All about anger

Why do people get angry? Find out all about anger, including what it is, signs of anger, types of anger, and what people can do to reduce their anger.

Signs you might be angry:

  • You’re in a bad mood
  • You’re frustrated
  • You’re lashing out
  • Worried
Boy at table with parents fighting

What is anger?

Anger is a normal emotion experienced by everyone at different times. People usually feel angry as a reaction to their thoughts or emotions, like when they feel:

  • Hurt
  • Frustrated
  • Worried
  • Jealous 
  • Confused
  • Rejected
  • Embarrassed
  • Powerless

How likely you are to be angry can depend on a lot of different factors. You could:

  • Be experiencing body changes which cause mood swings
  • Be under a lot of pressure
  • Be being treated unfairly, discriminated against, or bullied
  • Just have a personality that has a short fuse
Whatever the reason behind it, there’s nothing wrong with feeling angry. What is important is how you cope with, and express, angry feelings. Anger that isn’t managed well can have an impact on your relationships, as well as your physical and emotional health.

Signs of anger

Physical signs of anger that people can experience include:

  • Feeling hot or having a flushed face
  • Being shaky
  • Having a dry mouth
  • Finding it difficult to hear someone speaking to you
  • Muscle tension

When you do feel angry, it’s common to feel:

  • Paralysed
  • Overwhelmed
  • Impulsive
  • Like you don’t have control

Different ways anger is expressed

Everyone expresses and copes with anger differently. Anger can be a positive thing if it’s channelled in the right way– it can motivate people to change things they don’t like about their life, or the world.

Anger can also be expressed by:

  • Lashing out at someone or something
  • Withdrawing
Anger can be unhealthy when it is expressed in these ways. When you’re not in control of your anger, there’s a risk you could hurt others and yourself. If you bottle up your anger, you might find that it comes out in ways you don’t expect.

What to do about anger

Anger can be really hard to deal with sometimes, but managing it is definitely possible. People will find certain strategies for managing anger will work better for them than others. That’s completely fine, as long as it’s being managed in ways which don’t lead them to hurting themselves or others.

If you’re thinking about finding better ways to manage your anger, you need to:

  • Develop positive strategies to help you cope. Examples include distracting yourself, breathing deeply, and taking time out.
  • Treat the underlying cause of anger. Work out what’s causing your anger, and plan strategies for solving the problem.
If you’re struggling to gain control of your anger, if you feel angry all the time, or you are reacting violently, it’s important to seek professional help. Becoming violent is not helpful; you could make things worse or harm yourself or someone else. Speaking to someone like a counsellor can help you identify why you are getting angry and also help you deal with that cause.

What can I do now?

Last reviewed: 06 August, 2015
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  • ruenhonx    (330 days ago)

    Hi Janie
    I am so sorry to hear that your children are not as helpful as you would want them to be. In any relationship, communication is key and I think sometimes it might take you talking to them about how you feel and what you are going through for them to realize that you need them. If you need to talk about what you are going through, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 and they will be able to listen, help support you and also offer some options on how to deal with this.

    I hope this helps. Take care.

  • Janie    (338 days ago)

    I never think of what happen yesterday.. If one of my kids do not call me to check on me I pray to God, I know I am not alone. He is with us all the time. But my kids only come when they need money and do not pay me back! Now I need money to fix my car but do not say nothing. I will just leave it in Gods hands.I am disabled. They know I sometimes cannot go to store! I try my best to go !I cannot believe I raised my kids to be like this!There's a 3 friends that help me sometimes!!.I do not understand why my kids treat me this way!I raised them myself their father was never in their lives!

  • Myvo    (363 days ago)

    Hey ilovekoala
    Anger can be a struggle to handle at times - I know that I've got that issue too. It can be challenging to react appropriately and trying not to take it out on people! What's worked for me is the Smiling Mind app and talking to someone on eheadspace. Do you think that you could give that a go?

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