Three ways to manage your anger and keep your cool (even when you’re about to explode).

“Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.”―Aristotle


Why do you feel anger?


It’s completely natural to feel anger: a physical and mental response to threats, attacks (real or perceived), injustice and disappointment. It’s one of the things that make you human.

Anger can stem from many emotions. Much day-to-day anger comes from situations like being kept waiting in a long queue when you’re in a rush (frustration), unscheduled events that interfere with your plans (annoyance) or being let down (disappointment).

Interestingly from a counselling perspective there doesn’t have to be a specific recent trigger to anger. Some anger has its roots in neglect or abuse from childhood which stays locked inside us for decades because it wasn’t dealt with at the time. 


Do you and I experience and show anger in the same way?

Anger takes many different forms, from mild irritation or blind fury to lingering resentment. We all experience it differently according to our emotional make-up, our upbringing, education, perceptions and circumstances.

Psychologists have struggled to label types of anger but largely agree on the following:

Aggressive anger: This is intentionally directed at another person to hurt him/her emotionally, physically or psychologically. Examples include shouting, hitting, lashing out. You will usually be aware of the way you’re feeling and your emotions, but may not always understand them or be able to control them. Aggressive anger often manifests as volatile or retaliatory anger and can result in physical damage to property and other people.


Passive anger: This is when you avoid dealing with a situation or person that has made you angry. You might want to get even, you’ll hold a grudge or purposefully exclude someone; even give them the silent treatment. You may not even realise you’re angry in the moment – it could come over as sarcasm, apathy or simply being mean and cruel.




“Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind” - Robert Green Ingersoll


How does your body respond to anger?

Anger gets the mind and body ready for action – the fight or flight response. Your nervous system is stimulated, increasing your heart rate, blood pressure, blood flow to muscles and causing sweating. Anger also sharpens your senses and increases the production of adrenalin. Imagine all that activity inside every cell of your body. It’s no wonder that supressing these feelings is not good for you.


Supressing feelings is bad for your health

A recent survey from Boston University announced the findings of a ten year-long study of 1,500 married women. Those who suppressed feelings of any kind—anger, depression, frustration—during conflicts with their spouses were four times more likely to die of all causes during the 10-year follow-up than those who spoke up.


How to respond to anger in a more healthy




"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured".- Mark Twain


A healthier response to feeling angry can soothe stress, lower your risk of heart problems and depression, and improve your relationships. We can all learn to handle our anger more effectively. Here are three tips to help you manage your anger:

In the moment

Recognise that familiar surge? Stop for a minute. Think about what has made you angry. Give yourself a moment to regain your rationality.

Take yourself out of the situation that made you angry if possible. Move into another room. Go to the bathroom. Make a cup of tea. Distraction techniques work well!

In the medium term

Longer term strategies

Work out what makes you angry and how anger makes you behave. Talk to a trusted friend or counsellor if you want a truly impartial view.

I can help you recognise the roots of your anger and find a way to manage it. Together we can learn how you can challenge unhelpful thoughts and frame things differently, so you can feel more in control and more at peace.