What is anger?

We all feel angry at times; it’s a natural response to threats and attacks, injustice and disappointment. Anger is a powerful emotion and releasing the pressure that builds inside you can be essential to deal with problems and move on. But if anger isn’t dealt with in a healthy way, it can have a significant effect on your daily life, relationships, achievements and mental well-being.

Anger is one of the most basic human emotions. It is a physical and mental response to a threat or to harm done in the past. At any point in time, a combination of physical, mental and social factors interact to make us feel a certain way. It’s different for each of us. Our feelings are influenced by our emotional make-up, how we view the world, what happens around us and our circumstances. Like other emotions, anger rarely acts alone.

Why do we get angry?

Reasons for getting angry include:

•facing a threat to ourselves or our loved ones

•being verbally or physically assaulted

•suffering a blow to our self-esteem or our place within a social group

•being interrupted when pursuing a goal

•losing out when money is at stake

•someone going against a principle that we consider important

•being treated unfairly and feeling powerless to change this

•feeling disappointed by someone else or in ourselves

•having our property mistreated.

If we think someone has wronged us on purpose, this can make us angrier. If we’re having a bad day and are in a state of constant tension, we’re more likely to snap when something else goes wrong, even if it’s something that wouldn’t usually bother us.

We may feel angry immediately or only feel angry later when we go back over a situation. Anger can surface years later that has its roots in abuse or neglect long ago. Sometimes anger stays locked inside us for decades because it wasn’t dealt with sufficiently at the time.

How can I manage my own anger?

So when you’re angry, you may use some or all of the following steps to calm down:

Step 1: If You Do, Acknowledge That You Have a Problem Managing Anger

It is an observed truth that you cannot change what you don’t acknowledge. So it is important to identify and accept that anger is a roadblock to your success.

Step 2: Use Your Support Network

If anger is a problem, let the important people in your life know about the changes you are trying to make. They can be a source of motivation and their support will help you when you lapse into old behaviour patterns.

Step 3: Use Anger Management Techniques to Interrupt the Anger Cycle


•Take deep breaths.

•Tell your self you can handle the situation.

•Stop the negative thoughts.

Step 4: Use Empathy

Step 5: Laugh at Yourself

Humor is often the best medicine. Learn to laugh at yourself and not take everything so seriously.

Step 6: Relax

Angry people are often the ones who let the little things bother them. If you learn to calm down you will realize that there is no need to get uptight and you will have fewer angry episodes.

Step 7: Build Trust

Angry people can be cynical people. They believe that others are going to do something on purpose to annoy or frustrate them even before it happens. If you can build trust in people you will be less likely to become angry with them when something does go wrong and more likely to attribute the problem to something other than a malicious intent.

Step 8: Listen

Miscommunication contributes to frustrating and mistrusting situations. The better you listen to what a person is saying, the better able you will be to find a resolution that does not involve an anger response.

Step 9: Be Assertive

Remember, the word is assertive NOT aggressive. When you are angry it is often difficult to express yourself properly. You are too caught up in the negative emotion and your physiological symptoms (beating heart, red face) to put together solid arguments or appropriate responses. If you learn to assert yourself and let other people know your expectations, boundaries, issues, and so on, you will have much more interpersonal success.

Step 10: Live Each Day as if it is Your Last

This saying may be overused, but it holds a fundamental truth. Life is short and it is much better spent positively than negatively. Realize that if you spend all your time getting angry, you will miss out on the many joys and surprises that life has to offer.

Step 11: Forgive

To ensure that the changes you are making go much deeper than the surface, you need to forgive the people in your life that have angered you.