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Coping with Anger

Updated: Jun 7

Everyone feels angry sometimes - and that's completely normal. Anger is a basic emotion that tells us when something may be wrong. It can be healthy or harmful depending on what triggers it and how we express it.


 

Characteristics of Anger

Anger can involve a wide range of feelings, from mild annoyance to intense rage. When we feel angry, our bodies also go through certain changes, including:

  • Increased energy levels

  • Raised blood pressure

  • A spike in stress hormones

  • Increased body temperature

  • Increased muscle tension


The outward expression of anger may look different from person to person. Some people may raise their voice, while others may clench their fists. Finding healthy ways to express anger is important.


Causes

Both external and internal influences can cause us to feel angry. Anger stems from a perceived threat to our emotional or physical well-being; it may be caused by a person or event. Anger is often also a reaction to - and a distraction from - other negative emotions, such as loneliness, fear, or loss. Sometimes we feel angry for no reason.


Problem Anger

Anger may be a problem for you if it is:

  • Stronger or of greater intensity than you would expect, given the situation at hand

  • Very frequent, to the point that you can't enjoy things anymore

  • Caused by something that happened a long time ago

  • Making you act violently towards yourself or someone else

  • Interfering with your ability to do your job

  • Hurting your relationships with friends and family members

  • Affecting your physical health


Coping with Anger

Anger is a normal reaction to some situations, but finding healthy ways to cope with it is very important.


The following strategies may help you regain control over your emotions and cope with anger as it comes up in different situations.

Short-term strategies:

  1. Practice deep breathing: Taking slow, controlled breaths can help calm your mind, slow your heart, and lower your blood pressure.

  2. Acknowledge how you feel: Anger doesn't just go away on its own. Recognizing how you feel can help you take steps to deal with your emotions, rather than letting them control you.

  3. Identify the source: The first step in coping with anger is to identify what caused it. If an altercation made you feel angry, try to deal with the individual involved directly in a peaceful and productive way.


Long-term strategies:

  1. Learn what triggers you: Identifying the root cause of your anger will help inform how you deal with it. Some people are triggered by a particular person, while others are triggered by certain emotions, such as feeling controlled, ashamed or guilty.

  2. Identify your early warning signs: Understanding your early signs of developing anger can help you take action before your emotion turns to full-blown rage. Common early warning signs include a pounding heart, tightness in your chest or jaw, feeling resentful or irritated, and feeling like lashing out.

  3. Get active: Regular exercise is great for both your physical and mental health. Movement can also be a useful and productive outlet for anger. Try going for a walk or run or lifting weights when you feel angry.

  4. Talk to someone you trust: Sharing how you feel with someone you trust can help bring a new perspective to what you're going through. Another person can help you to identify the underlying problem, brainstorm solutions, and implement those strategies.


 

Anger and irritability can sometimes be signs of underlying anxiety or depression.

If anger causes persistent problems in your life or if you experience anger with other symptoms, consider talking to your healthcare provider or a mental health professional.


Contact us for an appointment: 705-269-6662

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