Do you find yourself wondering, “Why am I so angry?” It might be a sign that you need to find some healthy ways to manage this difficult emotion.
Anger is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. There are many situations that can trigger feelings of anger, which may range in intensity from mild annoyance to profound rage.
It is when anger becomes extreme, uncontrollable, or chronic that it can pose a serious problem. It can lead to stress that harms your health or even affect your relationships with other people. Because of this, it is important to understand what you can do when you are feeling angry to get your feelings under control.
While anger is often connected to negative health consequences, research suggests that the use of constructive ways of managing anger is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
5 Ways to Cope With Anger
If you are experiencing anger, there are things that you can do to manage your emotions. Below is a list of some things that may help.
Take Some Deep Breaths
When anger strikes, it’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment. Your body often enters a state known as the fight-or-flight response, which helps prime your body to take action. Your heart rate increases and you begin to breathe much more rapidly.
In order to take control and reduce feelings of anger, it can be helpful to focus on your breathing. Focus on taking slow, deep, controlled breaths. Rather than taking shallow breaths that only fill your chest, try taking in deeper breaths that expand your belly as well.
The great thing about deep breathing is that it is something that you can use quickly in the moment whenever anger threatens to overwhelm you. It can give you time to calm yourself, take some moments to think, and respond in a way that isn't going to have long-term negative effects.
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Recognize Your Response to Anger
Feelings of anger are usually accompanied by both physical and mental symptoms. You might feel your heart rate and breathing increase. You may feel feelings of frustration, stress, irritation, and rage. Your anger may also trigger anxiety and feel overwhelming at times, and afterwards you might be left with feelings of guilt.
It is important to remember that anger isn't always expressed in the same way. Outward expressions of anger such as yelling or breaking things may be more apparent, but anger can also be expressed in more inward or passive ways.
When you direct your anger inward, you might do things to punish or isolate yourself. You might berate yourself with negative self-talk or even engage in actions that result in self-harm.
Passive anger often involves withholding attention or affection in order to punish others. The silent treatment and sulking are two examples of more passive expressions of anger.
Change Your Thinking
One way to reduce your anger is to change the way that you think about events, people, or situations. When you find yourself focusing on things in a negative or irrational way, it's easy to get caught up in emotions that feel dramatic and even overwhelming.
Cognitive reframing is a technique that is often used in some types of therapy to help change the way that people think about the things that happen to them. By changing these thoughts, you may be less likely to experience negative emotions such as anger.
Use Relaxation Strategies
In addition to deep breathing, learning relaxation strategies such as mindfulness, meditation, visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation can help you keep your cool when you find yourself getting angry.
For example, mindfulness is an approach that encourages people to focus on the here and now, including how they are feeling in the present moment. Learning how to be mindful of how you are feeling can foster a greater sense of self-awareness and often allows you to look at anger-provoking situations in a more detached way.
Mindfulness-based treatment programs have been found to be an effective approach for reducing feelings of anger and aggression.
Understand Why You’re Feeling Angry
In addition to finding new ways to think and respond, it is also important to understand what might be triggering your anger in the first place. Anger can be caused by a number of different things.
Factors such as your personality, your coping style, your relationships, and your stress levels can all play a part in determining how much anger you experience in response to different situations and triggers.
Some things that can trigger anger include:
- Conflicts in relationships
- Family problems
- Financial problems
- Memories of negative events
- Problems at work
- Situations such as traffic, accidents, canceled plans, or being late
In some cases, however, anger may be a symptom of an underlying mental health condition. Some of the conditions that may cause anger include:
- Alcohol use disorder: Consuming alcohol can contribute to feelings of anger, particularly if you drink too much at once or if you consume alcohol regularly. Alcohol can make it difficult to control your emotions, decrease inhibition, and affect your ability to think clearly, all of which may contribute to feelings of anger.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that begins in childhood and is marked by symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. A short temper and outbursts of anger are also quite common.
- Bipolar disorder: Bipolar disorder is marked by dramatic changes in mood. People often experience periods of depression that can be marked by hopelessness, sadness, and irritability. They may also experience mania characterized by agitation, euphoria, and impulsivity. Both mood states can produce feelings of anger.
- Depression: Depression causes symptoms of low mood, irritability, and hopelessness. Such symptoms may also play a part in periods of anger.
- Intermittent explosive disorder (IED): People with this condition experience episodes of angry, aggressive behavior. They often have intense bursts of anger that are out of proportion to the situations and are accompanied by arguments, tantrums, and even violence.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): OCD is characterized by the presence of unwanted obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Research also suggests that many people with the condition also experience feelings of frustration and anger.
- Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD): Children with this condition are often irritable, short-tempered, and angry. They frequently display defiance, argue with parents and others, and may have outbursts of anger and aggression.
How to Get Help
While everyone feels angry sometimes, it is important to remember that it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying mental health condition. If your anger is chronic, troubling, or causing problems in your ability to function normally, talk to your doctor.
Your doctor may evaluate you to see what other symptoms you might be experiencing. This might involve answering questions or filling out a questionnaire to screen for certain mental disorders.
Your doctor may also conduct a physical or perform lab tests to rule out any medical conditions that might be playing a role in your symptoms.
Your doctor may then recommend treatments such as psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of the two.
A Word From Verywell
Anger can often be a normal response to a difficult situation. When managed effectively, anger can even serve as a positive force, motivating you to make changes that will resolve the problem. But it is important to recognize when anger is excessive, chronic, or harmful.
