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Feeling angry

A girl looking angry.Anger can be so overwhelming. You may feel like you could smash something or someone. Everyone feels angry at times. That's natural. What matters is how you handle your anger.

Because anger is so intense, it can be pretty scary and confusing. Plus, you may have learned that being angry isn't "nice." We answer some common questions about this strong emotion:

What are reasons to control anger? arrow. top

It's important to figure out how to handle anger for a lot of reasons.

If you don't find healthy ways to express your anger, your physical health can suffer. Strong anger or anger that lasts a long time can be stressful. Stress can lead to health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, backaches, and stomach trouble.

If you don't handle your anger well, you run the risk of developing emotional problems, like depression or eating disorders. You also may get in trouble in school and have a hard time building strong, healthy relationships. And you may not feel as good about yourself as you'd like.

How can I deal with anger? arrow. top

Everyone is different, so everyone will find different ways to handle anger. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

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» Think about why you want to change.

You'll have your own thoughts on this, but you can check out some common reasons to control anger above. You might even write down your reasons and look at them at times to keep you motivated.

» Identify problems and solutions.

See if you can figure out what exactly is bothering you. Then see if you can find ways to solve the problem. If a person is bothering you, maybe you can avoid that person. Or maybe the two of you can agree to negotiate and compromise.

» Notice how your body feels when you are angry.

Feelings in your body may be the first signs that you're angry. Your stomach might hurt, for example, or your breathing might change. The sooner you know that you're starting to steam, the sooner you can work to calm down. You might take nice, deep breaths or count to 10 slowly.

»Try to see the other person's side if you are angry at him or her.

Is your little sister being a pest by constantly hanging around? Maybe it's because she thinks you're great. Can you remember feeling that way about someone? Seeing things through her eyes can help you be more patient.

» Express yourself calmly.

If you have a healthy relationship with someone, you should be able to tell them how you feel. Just wait until you cool off enough to have a respectful conversation.

» Take responsibility for your actions.

If you feel like other people do things that "make" you angry, keep in mind that only you are in charge of you. Plan ahead when you know you will be seeing someone who bothers you. Try to think of some ideas that will help keep you calm.

What if I have a lot of anger inside? arrow. top

It's great to have a plan for how to handle anger when it comes up. You can also work on ways to keep anger under control on a regular basis. Here are some suggestions:

  • Talk to someone you trust. It can be a relief just to share how you're feeling. You can talk with a friend, a relative, a teacher, or anyone you trust. You also can work with a therapist to understand your feelings better and find ways to handle anger.
  • Get moving. Physical activity can burn off extra energy and help you feel more relaxed.
  • Write in a journal. Writing can be a great way to let your feelings out. It also may give you a chance to explore what is really going on. Often, other emotions, such as hurt or fear, are underneath the anger. Knowing what's really going on can help calm the anger.
  • Let music soothe you. Listen to your favorite tunes, sing in the shower, play an instrument, or write a song about how you feel.
  • Get creative. Drawing, painting, or creating something can be a great release.
  • Get good sleep. It's easier to stay calm and think straight when you're well-rested.

What if my anger starts to get out of control? arrow. top

If you feel like your anger is boiling over, make sure to keep yourself and others around you safe. Here are some things you can do:

  • Get out. Remove yourself from a tense situation. But don't drive — driving when angry can be dangerous. Take a walk, which is a great way to burn off extra energy.
  • Choose safe ways to calm down. You might take deep breaths, repeat a calming word, or imagine a calm place. Don't drink or use drugs to handle anger.
  • Get help. If you feel you are a danger to yourself or others, call 911 or go to the closest hospital emergency department. It's important to get help right away.


Content last reviewed January 07, 2015
Page last updated April 01, 2015