How to Deal With Your Anger

Couple arguing on city street

Cultura / Matelly / Riser / Getty Images

We all experience anger. When managed correctly and kept in check, anger can be a positive thing—a red flag that something’s wrong, a catalyst for change, a good self-motivator. But if not handled properly, anger can turn destructive and negatively impact your health and relationships.

Because anger is such a powerful emotion, dealing with it can be both challenging and confusing. Here are some proven anger management strategies to help you stay calm.

Determine the Cause of Your Anger

The first step to dealing with anger is to know what set you off in the first place. You may be irritable because of life stress, a lack of sleep, or hormonal changes. Feelings of anger can also stem from an underlying mental disorder such as anxiety or depression.

Identify (and Avoid) Anger Triggers

More often than not, something specific is triggering your anger. Everyone has their own triggers for what makes them angry, but some common ones include situations in which you feel:

  • Like people are not respecting your feelings or possessions
  • Like you're being treated unfairly
  • Powerless
  • Threatened or attacked

Being able to predict what situations will provoke you is key to keeping your temper under control. You may not be able to eliminate everything in your life that causes you anger and frustration, but cutting out what you can will go a long way.

Stop Venting

Many people view venting as a good way to release pent-up anger and frustration. But venting may not be as helpful as you think.

Research shows that instead of helping you let off steam, venting just fuels the fire of your anger. It's hard to forget an annoyance if you're constantly talking about it. And the more you talk about it, the angrier you'll become.

If you find yourself wanting to talk a lot about what is making you angry, it might be a good idea to schedule a few sessions with a therapist, who may have some effective ideas on dealing with anger.

Trying to solve a problem is a good idea, but stewing in your anger is not. Mindfulness meditation is a proven strategy for minimizing rumination.

Start an Anger Diary

Journaling is a great way to vent in a healthier way. Research shows that writing when you feel angry not only helps release negative emotions, but can also reduce physical pain. It can help you see or understand an anger-provoking situation in a different light. Putting your feelings on paper is also a simple way to track those things that really "push your buttons."

Research on the benefits of journaling supports the effectiveness of writing down your feelings and working through them on paper. The written expression of anger allows you to actively do something with your anger rather than just letting it make you feel bad.

A Word From Verywell

If you're struggling to manage your anger, or if your anger is causing problems in your life, you may want to consider professional help. Sometimes, mental health issues like depression or anxiety can contribute to anger management problems. Talk to your physician about a referral to a therapist or even an anger management class.

8 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Garfinkel SN, Zorab E, Navaratnam N, et al. Anger in brain and body: the neural and physiological perturbation of decision-making by emotion. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2016;11(1):150-158. doi:10.1093/scan/nsv099

  2. Williams R. Anger as a basic emotion and its role in personality building and pathological growth: The neuroscientific, developmental and clinical perspectives. Front Psychol. 2017;8:1950. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01950

  3. Kashdan TB, Goodman FR, Mallard TT, DeWall CN. What triggers anger in everyday life? Links to the intensity, control, and regulation of these emotions, and personality traits. J Pers. 2016;84(6):737-749. doi:10.1111/jopy.12214

  4. Martin RC, Coyier KR, VanSistine LM, Schroeder KL. Anger on the internet: The perceived value of rant sites. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2013;16(2):119-122. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0130

  5. Lohr JM, Olatunji BO, Baumeister RF, Bushman BJ. The psychology of anger venting and empirically supported alternatives that do no harm. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice. 2007;5(1):53-64.

  6. Hofmann SG, Asnaani A, Vonk IJJ, Sawyer AT, Fang A. The efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Cognit Ther Res. 2012;36(5):427-440. doi:10.1007/s10608-012-9476-1

  7. Parmentier FBR, García-Toro M, García-Campayo J, Yañez AM, Andrés P, Gili M. Mindfulness and symptoms of depression and anxiety in the general population: The mediating roles of worry, rumination, reappraisal and suppression. Front Psychol. 2019;10:506. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00506

  8. Pasupathi M, Wainryb C, Mansfield CD, Bourne S. The feeling of the story: Narrating to regulate anger and sadness. Cogn Emot. 2017;31(3):444-461. doi:10.1080/02699931.2015.1127214

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.