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13 Anger Management Techniques For Calm (That Actually Work)

Learn anger management tips so you can build a healthier relationship with your temper and find more calm in your life.

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Do you ever find yourself swearing wrathfully at another car in traffic? Or do you sometimes lose your cool in emotional conversations with your partner? Or have you ever broken an object by throwing it at the wall? If you resonate with any of these signs of anger, you have lots of company. Nearly 10% of Americans struggle to control their anger management1

If you’d like support with your anger management, we will go over the topic in detail and provide tips to learn to relate to your anger healthily.

What is Anger?

At its base level, anger is a physiological response all mammals2,SADNESS%201%20(negative%20emotions). experience when feeling threatened. The American Psychological Association3,excessive%20anger%20can%20cause%20problems. defines it as “​​an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong.”

There is nothing wrong with experiencing anger. It’s part of what makes us human! Many folks struggle to access their anger, which can result in porous boundaries and feeling unintegrated or disempowered. 

If you have access to your anger, that’s great! Though if your anger comes out more often than you’d like, you may want to contemplate different anger management strategies.

What most people don’t realize is that often, anger is an immediate response to another, more vulnerable feeling.

Anger takes hold of many people when they feel hurt, afraid, rejected, or humiliated. 

According to Brenée Brown’s research, this is especially true for people raised as men. In our culture of masculinity, it might show weakness to experience and express a vulnerable emotion like hurt, and it feels safer and more powerful to bulldoze one’s feelings with anger.

The Gottman Institute describes this phenomenon as “The Anger Iceberg.”

If you need professional support

We are honored to help you navigate your relationship with anger. Please note that all content found on this website is not to be considered professional medical advice. 

Anger is an intense and challenging emotion to master. If you feel like you could use additional support, you could try one of these support groups:

You could also find a therapist specializing in professional anger management on Psychology Today.

Why It’s Important to Manage Anger Effectively

If your anger comes out of you too often without your permission, you might encounter some of the following challenges.

Relationship challenges

While it’s vital to express emotions in a relationship, part of good communication is the ability to express yourself in a way that your partner can receive. Some amount of fighting is actually healthy for a relationship4,%2C%20then%20that’s%20really%20healthy.%E2%80%9D. Still, if your anger is seeping out too often, it can create unnecessary conflict and instill either fear or defensiveness in your partner.

One sign that you may benefit from anger management is if your anger creates a wedge between you and your partner or if fights are overtaking your relationship.

Work difficulties

Working with other people comes with some inherent frustration. Nearly half of workers regularly lose their temper5 at work. So experiencing some frustration, irritation, or even rage in the workplace is normal.

But if you experience anger too readily at work, you may be unable to receive feedback or successfully collaborate with colleagues of differing opinions. If you lash out too often, you might develop a reputation as someone challenging to work with, which could limit your opportunities for career growth.

Poor decision-making

Anger puts a filter on how we see the world and make decisions. When you feel angry, and something goes wrong, you are more likely to attribute blame to an individual6 (whereas if you feel sad, you’ll more likely attribute blame to situational factors). 

Also, when anger is present, situations seem less risky, and you desire more risk6

If your anger runs the show too often, you might find that you send emails you wish you didn’t make, share social media posts that cause harm, spend money you don’t have, drive recklessly, yell at your kids, or even quit a job that you aren’t ready to leave yet.

A classic example of angry decision-making is “ragequitting7,What%20is%20rage%20quitting%3F,the%20customary%20two%20weeks’%20notice.,” when you leave a situation prematurely and spitefully because you are mad. 

While anger can be a source of clarity and courage (as we’ll cover later), if you make too many decisions from an angry place, you are bound to make decisions that don’t accord with your values which you will look back on with regret or embarrassment.

Anger’s impact on your physical health

When you get angry, your heart rate and artery tension increase8,the%20brain%20becomes%20more%20stimulated.. Experiencing anger too often can lead to type 2 diabetes9, heart disease, a weakened immune system10,of%20illnesses%20such%20as%20arthritis., and cardiovascular disease.

Alarmingly, “people most prone to anger were almost three times more likely to have a heart attack than those with low anger in a recent study of 12,986 participants,” according to the American Psychological Association11

Anger is natural and healthy to experience. But if anger dominates your days, then you might be at risk of some of these health conditions.

