How to Manage Anger?

How to Manage Anger? | Wellspring Counselling Inc.

How to manage anger: It’s okay to feel angry sometimes. It can help us recognize something wrong and motivate us to solve problems.

But when anger becomes too much to handle, or we don’t manage it well, it can harm our relationships, health, and overall well-being. This guide offers practical tips for handling anger effectively.

Table of Contents

Understanding & How to manage anger?

Before we discuss management techniques, it’s essential to understand what causes anger and why it happens.

What is Anger?

When we feel angry, it’s because we perceive a threat, a frustration, or an injustice. Anger can be mild or intense, but it’s not always harmful. How we handle and show our anger matters, as that determines its impact on our lives.

The Physiology of Anger

When we get angry, our bodies undergo several physiological changes:

  • Adrenaline Release: Our adrenal glands release adrenaline, preparing us for a fight-or-flight response.
  • Increased Heart Rate: When we experience stress, our heart rate and blood pressure increase, sending more oxygen and nutrients to our muscles.
  • Muscle Tension: Our muscles tense up, preparing us for action.

Understanding these changes can help us recognize when we are getting angry and take steps to manage our responses.

Common Triggers of Anger

Anger triggers vary from person to person but often include:

  • Stress: Stress can increase the likelihood of feeling angry.
  • Frustration: When we feel blocked from reaching our goals, it can make us angry.
  • Injustice: Perceived unfairness or injustice can provoke anger.
  • Threats: When faced with physical or emotional threats, a person can experience anger.

Recognizing personal triggers is the first step in managing anger effectively.

The problems that people experience relating to anger are:  

  1. It is being chronically angry without any external trigger. It may be because they do not understand what is happening right now. Past experiences stuck in emotional memory are often brought back by things happening at the moment.
  2. The second issue is how anger is expressed – Constructive or destructive, adaptive or maladaptive.

The purpose of anger management is to lower stress levels and regain clear thinking so that you can better understand the situation. Then, use specific strategies to help you see things differently and approach your anger more calmly and constructively.

Working with a qualified mental health professional to learn effective anger management strategies is essential.

It’s best to practice this by doing role-plays. This helps your memory work without you even knowing it — like practicing for a game or a job. It would help if you made it seem as accurate as possible so that your mind and body can remember it without you trying to. This is called implicit memory. 

The steps are ordered sequentially to start learning, even though some are done simultaneously. The most effective sequence depends on how each step impacts you individually. This is why having a mental health professional help you through this is helpful.

The more you practice these strategies firsthand, the better you can use them in real situations

Steps to Manage Anger:

Let’s begin. The steps are:

  1. Assess if you are in immediate danger. What can you observe happening right now? What kind of loss has occurred regarding family, health, food, shelter, or freedom? Do you perceive any danger at this moment? Take 5 or 10 seconds to assess this. It takes this long for your perception to start registering and sinking into emotional understanding.
  2. Be aware of what is most important and meaningful to you, and think about your most important values and priorities and picture how you would interact with them. This helps you emotionally connect with what you’re imagining. For example, I think about spending time with my son and wife, traveling, watching them grow, making a positive impact through psychotherapy, and enjoying life.
  3. Remember to wait 30 seconds before taking action, if necessary. Taking your time will help you gain more control over your impulses. As each second passes, the urge to act immediately decreases, allowing you to gain more perspective with each passing moment.
  4. While waiting for 30 seconds, take a deep breath to help give you the inner resources to exert your will to refrain from the urge to act on your anger. Remember that this may be challenging. It could be tricky because you are holding back solid and basic emotions. Breathe out slowly because it helps reduce your heart rate and stress. This lowers the activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Keep breathing in and out slowly and evenly while taking your time to exhale.
  5. Increase the distance from the trigger of what is making you angry. Try to create as much physical distance as possible from whatever is causing you stress. This is because being physically closer to the source of stress can make you more inclined to act aggressively. So, the further away you are from what makes you angry, the less likely you are to feel the impulse to act aggressively.
  6. See the situation in a birdseye view of the timeline of your whole life. Imagine looking at your life’s timeline and comparing the current situation with significant life events like marriage, having children, fun times with friends, and travel. You can also compare it with other challenging experiences to gain perspective. Visualize the priorities you identified and see where you are in space and time, comparing this with the city, the country, the Earth, the galaxy, and the universe.
  7. What are your options to deal with the situation? Sometimes, we reject specific options because we believe the problem is unfair. We want to challenge it even if there’s a simple way to avoid or manage it.
  8. What are the consequences 20 years ahead? When angry, people often focus on the immediate situation and may not consider the long-term consequences.
  9. Imagine a calm or safe place and visualize it in your mind. Be sure to focus on this text for about 20 seconds. Doing so will help your brain absorb it, lowering your heart rate and stress levels. This decrease in arousal allows the thinking part of your brain, specifically the medial prefrontal cortex responsible for willpower, to regain control over your impulses.
  10. Feel, think, and behave like you would want your loved ones to in the same situation. Remember this: This will help you take actions that keep you safe, healthy, and socially appropriate in the long term.
  11. And the final step: Remember to take care of yourself after using up your energy and willpower, as these are limited resources. You can do this by taking a warm bath, making tea, or relaxing while watching a movie. Taking time to rejuvenate is important.

These strategies serve you well in managing your anger adaptively and constructively in the context of your life.


Managing your anger is essential for maintaining healthy relationships and overall well-being. Understanding your anger, recognizing what makes you angry, and using different techniques to control it can help lessen its adverse effects on your life.

Remember that managing anger is an ongoing process. It takes time, practice, and sometimes help from a professional. If you make these strategies part of your daily life, you can achieve better emotional balance and have a more peaceful, fulfilling life.

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