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How to Deal with Anger

Updated on January 4, 2013

What is anger?

a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire.

Do you find that you are angry often? Is the intensity of the anger a concern? Anger is a basic human emotion. Yet, it can be dangerous if not well managed. Learning about anger’s causes and signs can be a way to identify one’s source of anger. It can also help identify healthy or unhealthy anger. The more you learn about anger, the more prepared to manage it you can become.


Signs of Anger

The signs of anger can vary from one person to the next. One person may experience an incredible calmness while another passionate rage. Here are five common areas that may change when anger occurs:


Know How to Describe Your Level of Anger

Degrees of Anger
Slightly irritated or frustrated

1. Physical

· Tightness in the chest, shoulders or stomach

· Dizziness

· Flushed face

· Sweating

· Rapid heart beat

· Crying

· Headache

2. Emotional

· Resentment

· Guilt

· Depression

· Irritation

· Anxiousness

3. Vocal

· Elevated voice

· Hushed voice

· High pitched

· Lowered pitched

4. Behavioral

· Lashing out verbally or physically

· Pacing

· Isolation

· Toughing head

· Clasping or wringing hands

· Loss of sense of humor

5. Cravings

· Food

· Sex

· Alcohol/drugs

· Cigarettes

· For anything else that is a “soother”


5 Common Causes of Anger

The causes of anger are as varied as the signs. Yet, learning to identify common triggers for anger can help in the management of this strong emotion.

1. Family Feuds: Family issues can cause people to become anywhere from mildly to intensely angry. Problems in the home can become serious triggers for anger because of how deeply rooted they can be. For example, I can get extremely angry with my mother over seemly small issues but really it is rooted in old tears in our relationship. It takes a lot of work to heal old hurts in a family. Without that healing, anger can crop up at any turn.

2. Work Stress: Our work lives all reach points where they can feel overwhelming. The byproduct of such stress can be anger. Finding yourself more agitated at work? It might be time to look at your stress load and to evaluate your coping mechanisms.

3. Pain or Hurt: The natural and often first reaction to hurt or pain is anger. Whether an emotional or even physical hurt, anger usually follows.

4. Lack of Sleep: Even children experience the “grumpiness” that comes with missing sleep. As an adult, the effects of missing sleep can be extreme and can often include agitation. I find that my response to common irritations such as long lines at the grocery store can be more exaggerated when I am tired.

5. Unreasonable Expectations: When we have expectations, especially ones that are unreasonable, it is a self-made trigger for anger. I have found that in relationships, for example, when I am expecting someone to behave or react in a certain way, especially a way that would be uncharacteristic for him/her, I experience a feeling of disappoint. I feel much more at ease without such expectations. When others place unreasonable expectations on us, we usually react with anger as well.


When is Anger Healthy?

· When it brings about positive change: Anger can be a powerful tool for change. When anger causes you to make new decisions that change your path, it is healthy. For example, when I was in a relationship where I constantly found myself angry, I was finally able to see it was time for me to leave. My anger helped me make a new, healthy choice.

· When it is expressed in a healthy way (such as talking to others, writing or exercise): When you are able to express your anger in a healthy way, it can be healthy. For example, my anger associated with my break up fueled me to start writing. I was able to turn my anger into something healthy. It allowed me to air my feelings as well as do something good for me.


When is Anger Unhealthy?

· When it hurts others verbally, emotionally or physically: When others are hurt by our anger, our anger is unhealthy. We all experience some unhealthy anger and knowing when it is a problem is how we can change.

· When it causes you pain, guilt or depression: When we hurt ourselves with our anger it is also unhealthy. Learning to manage our anger means finding ways not to fall into the pit of self-degradation that can accompany anger.

· When it fuels addiction: Compulsive anger can be part of the cycle of addiction. When an addict experiences anger their reaction is to use their drug of choices (food, sex, drug, alcohol, money, cigarettes, etc.). After using they feel guilt that may later lead to anger (defensiveness with loves ones, confrontations at work, etc.). The cycle starts again.


How to Manage Anger

1. Find healthy outlets: Finding healthy outlets such as exercise, writing, woodworking, drawing, painting or gardening can make for a more balanced life. When we have outlets for our feelings our relationships often improve and we are less likely to lash out.

2. Lower your stress: Lowering your stress level is another way to find more balance. If being stressed causes you irritation and shortness with those you love, it may be worth it to let some things go. Consider taking regular vacations or simply not taking your work home.

3. Get regular rest: Sleep is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. Being more rested will instantly boost your mood and attitude.

4. Get clear: Finding out why you are angry is a key component to managing anger. Until you know why you are angry, it is hard to address the feelings. Writing or talking with others can be a great way to explore the reasons behind your anger.

5. Deal with core issues: If you find that you have childhood issues or major relationship problems, dealing with those problems head on can free you from reoccurring anger.


3 Signs that it is Time to Seek Help

1. You feel out of control when you are angry: You simply do not know what may happen once you become angry. This is dangerous for you and those around you and is definitely a sign to seek some professional help.

2. You are constantly angry: If you are finding that you are consistently angry, it is time to seek help. While it is common for everyone to experience anger, constant anger is a sign of deeper problems. A professional can help you sort through your emotions and experiences to identify the source of your anger.

3. Anger is ruining the quality of your relationships: If you are noticing that your anger is inhibiting your opportunity to maintain healthy relationships, seeking help is in your best interest.



