Anger is a completely normal human emotion, but it can very easily turn problematic if you let it all out in a torrent of rage towards others. Controlling anger at appropriate times is therefore an important skill.
On this page you’ll find all kinds of tips and advice on controlling anger, courtesy of some great comments different people have sent us. In the comments below you’ll find input from licensed social workers, mindfulness experts, marriage and family therapists and more, along with ordinary people who found some way to handle their anger much better and have a story to share.
It’s my aim to make this the most comprehensive resource on ideas for managing anger, so if you have input to share beyond what’s already been written about, you’re welcome to make a submission and I’ll add it to the article.
And now without further adieu: the comments people have sent us so far on how to control your anger. 🙂
The starting point I give to people who are struggling to control anger is to identify the real emotion they are experiencing. Anger is secondary and is masking what we are really feeling. Are you disappointed, hurt, or afraid? Are you hungry or lonely?What’s are you really feeling underneath the anger and how can we address the underlying emotion. What are you hoping for? And how are you expressing anger?If things were ideal how would you respond when you’re feeling angry instead of lashing out or breaking things or internalizing the anger.So once we identify the primary emotion develop a plan to address that and a goal based on the clients ideal expression of the emotion. If we waved a magic wand and you were controlling the underlying emotion, how would you respond. Have the client mentally draw a vivid picture of their ideal response to their emotions. That way they know what their behavior would look like when they are handling things in an ideal manner.
--Larissa Malcolm, LISW-S, Flourishing Focus
This is my coveted 3-step anger management strategy that works every time!
1. Recognize Your Emotions
When you find yourself in a testing situation, tell yourself, even say it out loud, “My mind is experiencing unpleasantness.”
This creates awareness of the emotion.
This awareness will give you the separation (from the emotion) to gain control and reinforce that this state of mind is temporary, like everything else it too shall pass.
Just by simple acknowledgment, you will take the power of anger away.
2. Ask Yourself – Can I Solve The Problem?
If you can not solve the problem, why get angry?
I ask this question daily. If I’m stuck in traffic, I ask myself, “Can I fix this problem?” if the answer is no, getting upset isn’t going to change the outcome.
When anger takes hold, take 10 deep breaths.
It may seem simple, but the benefits of breathing are endless. And they don’t stop at controlling anger.
It’s impossible for anger to escalate when you are breathing deeply.
--Tina Williamson, Mindfulmazing
Let it out!
Did you know that one of the causes of depression comes from our repressed anger? So don’t waste your time and health in trying to “freeze” it and pretending it’s not there. The key is to find the right channels to express it. You want to find ways to support you in being true to yourself, which won’t hurt others.
My advice is to let it out and talk to a trusted person that won’t judge you but is confident enough to look objectively at your situation.
Also, sport is an excellent tool for dealing with your anger and daily frustrations. In my case, going for a run and listening to energetic music helps me to express my anger and see things from a different perspective.
--Dorota Lysienia, LiveCareer
Keeping anger under control sometimes is difficult but the best practices to live by are to always think before you speak and cool down, there is no need to react immediately but better to walk away and let some time pass by to gather up thoughts for better responses.
Furthermore, getting some physical exercise while listening to music will steer your mind into a different direction. The key is to occupy the mind while allowing positive solutions to accumulate and give you a chance to handle your anger in a positive direction. Once some time has passed, it's easy to discuss the frustration in a rational manner opposed to an emotional one.
--Dan Lysogorsky, IPL Port
1) Learn your triggers: Most of us have big themes that underlie our anger. For some people, it's whenever they feel dismissed by somebody they care about. For others, they get angry whenever they feel overlooked or disrespected. Somebody else might react strongly to perceived condescension. Start to notice the trends around your anger so that you can see what's happening when the anger arises.
2) Take a deep breath: It may feel cliche but there's a reason deep breathing helps. Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing the body to go into a state of rest rather than a state of fight or flight.
--Sarah Epstein, MFT, Sarah-Epstein.com
The first tip I give my clients who struggle with anger issues is to be silent. You’re more than likely to lash out and say things you don’t mean and will regret. Thinking on these things after the situation happened will only worsen how you feel and create resentment within. Try your very best to stay silent. In a situation with a lot of anger and rage, the mind works quickly to protect you however it can which may result in creating a mental and/or emotional shield while reacting in a way that inflicts the same amount of pain you feel or worse. This will only escalate the situation. It’s best to keep silent and walk away from the situation. With a clearer head and heart, deal with the situation as you should have. Without anger clouding your mind.