Finding things to do when you are angry can help you reduce the harm that these emotions can sometimes cause—and inspire you to seek help if you think your anger might be a sign of something more serious.
Anger Management Techniques to Calm You Down Fast
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
Davidson KW, Mostofsky E. Anger expression and risk of coronary heart disease: evidence from the Nova Scotia Health Survey. Am Heart J. 2010;159(2):199-206. doi:10.1016/j.ahj.2009.11.007(Video) When I Feel Angry by Cornelia Maude Spelman | Children’s Mental Health | Books Read Aloud | Anger
Zaccaro A, Piarulli A, Laurino M, et al. How breath-control can change your life: a systematic review on psycho-physiological correlates of slow breathing. Front Hum Neurosci. 2018;12:353. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2018.00353
Sharma MK, Sharma MP, Marimuthu P. Mindfulness-based program for management of aggression among youth: a follow-up study. Indian J Psychol Med. 2016;38(3):213-216. doi:10.4103/0253-7176.183087
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By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
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"I feel angry." "She is angry." "He is angry." It's the basic level of a negative and slightly aggressive feeling. "My dog looks angry." "My boss was angry." We use it to talk about that feeling. So, in a sentence, "My mother was really angry with me." "Furious."What are the three common responses to feeling angry? ›
People use a variety of both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their angry feelings. The three main approaches are expressing, suppressing, and calming. Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive—not aggressive—manner is the healthiest way to express anger.Why do I feel so angry? ›
Why do I get angry? Feelings of anger arise due to how we interpret and react to certain situations. Everyone has their own triggers for what makes them angry, but some common ones include situations in which we feel: threatened or attacked.How do I be kind when angry? ›
Make yourself laugh.
A good laugh can help you break out of your angry mindset and make you more pleasant for others to be around. Trying to find humor in a situation, or getting yourself laughing about something else, can diffuse the situation by actually changing your body's chemical reaction from anger to humor.
- Say anything, but add periods. ...
- “Wow, thanks for letting me know what your priorities are.” ...
- “k.” ...
- “No problem.” ...
- “I'd rather not.” ...
- Leave off the “I love you.” ...
- [Insert passive aggressive emoji here] ...
- “The dishes are almost as messy as your love life.
- Admit that you are angry, to yourself and/or to someone else.
- Believe you can control your anger. Tell yourself that you can!
- Calm down. Control your emotions. ...
- Decide how to solve the problem. This step only works once you are calm. ...
- Express yourself assertively. Ask for what you need.
"Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil." "But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness." "Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly."Why do I get angry over small things? ›
Embarrassment, fear, anxiety, confusion, and shame can all be common triggers for anger; identifying that corresponding emotion can help you trace the source of your outbursts. Seek Professional Help. Sometimes, getting to the core of anger is not easy, and it requires professional intervention.Why am I angry for no reason? ›
You Feel Angry Due to an Underlying Mental Health Issue
Anger, frustration and overwhelm are often signs of either undiagnosed or undertreated mental health issues. Angry outbursts are one of the key signs of depression that often get missed since people think of depressed folks as being quiet and not saying anything.
It could be something as simple as being hungry or tired. Or, maybe something recently happened in your life that has you feeling scared, angry, or stressed out. Mental health struggles can also make you irritable, so if you haven't taken one of our mental health test yet, try that.
Speak softly rather than loudly. Relax instead of tighten. Disengage rather than attack. Empathize rather than judge,” says authors Matthew Mckay and Peter Rogers of The Anger Control Workbook.How can I talk without anger? ›
- Talk often. Don't let things fester; deal with stuff right away. ...
- Ask questions. ...
- Kindly and respectfully share your viewpoint. ...
- Be okay with not agreeing. ...
- Speak to the other person the same way you'd like to be spoken to.
- furious. adjective. extremely angry.
- irate. adjective. very angry.
- seething. adjective. feeling extremely angry without showing it much.
- infuriated. adjective. extremely angry.
- incensed. adjective. extremely angry.
- livid. adjective. ...
- apoplectic. adjective. ...
- murderous. adjective.
ill-tempered. adjective. formal rude, impatient or easily made angry.What do we call a person who is always angry? ›
1. Irritable, testy, touchy, irascible are adjectives meaning easily upset, offended, or angered. Irritable means easily annoyed or bothered, and it implies cross and snappish behavior: an irritable clerk, rude and hostile; Impatient and irritable, he was constantly complaining.How do you say I'm angry? ›
English Lesson - 6 Ways to Say, "I'm angry!" - YouTubeHow do you say good night when angry? ›
You are my life, I love you very much, good night. I love you. I know we had a fight tonight and were probably both angry with each other, but that doesn't change how I feel about you. I'm sorry for the things I said, please forgive me.What are the three parts of emotions? ›
The Process of Emotion
While there is debate about sequence, there is general agreement that emotions, as mentioned earlier, are made up of three parts: subjective experiences, physiological responses and behavioral responses.
Irritability or anger. Restlessness. Sadness, moodiness, grief or depression. Vivid or distressing dreams.How do you recognize you are getting angry? ›
- 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.
- Listen to your mind and body. A key step in learning to recognize your triggers involves paying attention when situations generate a strong emotional response. ...
- Step back. When you notice these signs, stop to consider what just happened and the response it activated. ...
- Trace the roots. ...
- Get curious.