Explains anger, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support. Also includes advice for friends and family.
We all feel angry at times – it's part of being human. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, which we might experience if we feel:
It isn't necessarily a 'bad' emotion; in fact it can sometimes be useful. For example, feeling angry about something can:
Most people will experience episodes of anger which feel manageable and don't have a big impact on their lives. Learning healthy ways to recognise, express and deal with anger is important for our mental and physical health. (Our pages on managing outbursts and long-term coping have some tips on how to deal with anger.)
Anger only becomes a problem when it gets out of control and harms you or people around you. This can happen when:
"It feels like there's a ball of fire in the middle of my chest that blurts its way straight out of my mouth and burns the people around me."
How you behave when you're angry depends on how well you're able to identify and cope with your feelings, and how you've learned to express them (see our page on causes of anger for more information).
Not everyone expresses anger in the same way. For example, some unhelpful ways you may have learned to express anger include:
"My brain goes blank and I absent-mindedly release my anger through physical violence towards myself or objects around me. I don't realise how destructive I've been until immediately afterwards."
If you find you express your anger through outward aggression and violence, this can be extremely frightening and damaging for people around you - especially children. And it can have serious consequences: it could mean you lose your family, job and get into trouble with the law. In this case it's very important to seek treatment and support.
But even if you're never outwardly violent or aggressive towards others, and never even raise your voice, you might still recognise some of these angry behaviours and feel that they're a problem for you. For example, you turn your anger inwards and self-harm or deny yourself food.
"I internalise anger and punish myself by self-harm."
This information was published in July 2018. We will revise it in 2021.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.