What is anger?
Anger is a normal, healthy emotion which we all feel sometimes. We often feel angry when we are frustrated, don't like a situation or have been treated badly. But we may also feel angry without knowing why, and that is okay, as long as we find a way to express our feelings safely.
Understanding our anger and thinking about how we deal with it won't get rid of it, but it will help us learn how to manage it.
When is anger a problem?
Anger only becomes a problem when it is not managed well and gets out of control. There are signs that this might be happening:
• You express your anger through unhealthy or unsafe ways
• Your anger is affecting your everyday life
• Your anger is affecting your relationships and the people around you
• Anger is your go-to emotion and it is all you can think about it
Why do I get angry?
There are many reasons why you might feel angry. Some of the reasons include, but are not limited to:
• Feeling scared or attacked
• Feeling frustrated, ashamed, stressed or powerless
• Feeling misunderstood, judged or like you are not being treated fairly
• Being bullied, discriminated against or abused
• Experiencing grief or relationship problems
• Having low self-esteem
• Not being able to understand your feelings
Are anger and mental health linked?
Anger is not a mental health problem. It is a normal emotion that we all feel sometimes. But if you are feeling more angry than usual, it may be a sign that you have poor mental health right now, or that you are dealing with something difficult.
If you feel angry for a long period of time, or if it is affecting your daily life, it could be a sign of a mental health problem. Everyone needs support with mental health sometimes.
Managing anger in the moment
It can be scary when your anger takes over or you lose control in a situation. Here are tips for healthier ways to manage your anger:
• Spot the signs - your muscles might tense up, your heart beats faster, you are shaking or sweating
• Take time out - getting away from the situation can help you
• Speak to a friend or family member you can trust
• Try mindfulness
• Distract yourself from your anger for a while
Dealing with arguments
Arguments with loved ones are difficult to deal with. Here are tips to deal with them:
• Think about what you want to say before you say it
• Take a deep breath before you answer
• Listen to their point of view
• Apologise for being angry
• Think about what you're feeling
• Think about the consequences of your behaviour
• Think about whether you will care about this in 6 months' time
• Leave the situation
Managing anger in the long-term
When you are feeling calm, spend time thinking about how you want to manage your anger in the future. You could try to:
• Recognise your triggers
• Understand your feelings
• Listen to others
• Think about the consequences
• Accept what's out of your control
• Look after your wellbeing
• Be more active
• Build your self-esteem and confidence
• Learn to assert yourself
• Reach out for support
• Get help in school