for better mental health

How to cope with anger

Explains anger, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support. Also includes advice for friends and family.

What does anger feel like?

Anger feels different for everyone. You might experience some of the things listed below, and you might also have other experiences or difficulties that aren't listed here.

Effects on your body

  • a churning feeling in your stomach
  • tightness in your chest
  • an increased and rapid heartbeat
  • legs go weak
  • tense muscles
  • you feel hot
  • you have an urge to go to the toilet
  • sweating, especially your palms
  • a pounding head
  • shaking or trembling
  • dizziness

Effects on your mind

  • feeling tense, nervous or unable to relax
  • feeling guilty
  • feeling resentful towards other people or situations
  • you are easily irritated
  • 'red mist' comes down on you
  • feeling humiliated

Recognising these signs gives you the chance to think about how you want to react to a situation before doing anything. This can be difficult in the heat of the moment, but the earlier you notice how you're feeling, the easier it can be to choose how to express and manage your anger.

"The best advice I was given was to stop briefly once I am angry to ask myself what painful emotion I am feeling in the situation where I became angry. A bit of compassion for my own pain often stops me from taking that pain out on others."

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.

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