What Causes Anger?

Your personal relationship with anger

Like all emotions, anger is personal. We each have our unique trauma history and have our own particular triggers for what might incite anger.

Depending on your personal history of childhood loss, relationship with authority figures, and boundary violations, you might have unique situations that give rise to your anger.

Your relationship with anger will also depend on how much anger your household expresses. If your caretakers were frequently angry, perhaps you also expressed frequent anger, or maybe you are afraid of anger.

You also may be more prone to anger simply because of your genetics or if you have a psychiatric disorder12

Like all aspects of your personality, you are who you are because of some combination of nature and nurture.

But while anger is personal, certain events are likely to trigger anger for most people.

Anger at a boundary violation

Famous physician Gabor Mate suggests that emotions (including anger) link to our immune system. The immune system’s job is to let in what is good for us and to reject what is bad. Anger is the emotion that rejects what is bad.

Anger will arise if someone encroaches on you, either physically or emotionally. Dr. Mate suggests that when you suppress your rage, you suppress your immune system, which can lead to autoimmune disease, neurological diseases like ALS, and even cancer.

Anger is one of the best clues that one of your boundaries is activating. For example, you might notice anger if someone encroaches on your personal space, hugs you when you don’t want to receive touch, or gives you unwanted advice on a sensitive topic without asking.

If you’d like to see how other mammals express anger at a boundary violation, check out this mother bear protecting its cubs from a larger male bear!


Anger at greater injustices

Anger is also linked to perceiving societal injustice13 It might be seeing someone litter, witnessing a sexist comment, or thinking about the political divide in your country. 

When something happens that we deem to be wrong, the natural reaction is anger.

Anger at personal injustices

Similar to perceiving societal unfairness, you might become angry when you feel someone has treated you unfairly.

It might feel unfair if you don’t get a job that you are qualified for or if someone cuts you in line.

Anger when others disagree with you

Multiple studies suggest that the more correct14 you believe you are on a topic (for both innocuous and important topics), the angrier you become if someone disagrees with you. Interestingly, it doesn’t matter how clear you feel about your opinion, just that you believe you’re right.

This might suggest why people get so fired up about their political opinions. And in fact, brain scans show that when someone challenges your opinion15, parts of your brain activate that control deep, emotional thoughts about personal identity. When this happens, people go into defense mode and become less likely to change their minds. These results intensify when the topic is more central to one’s identity and worldview.

Our identity and sense of the world exist within our beliefs. And when someone disagrees with us, they challenge our beliefs, which feels like a threat to our entire identity and world.

Anger when your goals get blocked

Another common cause of anger is when your ability to achieve a goal16 gets blocked. 

This could manifest as anger if you don’t land the promotion you want, or it could arise as frustration that you’re out of milk and cannot achieve your goal of creating a bowl of cereal. 

A common trap to fall into is taking on a victim mindset. This is where you feel disempowered and blame others for your stalled goal achievement—blaming your spouse for not buying new milk, blaming your boss for not seeing your greatness, or blaming God if all the good potential partners are taken.

With this anger trigger, you may feel that nothing is going your way and you have no control.

If you’d like help setting and achieving your goals, you can check out this course.

How To Set Better Goals Using Science

Do you set the same goals over and over again? If you’re not achieving your goals – it’s not your fault!

Let me show you the science-based goal-setting framework that will help you achieve your biggest goals.

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Anger when your expectations don’t get met

When you expect something to happen17, and it doesn’t, the response might be anger. Maybe you expected the train to come on time, and it didn’t. Or you expected your coworker to finish their assignment on time, but they didn’t. Or you always expected to feel healthy, and then you got sick.

Having expectations is a natural part of life. And having unmet expectations is an inevitability that can bring about anger.

Anger and impatience

Another source of frustration has to do with time. For folks who struggle with patience, frustration peaks its head any time things aren’t going fast enough. 

This orientation towards speed and efficiency can undoubtedly have its place in the desire to be productive, but when we can’t turn it off, time always feels scarce, life becomes a rush, and irritation saturates each moment.

Techniques for Anger Management (While In The Moment)

Now that you know what not to do, let’s go over how to relate to your anger when it comes up.

