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Mental Health Matters

Managing Anger

Managing Anger

Anger is a normal human emotion that we all have experienced. It comes to us in varying degrees, from a small irritation to complete outrage and everything in between.

People can be quick to anger for many reasons. It could be something as simple as not realizing that you are hungry to other, more serious situations like dealing with loss or grief. It is essential to learn and acknowledge what triggers your emotions so that you can become aware of how to manage them before your anger or the situation escalates. It is ok to experience anger. What truly matters is the way in which we handle our emotions and how we react to others around us because of it. Another way in which anger can become an issue is when it becomes a chronic emotion – something that we suffer from in our every day – and can create serious issues, personally or professionally. If you don’t already know how to channel your anger, you may need to teach yourself how to react to frustration differently.

How do you know the difference between getting angry and getting too angry?

  • Peers and loved ones have told you before that your anger tends to get out of hand
  • You find it difficult/impossible to calm down in the middle of an argument
  • CYou need to remove yourself from situations that cause you anger before things are out of control

Although it may feel instinctive to lash out aggressively in certain situations, it is possible for us to learn how to withhold or redirect our emotions so that we can communicate effectively and respectfully.

Therapy can help individuals who have trouble controlling their anger. The goal of anger management is to reduce your immediate feelings and the physiological effects, like increased heart rate and blood pressure, that cause anger. Instead, therapy helps you learn to view anger as a signal that something is wrong and find out how to tune in those feelings and identify triggers so you can interrupt the cycle. By doing so, you can incorporate problem-solving skills and relaxation techniques that will help you to better communicate and calm your anger long-term.

What can you do right now?

  • Recognize your physiological responses. Start to take notice of your body and what happens to you physically when you begin to get angry.
  • Think about what has worked in the past. Take some time to be alone or practice deep-breathing. Find what works for you.
  • Practice healthy ways of expressing anger. After you’ve calmed down, practice expressing your frustrations assertively – not aggressively.
  • Don’t hold a grudge. Expecting others to behave exactly how you want is unrealistic. Learn how to forgive.
  • Exercise. Physical activity can be a great outlet for your emotions!
  • Join a support group. Learn from others and their experiences. Also, many groups are facilitated by therapists that can help.
  • Find the right therapist. Inappropriate anger can negatively impact your family. Individual and/or family therapy can help.

With help, you can learn to change the way you respond. Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) work with individuals, couples, families, children, adolescents, and the elderly to help provide support through life’s challenges. If you are seeking the help of an MFT, please visit It is a California-wide interactive, online directory that can help you search for a therapist by name, location, and area of expertise. It’s easy, convenient, and private.


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