginning, we didn’t have a lot of information,” she explains. “People went from being social and living their daily lives to having [everything] turned upside down. [We were] quarantined and isolated from the people that we love.” In addition to feeling secluded from the outside world and typical day-to-day activities, many people also experienced the loss of loved ones, jobs, and homes. What’s more is that people were not even able to process these losses in the same way they once were. Funeral services, for example, were canceled or moved to virtual formats.  

“There were a lot of news reports saying that Caucasian people were affected the most [by COVID-19],” Ramona adds, “but as time has gone on, more data and research [show] that many people of color have died in greater numbers from the [coronavirus]. Unfortunately, people don’t want to acknowledge those racial disparities. There are people that will flat-out ignore it or say that it doesn’t exist. So, [the anger of] a lot of people of color … can be related to that, because people are ignoring [those] racial disparities.” 

Regardless of whether other people understand the source of your anger, you have the power to find joy again. Ramona says it’s all about self-care. Treating oneself with kindness and love and learning how to express ourselves in healthy ways is key. She recommends getting started by keeping a joy list. “Remind yourself [of the] things that brought you joy before … [the] pandemic,” she says. “You may have [also] learned some new ways of creating joy in your life while you’ve been in the pandemic that you’ve never really acknowledged. [Create] that list and every day, take a few things from it and apply those to try to reset the joy in your life.” 

If people find it difficult to compile such a list, Ramona suggests outside support: “If you are experiencing changes in your life that are negatively affecting your mood [as well as your] physical and emotional state, [and it’s] causing you to become hopeless and unmotivated, please seek professional help.”