Make an anger management plan

If you lose your cool more than you’d like, writing out a plan for what to do when you get angry could be hugely beneficial. You can carry it around with you. And when the time comes that you find yourself losing your temper, follow the plan. 

This might feel embarrassing or contrived, but the reality is it will lead to far better decisions and a healthier relationship with your anger.

It could be just a few steps, like this example:

Feel free to include any tips from following list in your anger management plan.

Name your anger

If you feel infuriated, the first thing is to acknowledge it within yourself as soon as possible. Once you’ve acknowledged that you are angry, you have a choice about what to do with it.

If you are with someone with whom you can communicate transparently, like a partner or friend, you could even try sharing with them, “I notice I am feeling angry right now.”

It’s also helpful to notice how angry you are. You can use this anger meter and score yourself from 1-10.

An image of an anger meter that can help you with anger management, and avoiding getting too angry.

If you go on to process your anger with the other person, strive to use “I” statements to take responsibility for your feelings and avoid blaming them.

Asses if your anger is helpful or unhelpful

No matter the cause of your anger, the emotion is valid and points to something important inside of you.

But clarifying whether your anger is helpful at the moment is useful.

Helpful anger means that the anger arose because either:

  • Someone is encroaching on your boundary
  • You, or someone nearby, is being treated unjustly

If either of those is the case, then your anger is arising to protect yourself or someone else, and you can act accordingly. As Dr. Mate says: “healthy anger is in the moment. It protects your boundaries, and then it’s gone.”

One easy question to ask yourself is: does my anger want to protect or destroy? Protective anger is usually helpful, and destructive anger is not.

Note that your anger might seem justified when it’s not. For example, if you are rushing to drive home and the car in front of you slows down and causes you to get stuck at a red light. It might seem like that car treated you unfairly when in actuality, something neutral occurred that you interpreted as injustice.

If your anger isn’t arising to protect a boundary or injustice at the moment, it’s time to explore your feelings.

If your anger does feel justified, see if you can identify what needs protection or what wrong needs to be righted. Do you need to state a boundary? Do you see some teasing that seems like it’s crossed the line into bullying? If it’s scary to speak up, you can source your anger for power to overcome the fear. 

It’s usually best to use your anger as the signal and then take action from a grounded place. And remember to focus on protection and not destruction—it only takes a split second for anger to spill in that direction.

Experience the anger

If you can, the best thing to do is to take just a minute or two to experience your anger. 

Dr. Mate suggests using the RAIN acronym, created by Tara Brach:

  • Recognize what is happening
  • Ah, I am experiencing anger right now
  • Allow the experience to be there, just as it is
  • I won’t push my anger down; I will let it be
  • Investigate with interest and care

What does the anger feel like in my body? Is this anger covering up another feeling, like hurt or fear? 

  • Nurture with self-compassion

Whatever memories or feelings come up, I’ll try to hold them gently

Just notice what you notice and let your anger naturally evolve.

If you’re struggling to slow down this much, try one of the next techniques.

Ask yourself if you have an unmet need

Your anger may be arising in response to an unmet need18

You can ask yourself, “Is there something I need right now to feel safe, calm, or balanced?”

You may need to feel understood, experience time-spaciousness, or feel independent. When you zero in on the need, you can resolve the situation by meeting that need.

Actively empathize

Maybe the previous techniques aren’t helping you gain insight into your anger, and you’d just like to dispel it as soon as possible. Then it’s time to go to empathy.

When you are angry, your mind will fall into specific ways of thinking19 Your thoughts will likely orient towards blaming another person, turning the situation into a catastrophe, insulting the other person, entitlement, or assuming malintent. 

One way to stop this chain reaction of thoughts is to introduce a new type of thought. Psychology professor Dr. Ryan Martin recommends adaptive thoughts19, which are thoughts that see the situation realistically and diffuse your anger. 

To adopt adaptive thinking, simply create a thought that assumes positive or neutral intent from the other person/party involved.

If you got stuck behind a slow driver and missed the green light, you could think, “They likely aren’t in a rush and don’t realize that I’m in a rush.”

If you come home to a kitchen full of dishes from your roommate, you could think, “They probably forgot to clean the dishes because they were having so much fun and didn’t mean any harm.”

