8 ways to deal with anger

Learning how to cope if you struggle with rage can be difficult – but there are ways you can learn to manage your anger.

How to deal with anger?

The first thing to know about learning to manage anger issues is: anger isn’t actually a ‘bad’ emotion. There’s nothing wrong with feeling rage or frustration, but what does matter is how you deal with your anger and how you express it.

If you learn anger management skills and learn how to recognise and manage your anger in a healthy way, you can respond differently the next time you feel anger arising.

We’re not guaranteeing you won’t still be in a bad mood, but you’ll be less likely to act in a way you might regret.

Here are our tips for the best way to control your anger.

1. Recognise the warning signs

If you can recognise when you’re starting to feel angry, you’ll be in a good place to try some of our tips before you get really worked up or lash out. You can then try a few of the strategies below. Some warning signs are:

  • pounding heart

  • gritting your teeth

  • sweating

  • tight chest

  • shaking

  • feeling anxious

  • raising your voice

  • being snappy or defensive

  • temporarily losing your sense of humour

  • pacing

  • getting a ‘flash’ of a bad mood

  • being overly critical of someone

  • feeling argumentative

Acknowledging that you feel angry and identifying the emotions you're feeling can sometimes help to reduce the intensity. Saying "I'm angry right now" or "I'm feeling frustrated and annoyed" can be the first step in understanding and resolving your feelings of anger.

2. Work out why you’re angry

There’s lots of reasons why you might be angry. It’s a normal or understandable response in some situations, such as when you or someone else is being treated unfairly. If you’re not sure why you’ve just snapped at someone, though, think back through your day and try to pinpoint what set you off.

Some other reasons why you might be feeling angry include:

  • you’re under a lot of pressure

  • you’re experiencing bodily or hormonal changes that cause mood swings

  • you’re frustrated with how your life is going

If you work on first recognising and then dealing with your anger, it won’t have such a damaging effect on your relationships, body, mind and emotions.

3. Write it down

Sometimes, writing stuff down can help you work out why you’re feeling angry and how you might be able to deal with it. Try drafting a letter to someone to explore what you think is making you angry, how you're responding to the situation and how you want to address your feelings. Take a pause before sending it and read back over your letter. This method will allow you to express your feelings, while reading over your words will help you to put things in perspective. You may find you don't need to send the letter as your feelings subside after writing, or writing it down may help you find the right words that you can use in a discussion.

4. Count to 100

This one seems pretty basic, but it works really well for anger management. Thinking about something other than what’s making you upset for 100 seconds can help you avoid blowing a fuse. It gives you a chance to gather yourself and your thoughts before you do anything else.

5. Press pause

When you feel angry about something, it’s almost impossible to deal with the situation in a productive or helpful way. If you feel yourself losing your cool, just walk away from the situation for a while. You’ll deal with it better when everyone, yourself included, is feeling calmer.

6. Move your body

Exercise is an awesome way to let off steam. You could take a walk around the block, go for a run, or do something really high-energy like boxing.

7. Talk to someone

Talking to someone you trust about how you’re feeling can take a weight off your shoulders as well as your mind. That could be a trusted adult, friend or family member. You could even join ReachOut's Online Community and talk with other young people who get how you’re feeling and can share their own anger management strategies.

If your anger is getting out of control, or you think you or someone in your life meets the criteria for a personality disorder, consider seeing a mental health professional. Watch our video to find out why talking helps.

8. Take time to relax

If you know what helps you to relax, you’ll find it really useful whenever you’re feeling angry. Take some time out to do something you enjoy, it could be:

  • going for a walk in the park

  • reading a book

  • trying some meditation

  • listening to music

  • relaxation apps like Smiling Mind

What can I do now?