We all get angry. It’s a normal, natural response to feeling hurt or threatened by situations, other people, and sometimes even ourselves. Anger isn’t always bad. It can motivate us to solve problems, make changes and improve our lives. While we can’t always predict or control our emotional reactions, we can manage our response.
A reactive state can make it tough to make sound decisions. The best thing to do is to breathe, and if possible, step away from the cause of our anger. That’s how we gain perspective and start to find solutions.
Is the anger you’re feeling really about the “thing” that triggered it or is there something bigger going on with our state of mind or other issues in our lives? Understanding the root of our anger can help us figure out how to best cope with it.
We all have bad days, and there’s always the chance that the people who contributed to our anger are actually going through something themselves. Often, being supportive and understanding works better than lashing out.
Acting on anger in the moment rarely leads to a good outcome, but sometimes it’s hard to see that when we’re dealing with intense feelings. Think about a past reaction that led to negative consequences and how can you avoid that outcome now. Or remember a time when you dealt with anger constructively, leading to a positive outcome. Can that approach help you deal with current feelings?
We often have no control over what makes us angry. But regardless of the source of our anger, it’s important to develop ways of coping. Other times, we need to make positive changes in our lives and routines to lessen or prevent situations that contribute to our anger. Learn about coping skills here.
If you’re feeling angry more frequently, or reactions to that anger are impacting your quality of life, it’s important to reach out for help. Anger can be a symptom of mental health conditions like depression or anxiety disorders that are best managed with the support of a mental health professional. Learn more about these conditions here.
Thanks to research, we now know a lot about anger, what causes it, how it impacts us physically and emotionally, and how we can manage it.
Learning about anger can help us better understand its role in our own lives.
Videos to get started
The best strategies for managing anger and preventing its negative consequences can differ from person to person. Try different approaches to see what works best for you.
Lead with Compassion
This popular TEDx talk from psychologist and professor Russelll Kolts explores Anger, Compassion, and What It Means to Be Strong.
Get Tips for Managing Anger at Work
Check out these suggestions from Forbes for dealing with anger in the workplace.
Talking about anger helps. You can start the conversation with a friend or family member, reach out to a local mental health professional or access one of the resources below.