By actively entering into an empathy-driven thought pattern, you can diffuse your anger right then and there.

Use humor to reframe

Humor can be a powerful tool to change how you feel about the situation and tap into the wisdom20 that comes from a depersonalized perspective.

If you notice yourself starting to bubble with anger, see if you can see the situation in a humorous light. What would the premise be if someone were to make a comedy sketch about what was happening?

If you can laugh at your situation, you might be able to find some perspective and pop yourself out of the rage escalation.

Pro Tip: Record a TikTok video (but don’t post it!) of you caricaturing yourself for your angry reaction.

Check out comedian Bill Burr make fun of his anger here.

[1:17-2:05] Note: This clip might be too vulgar

Reality check yourself

Anger can skew your perception of what’s happening and how important the event is. Try this simple question to see if you can snap out of your rage, re-engage your rational thinking, and find a greater perspective.

“How important is this event in the grand scheme of things?”

If none of these options are helping you to cool down, and your fury is still broiling, you still have a great last option.

Call a timeout

If you are with other people and are afraid you may do or say something destructive that you’ll later regret, the most responsible thing might be to pause and step away. 

Once you get space from the situation, you can collect yourself with some of the following tools or simply return to the conversation another time when you have your composure.

Relaxation techniques

Certain relaxation techniques21 can slow your heart rate, deepen your breath, calm your body, and reduce stress.

Once you’ve taken a pause, try any of these techniques.

Box breathing

This is a technique that Navy seals use to calm their nerves. You simply do the following:

  • Breathe in for four counts
  • Hold your breath for four counts
  • Breath out for four counts
  • Hold your breath for four counts

Repeat that four times, and you should feel much calmer.

You can watch ex-Navy Seal Chadd Wright talk about the technique here.

Double inhale, long exhale

This is a breathing technique that calms your heart rate, and it’s something that both humans and dogs do while asleep. 

You take a double inhale and then release a long, extended exhale.

Try ten of these breaths when angry, and you’ll likely calm down.

You can watch Andrew Huberman describe this breathing technique here.

Visualize a calming scene

Close your eyes, and picture the most soothing scene you can imagine. It could be a memory or something you make up. Maybe you’re sitting on a beach, in a hammock in the forest, or in a mountain hot spring with a pack of macaws.

To enhance the vividness of this visualization21 and increase relaxation, activate each of your five senses.

What do you see? Pink monkey faces, hot steam, swirling ripples of water

What do you hear? Water gently flowing into the pool from a mountain stream

What do you feel? Cool air on your face, slippery rocks under your feet

What do you smell? Spring flowers, monkey fur

What do you taste? Salt in the air

Do this exercise as long as you’d like, and let the calm in.

Progressive muscle relaxation

One last technique you can use is called progressive muscle relaxation21

Sit or lie down and close your eyes. Place your attention on your feet. Tense and clench your feet as hard as possible for five seconds, then relax your feet completely for 10 seconds, letting go of all tension.

Repeat this clench and release on your calves, thighs, glutes, stomach/chest, shoulders/arms, fists, then face.

Immerse yourself in another activity

Once you’ve paused, immersing yourself in something else entirely can be helpful. It might take your mind off the angering situation and let you settle down to neutral again.

Try doing something completely different, whether a game, a creative activity, or a chore.

One excellent option is exercise, which burns off extra energy and releases endorphins22 to calm your mood. 

Get sad

Feeling sadness23 activates parts of the brain that will reduce your anger.

If you want to curb your anger, you could try summoning sadness through sad memories, listening to sad music, or just inviting in the sensations of sadness.

User your anger productively

Michael Jordan, who most people agree was the best basketball player ever24, notoriously used his anger to play better. Jordan would seek out and even invent reasons his opponents disrespected him to stoke anger, adding fuel to his fire.

Watch him talk about one such instance here:


While it may seem extreme to elicit anger to accomplish things, you could use it to your advantage if your anger is already present.

Anger gives you a shot of adrenaline25, which increases your energy and focus26 Anger also has you perceive less risk6

When people are angry, they also feel more self-confident and optimistic6 about their capabilities. Feeling angry is also linked to feeling more motivated27 to take action.

