How can I control my anger?

Dr. Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine Specialist

To keep our anger under control, we need to listen to our brain and our heart. It’s a combination of logic and emotion that leads to a healthy expression of anger. How do you feel? How do you want to act? What is an appropriate reaction? Does the person I feel anger toward feel remorseful? Did they mean to do what they did? I can’t express to you enough how helpful asking yourself simple questions like these can be. Not only does it force you to think about the situation with an open mind, but just the process of thinking before you react acts to calm you down.

When we are angry, our brain sends signals to the rest of our body, our blood pressure rises, pulse rate increases, intensity of breathing increases, and breaths shorten. More severe cases may even lead to headaches, blurred vision, and muscle aches. So how do we handle this anger issue once we identify it?

A pronged approach is always the most effective. First, you need to identify the triggers that make you angry. Once identified, you need to prepare yourself for these danger situations. Prepare preventative tools that help you handle your anger appropriately in these situations. Different tools will work for everyone, if it works for you, don’t worry about how crazy it might seem. What’s important is that it works.

Raychelle C. Lohmann, MS, LPC
Psychology Specialist
Knowing your physical response to anger can help you become aware of when you need to cool it. These tips can help when you reach that point:
  • Take five deep breaths, concentrating on exhaling.
  • Excuse yourself from the situation and go for a walk or go to a quiet space.
  • If you can't get away from the situation, you can tell yourself to calm down and imagine a relaxing place (perhaps your bedroom, the beach, or your grandmother's house). As you bring this place to mind, focus on letting the anger drain from your body like water from a bathtub.
The Anger Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Deal with Anger and Frustration (Instant Help)

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The Anger Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Deal with Anger and Frustration (Instant Help)

Do you often find yourself in trouble because of anger? Do you react to situations and later regret how you behaved? Does your anger cause problems with other people? Are you tired of letting anger...
Dealing with anger depends on the individual. The key to anger is being aware of it and then trying to recognize what triggers it. Once you come to realize what triggers your anger you can try:
  • Becoming aware of the words that pop up in your mind during an anger producing situation, write them down in a journal or in a list and then come up with a complementary list of positive phrases. Next time you are in an anger producing situation see if you can be aware of those negative thoughts, stop them and replace them with something more positive.
  • Potentially not put yourself in those situations that anger you.
  • Similar to the first managing technique try to become aware of the anger producing situations. Write them down in a journal or a list. Now come up with a positive key word that will trigger your mind to recognize when you are in an anger producing situation. Next time you are in an anger producing situation see if you can be aware of the situation and use the key word to stop the progression of that situation so you can relax or move into another direction. It is important to come up with a list of alternative ways to deal with anger producing situations. Anger is in your control.
There are steps you can take to control anger better. Before saying or doing something you may regret, take a deep breath and ask yourself some questions and attempt to work through some solutions. Explore why you are feeling angry and focus on solving the problem facing you or causing you to feel anger. Try to calm yourself down and communicate with the other person without sounding angry or acting violent. Create self-awareness by knowing what triggers your anger and identify how you typically react.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.