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    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks bhargvi!

    • bhargvi sharma profile image

      Bhargvi Sharma 5 years ago from jammu ( India)

      Awesome Informative Hub... Voted up!!! :)

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      winbo and mbyl, Thanks for stopping by reading and sharing.

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks Sandra. Anger is something we all can identify with!

    • sandrabusby profile image

      Sandra Busby 5 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      Hi KrystalD, your hub on anger and its management is good advice. I especially like the "signs" of anger part. Thanks for SHARING. Sandra Busby

    • mbyL profile image

      Slaven Cvijetic 5 years ago from Switzerland, Zurich

      A very nice hub! Although I am not angry this often I will certainly remember the how to manage anger part. And I am also thankful, because I didn't know anger can be something positive! Voted Up Useful and Twittered it!

    • winbo profile image

      winbo 5 years ago

      helpful article.. Vote up nd share..

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      I am one to hold it in and explode myself. I have had to really work on being more honest. Sometimes to smile or pretend that you are ok with something when you are not, is not only dishonest, but damaging to yourself. I often think that anger is a touchy subject in the lives of women. I believe we are raised to ignore our anger.

      I have many stories similar to yours. Only eith practice do we learn to feel what we need to feel, say what we need to say and move on.

      Thanks for sharring your experience!

    • mamalila profile image

      JNSimmons 5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Funny story: I was plunking around online, found the website for Neverland the series on Syfy, took their "What Would Your Name Be In Neverland" survey and it dubbed me "Angry Jalila Jibtrimmers," a pirate on Captain Hook's ship. I immediately got offended and called the game dumb. But my husband laughed. He says I can be an angry person at times but not nearly as bad as when he first met me 20 years ago.

      I thought I was a happy person but that was just the mask I wore. The anger came from many painful and disappointing early experiences that I shoved down and covered with a smile. Over the years, I've had to do a lot of forgiving (which sky2day mentioned. Mostly forgiving myself for not being perfect or knowing how to handle situations. I've learned to let a lot of frustration go, let go of expectations and accept people for who they are. This is where my boundary work has helped.

      But I do need reminding to let it go so thanks for writing this hub. Its so easy to slip into the smile-and-hold-it-all-in tactic. Then when it gets full, thar she blows!!! And that's not good for anyone on board the deck.

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      ishwatyaa22, I am glad to hear that you got something positive from my hub. Anger is something I have struggled to understand in the last year. Why does it happen so suddenly? How can I make use of it? It has finally occured to me that I am not unsual and that if I utilize my anger in a healthy way, it can be useful and powerful. Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      After reading this hub, I am enlightened. Being angry all the time is not good. Anger is the common and inescapable emotion in humans and it is upto people to deal with their anger on their own by handling their stress-related problems, adopting positive approach and bravely facing problems in life. Good hub. Useful Vote up.

    • NightFlower profile image

      NightFlower 5 years ago

      you're's a good article voted up.

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Anger is a huge hurdle for many of us to conquer. Everytime I think I have licked it, a new situation presents itself! Thanks for sharing your story NightFlower. I do believe the grudges you described are normal. We all eventually learn the 2-sided hurt of resentment. It is much better to let go but that takes practice and maturity. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your insight on this topic!

    • NightFlower profile image

      NightFlower 5 years ago

      I used to be angry when I was a teenager but it came out in the form of a stuck out lip (pouting) and not talking to anybody. If I was mad at one person I didn't talk to anyone and if someone was mean to me instead of responding or speaking up for myself I would just hold grudges and not talk to that person, carrying a scowl on my face. My Mom finally had a talk with me, telling me,"If you don't like what someone says to you it's better to respond and let them know how you feel rather than hold it inside". As one person has already commented, if you hold anger and resentment inside it is you who suffers. She also taught me that being honest and not retaliating when responding is the key. You don't have to be nasty at all. I'm quite the diplomat now (smile). Doesn't mean I don't get mad but I know how to channel it. Great hub I hope everybody reads it.

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      I think forgiveness is a great point to bring into the discussion of anger. I think it aloows us to more forward quicker. Spirituality brings a lot of peace into the lives of many followers. I find that prayer and meditation help me to feel more even emotionally. Thanks for the insight skye2day.

    • skye2day profile image

      skye2day 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Bitterness only consumes the vessel that contains it.

      Forgiveness is key. You wrote a brilliant hub of love. I know for me I have to go with Gods word. God will take our anger from us. We just have to give it up. Anger is not worth being consumed. Sometimes as you said anger moves us into action. Would it be wonderful if there was no anger? If I never got angry? We live in a fallen world so anger is not going away anytime soon. One day on the other side we will live in a world of peace. The peace of God. Dint let the sun go down on your wrath.

      We do not know what tomorrow may bring. God Bless u krystal

      Thank you for sharing. Up girl.

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      I agree that the key can be found in letting go of negative emotions but I also know that for most of us, that is a real jour journey. Thanks for sharing Mary Neal.

    • Mary Neal profile image

      Mary Neal 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia, USA

      People should relax more. Let go, and let God. He will bear their burdens and care for all their needs. God loves His people. Repent and be saved today. God bless all the angry people through Jesus, our Lord. Amen. Let go of negative emotions. Trust in God. More advice about this is at my article "Whitney Hourston, Gospel Singer Extraordinaire, by Mary Neal. Jesus said, "My peace I give unto you." Blessings!