In some ways, having increased energy, focus, self-confidence, motivation, and risk tolerance is quite a superpower!

So if you are feeling angry, you could consider channeling it one of the following ways:

  • Accomplish a household task you’ve been putting off (like cleaning the toilet)
  • Get rid of a piece of clothing
  • Go through your refrigerator and throw out anything you don’t want
  • Write a list of all the changes you want to make in your life
  • Write a list of all the boundaries you’ve been too afraid to set
  • Write a list of all the things you’ve been afraid to tell people in your life
  • Sign up to volunteer for a social cause that fires you up
  • Engage in physical competition

How to Become a Calmer Person Generally

The techniques above will help you out when your anger arises. But you can also take strides to become a calmer person day to day and get a deeper grasp on your anger.

Try out any of the following.


People who regularly exercise28 show better management of their anger.

Plain and simple. If you struggle with anger management, try to engage in regular physical activity to find greater calm.

Action Tip: If you struggle to exercise, start with a 5-minute walk each day this week.

Sleep well

We know that a lack of sleep29,fatigue%2C%20and%20lack%20of%20vigor. increases angry outbursts—even one night of poor sleep.

If you lose your temper often, the first place to start may be ensuring you get enough sleep each night.

Action Tip: Try a sleep-tracking app, like Rise, which will calculate your sleep debt to ensure you regularly hit the amount of sleep you need.

Don’t go hungry

Feeling hungry30,-Date%3A%20July%206&text=Summary%3A,irritability%20strongly%20linked%20with%20hunger. will make you angrier. 

Action Tip: Throughout the day, assess your hunger level31 on a scale of 1-10 (where 1 is starving and 10 is stuffed). See if you can keep your hunger level above a 3 for the whole day.

Practice forgiveness

When anger has hooked us, we feel we need to be right and make others wrong. Or when we hold a grudge against someone and can’t let it go. 

Nelson Mandela32 once said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” Your grudges are hurting you, and forgiveness is the remedy.

If you practice letting go, you’ll be able to let frustrations slide off you like raindrops off a slicker.

Here’s a meditation to practice forgiveness.

Sit or lay down with your eyes closed. Take a few deep breaths and settle into yourself. Bring to mind a person who you feel a grudge towards and are having trouble forgiving.

Set the intention to offer forgiveness even if you don’t get all the way there. It might help to consider that you can forgive them for your well-being because if you can forgive them, it will make you feel more peaceful and content.

Then imagine them as a child, having experienced years of trauma that shaped their personality and idiosyncrasies into what they are. And when that person upsets you, imagine that it was them as a child acting from their insecurities, fear, or ignorance. See if that softens your heart, and then take a few more deep breaths.

Then recite the phrase a few times “I offer you forgiveness.” You don’t have to feel it 100%. Just stating the phrase internally will start to get the wheels turning.

Practice patience

The more patient you are, the more discomfort you can hold before becoming upset.

Here’s one way to practice patience.

Put on a timer for 5 minutes (or even 1!). Sit or lay down with your eyes closed. Take a few deep breaths and settle into yourself. 

Slow down your breath as much as possible. See how much detail you can notice in each breath.

As you breathe, see how patient you can be with each breath. How much can you let go of anything needing to happen in any way at any pace?

Get to know your anger

If you want to develop a healthy relationship with your anger, it’s helpful to know it more intimately.

The best place to start in knowing your anger is your body.

Anger in the body

When anger appears in your body33,shaking%20or%20trembling, you might begin to notice these effects:

  • Clenching your fists
  • Faster heart rate
  • Dry mouth
  • Tunnel vision
  • Clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth
  • Getting sweaty (especially your palms)
  • Feeling hot in your neck and face

It can be tricky to know what emotions you are feeling at any given time, but if you notice any of these body changes, there’s a good chance that anger is coming.

Angry thoughts

Anger can be like fire—it orients your awareness toward thoughts that generate more rage.

The angry mind tends towards specific shapes of thoughts. Below are five types of angry thinking19 that will make you angrier, created by Dr. Ryan Martin using tools from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

To make these thinking patterns more concrete, imagine they refer to a situation where you get home, and your roommate didn’t clean the kitchen after having some friends over.

