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Explains anger, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support. Also includes advice for friends and family.
If you think about how to manage your anger when you're feeling calmer, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed by it in the heat of the moment. In particular, you can:
Understanding what sort of situations trigger your anger means you can develop strategies to cope and think about how to react before the situation happens. You might find it helpful to keep a diary or make notes about the times you have felt angry. You could record:
If you do this for a while, you might start to see patterns emerging. You could do this yourself using a mood diary (many are available online for free, see our useful contacts page for suggestions), or you could find a professional therapist to help you – see our page on treatment and support.
"Over time I have been able to spot certain triggers, which then enables me to look at myself and choose a healthier path."
If you're feeling upset or angry, you might find yourself automatically thinking or saying things like:
But often there are lots of different ways we could interpret a situation. It can make you feel worse if you think in terms of 'always', 'never' and 'should', because in reality things are rarely so black and white. Making an effort to replace these words with softer terms like 'sometimes' or 'could' when thinking about your situation might help you to break up negative thought patterns, reflect more calmly on your situation and find new ways through conflicts.
"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."
Being excessively angry and aggressive can get in the way of communicating your feelings and thoughts effectively. People may focus on your anger, and find it hard to listen to what you're saying. On the other hand, if you are able to express your anger by talking in an assertive, respectful way about what has made you angry, then you're more likely to be understood by others.
Being assertive means standing up for yourself while still respecting other people and their opinions. It can:
Learning to be assertive might not feel easy to start with, but here are some things to try:
The organisation MindTools provides tips on respectful assertiveness on their website.
"What helps me is acknowledging how I'm feeling and why, then taking time to address it productively."
Looking after your wellbeing more generally could help you feel calmer and more in control when things happen that make you feel angry. You might want to:
"Exercise is the best thing to manage my anger. It transforms my mood!"
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.