The second tip I give my clients who struggle with anger issues is to withdraw themselves from the situation at that moment. What is it that not only relaxes you but also makes you happy? Take a deep breath, clear your mind and do it. Do it until you relaxed and clearheaded. When you feel much better, think about the situation that caused all the anger, and try to break it down. What provoked you to get angry? Approach that and deal with it calmly knowing that letting go of your anger is freeing yourself emotionally and mentally. And giving you back your peace of mind and your power.
My primary tip for anger management is to acknowledge and express it.
When I notice the anger is coming, I say it to the person whom the anger is directed to and to myself, Yes, I am angry. It's OK. I allow and accept this emotion. I need to take actions to deal with it. Then I remove myself from the situation. I do tapping on the acupuncture points to release or go for a run, do boxing, or just simply do breathing exercises.
For someone who has very strong anger issues, practice changing the pictures in the mind is very helpful. Each time when getting angry, just picture yourself as this red burning face, then the whole body. Connect yourself with the harm anger has on your body, any image that helps you understand each time when you get angry you burn yourself very badly both inside and out, you become uglier and less attractive, you shorten your life. Your subconscious mind always wants to protect you from danger. The burning image will help shift you very quickly.
--Jing He, Paramount Shift
1. Think earlier than you say anything.
In the warmness of the moment, it is ordinary to say some factor you will later regret. Take a few moments to gather your thoughts earlier than announcing anything, and allow others worried in the country of affairs to do the same.
2. Express your anger solely when you are calm
As rapidly as you are questioning clearly, precise your frustration in an assertive however non-confrontational way. State your concerns and wishes virtually and directly, without hurting others or making an attempt to manipulate them. Had it been my sister had carried out this, I would no longer have overwhelmed her.
3. Get some exercise
Physical hobby can help restrict stress that can motive you to come to be angry. If you experience your anger escalating, go for a brisk stroll or run, or spend some time doing other interesting bodily activities.
4. Take a timeout
Timeouts are now not without a doubt for kids. Give your self speedy breaks for the duration of times of the day that have a tendency to be stressful. A few moments of quiet time may aid you experience higher prepared to take care of what's in boost without getting aggravated or angry.
5. Identify manageable solutions
Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the trouble at hand. Does your kid's messy room pressure you crazy? Close the door. Is your confederate late for dinner each night? Schedule ingredients later in the nighttime — or agree to consume on your non-public a few instances a week. Remind your self that anger may not restoration something and would perchance only make it worse.
6. Stick with 'I' statements
To hold away from criticizing or putting blame, which would maybe entirely make greater anxiousness — use “I” statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, “I'm upset that you left the table barring imparting to help with the dishes” as an alternative of “You by means of no talent do any housework.”
7. Do now not maintain grudges
Forgiveness is a effective tool. If you allow anger and awesome bad emotions to crowd out outstanding feelings, you can also discover your self swallowed up via your very own bitterness or feel of injustice. But if you can forgive any person who angered you, you would maybe each and every lookup from the state of affairs and enhance your relationship.
8. Use humor to launch tension
Lightening up can aid defuse tension. Use humor to help you face what's making you aggravated and, possibly, any unrealistic expectations you have for how things prefer to go. Avoid sarcasm, even although — it can injury thoughts and make things worse.
9. Practice entertainment skills
When your mood flares, put leisure skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a exciting scene, or repeat a calming phrase or phrase, such as “Take it easy.” You would maybe additionally pay interest to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — some aspect it takes to encourage relaxation.
10. Know when to are searching for help
learning to manipulate anger is a mission for all and sundry at times. Seek assist for anger troubles if your anger appears out of control, reasons you to do matters you remorseful about or hurts those around you.
--Patane Joshua, Naija Square
What has, and continues, to help me control my anger and remain in control, even at the worst and most trying of times, is an acceptance of the ancient wisdom of Epictetus:
"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it; you can either accept it or resent it."
Every time my mind takes on the mentality of blaming others for my reactions, and I catch myself thinking that a person or situation has made me feel a strong emotion, I take a pause and force myself to remember, and recite that quote. The only thing in my control, the only thing in my power, is my reaction to a situation.