The five thinking patterns are:

  1. Misattributing causation“They knew how upset this would make me and didn’t care.” 
    • This assumes you know someone’s intention and that they want something bad for you.
  2. Catastrophizing“I don’t know if I can live with them any longer.”
    • This turns the situation at hand into something more extreme than it actually is.
  3. Overgeneralization“Gosh, they do this all the time! No roommates can be trusted to clean!”
    • This converts this specific instance into a universal truth.
  4. Unreasonable demands“They should keep this place clean all the time!”
    • This includes pretty much any thought that starts with “they should have….”
  5. Inflammatory labeling“That stupid lazy deadbeat!” 
    • This casts an insult at someone and makes them one-dimensional and deserving of your anger.

Dr. Martin ran a study observing students’ thought patterns and anger levels over an extended period. He found “students who reported being more likely to think in these thought patterns tended to be angrier overall, have higher daily anger scores, and express their anger in unhealthy ways.” 

It’s also worth noting that “inflammatory labeling, or using dehumanizing or insulting terms like, ‘what a jerk!’…was linked to having a greater number of damaged friendships.”

If you’d like to take Dr. Martin’s short test to see the angry thought patterns you lean toward, you can check it out here.

In exploring your anger management, it can be helpful to develop nuance in your understanding of your feelings. Here are a few more specific feelings that fall within the greater anger umbrella:

  • Frustration
  • Irritation
  • Annoyance
  • Protectiveness
  • Defensiveness
  • Rage
  • Aggression
  • Violence
  • Hatred
  • Bitterness
  • Resentment
  • Schadenfreude (pleasure at another’s misfortune)
  • Vengeance

Now let’s put it all together. 

Action Step: Set a timer for 1 minute and allow yourself to experience anger. You don’t have to go to a 10/10 but invite in some of your rages. Make this a mindfulness practice for you to understand your anger better. 

After the timer goes off, briefly take notes on the following reflections:

  • What did the anger feel like in your body? 
  • What thoughts and impulses arose? 
  • What flavor/s of anger were you experiencing from the above list?

The purpose of this practice is not to generate more anger but rather to increase your awareness of the subtleties of your anger so that you can catch it as soon as it pokes its head out of the cave and not after you’ve sent the angry email.

Get to know your anger cues

Knowing the specific situations that tend to draw your anger out and how you usually react is helpful.

Take a few minutes and write down all the times you got angry in the past few days, as best as you can remember.

Reflect on these questions:

  • What was the situation that caused my anger?
  • Why did it make me so angry?
  • What other emotions did I feel?
  • What behaviors did I exhibit (IE, how would an outside onlooker have described how I reacted)
  • Did my anger cause any negative consequences?
  • What strategies did I use to manage my anger, and how did they help me or not?

If you do this activity, you’ll get to know your anger habits much more intimately. And the more awareness you build around your anger, the more agency you’ll have to make changes.

Pro Tip: If you want to take this activity to the next level, you could journal once a night for a week about every time you felt anger that day and answer the above prompts.

Habits That Give Rise to Anger

It’s helpful to know which specific situations might incite your anger. But it’s also worth noting that certain life habits may make anger arise much more quickly.

Stress and anger management

When stressed34, you are more likely to have an angry outburst.

Here are a few common stressors35 to watch out for:

  • Working too many hours
  • Taking on too much work responsibility
  • Breaking up with a partner
  • Losing a job
  • Financial uncertainty
  • Moving homes
  • Chronic illness

If you’re undergoing any of the above stressors or feel consistently stressed, be aware that your anger may be looser than usual.

Tiredness and anger management

If you don’t get enough sleep, even for just one night, you will be more prone to angry outbursts29,fatigue%2C%20and%20lack%20of%20vigor.. A lack of sleep can also contribute to anxiety, depression, distraction, and a lack of vigor.

Hunger and anger management

Hangry is a real thing.

European researchers tracked participants over three weeks and had them mark their hunger levels and emotions five times each day. The study showed that feeling hungry30,-Date%3A%20July%206&text=Summary%3A,irritability%20strongly%20linked%20with%20hunger. is associated with frustration, anger, and unpleasantness.