--Steven Mundy, LinkedIn profile
The fastest, most effective way to manage anger is through affect labeling. Brain scanning studies show that when you affect label anger or other strong emotions, your limbic system is inhibited, reducing the intensity of the emotion, while your prefrontal cortex is activated, which increases your impulse control.
Affect labeling is very simple. All you do is name the emotions you are experiencing out loud, to yourself. The formula is:
I'm angry, frustrated, and pissed off. I'm disrespected. No one is listening to me. I am unappreciated. I'm sad. I feel abandoned, alone, and unloved.
If you say this to yourself, you will calm your anger in seconds. I've taught this to thousands of inmates, teachers, pastors, law enforcement, and regular people. It works like magic.
--Douglas E. Noll, JD, MA, Noll Associates
When we get angry our bodies show the evidence: sweaty palms, a flushed face, shallow breathing, and so on. This is our body's way of preparing to deal with a threat. The limbic system goes into an instinctual process, often referred to as Fight or Flight. The body redirects blood flow away from our digestive system and other functions to our brain and muscles-literally preparing for a fight.
A great tip to help regulate the body and control unwanted responses when angry is to eat. Think about it, we eat when we are safe. Eating triggers our rest and digest function, redirecting the body's blood flow away from the muscles and brain and back to our digestive system. This helps calm us down and let cooler heads prevail. So, next time you feel your body starting to shift toward anger, grab a snack; think fruit, nuts, and grains while avoiding highly processed or sugary foods.
--Austin Pritchard, MA MFT, Homestead Family Therapy
Anger management is a term that is thrown around quite a bit. There are many great tips for anger management and I have used many of them.
But as life keeps changing, so do the situations that can trigger anger inside of us. For me, it was moving my aging mother into our house. I found myself feeling angry all the time- not at HER - but at the changes that came with that major change in my life. As a Certified Transformation, Forgiveness, and REBT Coach, I began seeking a permanent anger management solution.
Through the journey, I landed on WRITTEN GRATITUDE. Practicing gratitude can and will change your life. It brings a sense of peace, calm, and yes, elimination of those intense feelings of anger. Practicing daily written gratitude rewrites the pathways in your brain so that when those triggers hit, your brain immediately takes you to a calmer place of peace of calm. It is truly the magical anger management trick I was looking for. Anger and gratitude cannot coexist. Choose gratitude and live a life of greater calm, productivity, and peace.
--Carrie Vee, coachcarriev.com
My #1 piece of advice for managing anger is to understand that anger is a nervous system response and that when you start to feel annoyed, irritated, or frustrated, it's your body's way of saying, hey I perceive a threat here and you need to pay attention.
Noticing these emotional cues helps bring the more logical and problem-solving part of your brain online so you can accurately assess what's going on and how you want to handle it.
There might not be a logical threat, but your body doesn't know that so simply understanding this can help you put your body at ease.
--Karen C.L. Anderson, kclanderson.com
Here is my number ONE anger management tip for people struggling to control their anger.
TALK IT OUT
There are a lot of healthy ways to get control of your anger management issues, however, the one method that always works for me is to express my anger in a calm more mature way. Whenever I feel angry, I try to calm down by isolating myself at that moment, taking deep breaths, and drinking a glass of water. After that, I sit down with someone close to me (usually a friend) who is trustworthy enough to handle my mood and express why I got mad because I believe that it’s okay to express how you feel. I talk it out and through mutual discussion my stress and anger eventually reduces.
We need to understand that getting mad is totally a normal emotion and there’s nothing wrong with us if we get mad often. What we need to work on are the techniques to create a healthy environment around us for better management of such issues.
--Atta Ur Rehman, Gigworker
There are three quick questions you need to ask yourself before you say or do anything.
Why do I feel the way I do about this?
It's been said: Anger is the mask that hurt wears. Take a moment to figure out why whatever it is hurts you. More often than not when someone gets angry it's because they feel slighted/cheated.disrespected, taken advantage of, or ignored. You also want to make sure your hurt feelings or anger is the result of what is happening now and not a trigger for something else from your past..
Was this said/done with malicious intent? or Is this a case of someone unknowingly crossing one of my boundaries?
Even in long-term relationships and friendships there are instances where your partner or friend has no way of knowing what will set you off. When it is apparent they did not intend to hurt your feelings or offend you then you have an opportunity to explain why it personally upset you.. Oftentimes when people say or do things they operate from their own prism or way of thinking and if it would not upset them they assume it would not upset you.
Having said that many of us are also guilty of assuming those around us would think and feel the same way as we do and therefore avoid such misunderstandings.
What is my goal? or What do I expect to be the final outcome of my rage?
Taking out your frustration on the lowly customer service representative in the call center of the cable company is not going to restore your TV picture or Internet service sooner.
In addition when you instantly respond with a knee jerk reaction you are usually not concerned with the potential consequences of your actions.. For example cursing out your boss may feel good in the moment but it may cause you to lose your job. Saying the wrong thing to a child may be psychologically damaging.
Attacking a mate or friend runs the risk of destroying those relationships. Figure out if your goal is to hurt them/retaliate or address the issue. If your goal is to find a resolution to the problem at hand you are far more likely to seek out ways to gain cooperation rather than creating more hurdles to overcome.
--Kevin Darne, lovealert911.com
Anger is a common human trait but it can have serious repercussions when it goes out of control.
I always considered myself to be in the league of humans who exhibit controlled expression of Anger and that too not often.
But there came a phase in my life some 2 years ago when the demons of Anger had begun to rule my mind. I used to get angry every week or so, expressing it in the form of breaking things and hurting myself. Once, I so badly hurt myself that I required medical attention immediately. I had banged my fist in an empty fish tank out of frustration gathered in professional life and I was bleeding badly as I had raptured my vein. Past that incidence, I worked on my anger management and that was the last time anger could make me senseless and insane.
My Anger management tips:
1. The best chance of taming anger is when it is an infant(in the beginning). So, always keep in mind the outcome of your worst experience with anger in the past. This would help you to pull back the mad horses in your mind at the very beginning before they run amok.
2. Although anger is an internal emotional behaviour but there is always an external catalyst which fuels it. That catalyst may a person or event. So, try to pull yourself at the farthest distance away from that catalyst(source) at the very onset of Anger symptoms.
3. Meditation: While the above two tips are aimed at the treatment of Anger upon its onset, this one can be used as a preventive tool. Meditation trains our mind to tame anger internally even before it expresses itself externally.
4. Smile: I think this tip needs no explanation.
--Sampark Ray, ourpositivestory.com
I own a pest control company, and in this line of work, you will often fail at something several times before succeeding. This slowly became the root of my anger management problems.
I would display irrational emotion to nearly all of my employees despite a less than perfect situation, until I found one paramount tip that helps me out of nearly every anger driven scenario. Not a good industry for someone who suffers from anger issues, but one tip has changed things immensely.
While a fictional ideology, this works for me, and for my children who also suffer mild anger problems:
You have two brains, a rational one and a “lizard/monkey” one. The monkey brain is one that sends you into absurd rages. When you feel an onset of anger or a less than ideal situation, ask yourself 'which brain am I using? '. The great thing is that It doesn’t matter what brain you are using, because by asking yourself a question, you instantly flip the flip to activate your rational brain.
The ‘ungovernable’ anger is now deescalated. This has changed my life, and I have adapted a version of this mindset to my children as well.
The adaptation that I taught my kids who was too young to explain the whole brain thing to- was done by skipping the whole methodology thing. I would simply ask her 'what's 2+2?', instantly triggering her rational thought process and getting back on the calm track.
--Andrew Cunningham, DailyPest
If you are struggling to control your anger, one way to begin to regain control is to recognize the space between the stimulus, why you are angry, and your response, your anger. Sometimes it can seem as though there is no space at all, which is why we lack control of our emotions or actions. However, when you become aware of this space, you can take steps to widen it. Perhaps when that signal first enters- a flare or surge of energy in your neck and your face heating up, or your hands forming fists, allow that to become a signal to engage in the breath of 4-4-4 (Confident Introvert, 2020). You begin by taking a deep breath in for 4 counts, hold for 4, and out for 4 counts. The deepest breath you can muster, focusing on the space between the stimulus and response. There lies your power, and the opportunity to begin to make new choices in self-expression.
--Stephanie Thoma, stephaniethoma.com
As a relationship expert, I can say that anger causes lots of problems in relationships. At the same time, anger cannot be avoided, which is why it is something you have got to learn to deal with and manage.