Interestingly, researchers also found that people who scored hungrier on average also scored more angry, frustrated, and unpleasant across time—not just in the moment of hunger.

Ineffective Anger Management Techniques


Many people suppressed their rage as children because expressing it might have felt dangerous or risked their punishment from their caretaker. But when they grow up, that anger doesn’t go away. It sits beneath the surface like lava, and when something triggers their anger, it bursts out of them like a volcano. 

Suppressing it as a child was a defense mechanism, but doing so as an adult won’t work. The anger will seep out. It might come out passive-aggressively or burst forth in moments of uncontrolled rage.

When you suppress your expression of anger, it can also turn inward36,physical%20pains%2C%20and%20relationship%20problems.. Something in you is furious with a whip in its hand. And when you try to suppress your anger, that whip will point at yourself, resulting in self-punishment, depression, guilt, and shame.

Venting it out

There is a widespread belief that if you “get your anger out,” it won’t return. The marketplace has responded accordingly with a phenomenon called “Rage Rooms,” where you pay money to break a bunch of stuff (which admittedly sounds pretty fun).

However, scientific literature suggests that the more someone releases their rage, the angrier they become37 And this occurs independently of their views on the value of anger catharsis38

That’s not to say that you should never scream at the top of your lungs in a forest, beat the stuffing out of a pillow, or break a bunch of bottles in a Rage Room. It could be a valuable way to learn about yourself, and you might find pockets of your anger that you had repressed. In fact, these activities can be quite helpful for people who can’t access their anger at all.

But if you tend to experience anger more frequently than you’d like, it’s best to engage in anger catharsis with caution, knowing that it might fuel more aggression.

Frequently Asked Questions About Anger Management

Why do I get angry so easily?

You likely get angry so easily because of a combination of your genetics and how your family related to anger. Some people have to repress their anger as kids, and then it comes bursting forth as adults, whereas some children learn at a young age that anger helps them get what they want.
You might also get angry easily if you aren’t sleeping enough, don’t exercise, let yourself get hungry too often, are experiencing high stress, or are taking certain drugs.

Why do I get so angry over little things?

If you get angry over little things, there might be a deeper root for you. Little things might trigger you to feel disrespected, thwarted, or threatened. 

How do I stop getting mad so easily?

To stop getting mad easily and increase your calm, try to exercise, regularly meditate, practice forgiveness, and sleep well. It’s also helpful to understand your anger patterns so you can make different decisions in the moments when you are starting to become enraged.

What is unhealthy anger?

Unhealthy anger is when anger causes you to make decisions you regret later. If this is the case, it might be worth making an anger management plan where you premeditate how to act when anger arises.

What is the first step in dealing with anger?

The first step in dealing with anger is to notice and name it. Being aware that you are angry gives you agency in how to respond to it. After that, it can be helpful to allow your anger to be there without acting on it and then get curious about it.

What are the cues of anger?

Some physical cues of anger are: clenching your fists, a faster heart rate, a dry mouth, tunnel vision, clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth, getting sweaty (especially your palms), and feeling hot in your neck and face.

Create Your Own Anger Management Plan

If you often struggle with losing your temper, there is hope in finding a healthier relationship with your anger. You might benefit from creating your anger management plan so that when an event does trigger your anger, you’ll have a process to walk through. Here are some great options on how to relate to anger when it comes up:

  • Name that you’re angry as soon as you notice it
  • Ask yourself if your anger is actually helpful in this situation or not
  • Take a moment to experience the anger. Allow it to be, get curious about it, and hold it gently
  • Ask yourself if there’s an unmet need at the root of your anger
  • Attempt to empathize with whoever caused your anger
  • Bring in humor! Can you see anything funny about your situation from a bird’s eye view?
  • Ask yourself: “How important is this situation in the grand scheme of things?” to get perspective.
  • Be willing to hit pause and walk away from the situation to gather your cool. Once you’ve walked away, you can try the following:
    • Use relaxation techniques like box breathing, long exhales, visualizing a peaceful scene, or progressive muscle relaxation
    • Immerse yourself in a totally different activity
    • Evoke sadness to soften your anger
    • Use your anger productively to get something done

If you’d like to continue your journey of understanding anger and aggression, you can check out this article on decoding aggressive body language.

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