The best tip I give to my clients regarding anger management is to avoid speaking while you’re angry. Be quiet. Cry if you must, but you should not attempt to explain yourself or argue when you’re angry because emotions can definitely get the better of us. By keeping quiet, you can avoid getting into trouble and you can have time to think and calm down.
--Michelle Devani, lovedevani.com
For what I have observed and what the visitors on my blog say, people tend to become angrier after they become parents. No matter what the cause, this anger is often taken out on kids, unreasonably. And kids who experience authoritative parenting especially shouting and beating tend to have low IQs, low self-esteem and are more likely to become victim to substance abuse. Keep in mind, not all of this is impulsive or momentary, bad parenting is usually the result of bad childhoods. So, in a way, parents imprint the same wounds they themselves experienced in their childhood.
However, all of this is unconscious and we can make a difference if we want to. My epiphany came when I was angry at my five-year-old son for throwing his toys everywhere. At first, it felt as if I had failed as a parent but then I realised that was not the case. Instead, my son just wanted attention and once I gave him my full attention, he told me what was bothering him. Had I spanked him or leashed out to him, he might have behaved for a while but his fear would have been over. Soon he would have repeated his misbehaviour/
This led me to recall all the times I've spanked or leashed out at my son. Most often than not it was my bad day at work or some incident at the grocery store that caused me frustration at home. Nonetheless, as an educated and caring mother, I've decided to overcome this issue. Some easy tips for this;
- Observing your anger, not being led by it
- If something makes you angry, take a step back, write your thoughts on a piece of paper and leave the matter for 1 week. After one week reread the page, and most probably you will not feel the same anger.
- Remember that you are not perfect either
- Have a creative hobby that will direct your anger somewhere else, for example, Tennis, Squash or golf
- No matter what happens physical and verbal abuse is not an option
If still, you feel that you can't control your anger, then you should consult a counsellor. Remember seeking help for mental issues is beneficial, normal and not an embarrassment. I hope this insight was useful to you.
--Elizabeth Hicks, Parenting Nerd
I used to be a hothead during my younger years. I was easily ticked off, I had road rage, and overall, I was an impatient fella. Then an old friend introduced me to mindful meditation. Initially, I simply brushed it off as a “hippie” activity that won’t work for me. Then she said all I needed was ten minutes during the day, and knowing it won’t require a long period of time was encouraging.
I’ve been doing it for the last 15 years, and I can say it did help. It helps you be more mindful of those moments you’d want to go on beast mode, so to speak. In my case, it reminded me of how short life is to spend being angry and agitated all the time. Now, I still have moments of anger, but they no longer run my life like how it was in the past.
So if you’re going through the same phase, just take ten minutes of your day to stay still and calm your mind. It’s a practice that can definitely change your life for the better.
--Sam Lowy, Life Insurance Star
Anyone who said you couldn't run from your problems clearly never tried. When I'm angry, I lace up my running shoes and head out the door. Even though I meditate regularly and know how to process strong emotions that way, nothing beats a few hard miles for burning through the energy of anger. Exercise transforms the heat of emotion into actual heat in your body. Anger becomes sweat.
When anger muddies the mental waters, running also helps me focus. That focus can clarify the situation, allowing me to see what's really going on. Sometimes, a solution will pop into my head when I'm out on the trails.
The pause running creates provides an opportunity for all sorts of things to happen without me. People change their minds. World events transform. Computer programs update to fix the error that infuriated me in the first place.
If nothing else, going for a run prevents me from doing something I might regret. I haven't yet had to make amends for going for a run instead of shooting back a nasty email. I doubt I ever will.
--Nita Sweeney, nitasweeney.com
If you're in the middle of an argument that you know will escalate, the best way to control your anger is to stop talking.
It can be incredibly hard especially when you're steaming but don't let the angry words fly. Believe me, that does more harm than good. Pretend that your lips are glued together.
The moment you stop speaking is the moment you start collecting your thoughts. When that happens, you're able to see things more calmly. This gives you a chance to take control of your emotions and also take into account the other person's feelings.
You'll be able to handle the whole situation better when you're empathetic. However, if you feel your anger turning into outburst or aggression often, it's best to consult a therapist or a mental health specialist. They'll not only help you identify all the underlying causes that contribute to your anger and emotional issues but also help you work through them in a healthy way.
--Shristi Patni, F and B Recipes Food Blog