Problem With Anger

Dealing with anger

Do you feel that your anger is out of your control at times and it becomes devastating to your life? Anger is like a fire which burns all your efforts into ash. Each person experiences anger in different levels, even though given a similar situations. Some people are better at managing their anger than others to prevent a chaos happen. So what are some of the strategies in managing anger?


Anger is a primary emotion experienced by human and animals. It is a natural, adaptive response to threats which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked. Anger is neither good nor bad. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary to our survival.

Anger can be caused by both external and internal events. You could be angry at a specific person (e.g. a friend) or event (e.g. traffic jam), or your anger could be caused by emotional pains and trauma.

Anger becomes a problem when it is uncontrolled and leads to aggression,
impulsivity, and hostility.

Uncontrolled anger may cause you to:

  • Lose a significant relationship
  • Displace your aggression unnecessarily
  • Financial lost (e.g. broken items, medical bills, and legal charge)
  • Overlooking long-term goals in exchange for short-term relief


Below are some common responses when we are angry:

  • Physical: Increased heart-rate, chest tightness, rapid breathing, tremors, flushed face.
  • Psychological: Irritation, rage, resentful, self-blame/blaming others, sense of helplessness (e.g. can’t control anger)
  • Behaviorial: Explosive, withdrawn, impatient, revengeful, passive-aggressive behaviour (expressing anger at someone indirectly).


Three approaches we use to deal with anger:

  • Expressing: By revealing our anger directly or indirectly.
  • Suppressing: By inhibiting our anger and redirecting it to other forms of behaviour.
  • Calming: By controlling our anger through relaxation and self-soothing techniques.


So what can I do about it?
“Control your anger before it controls you”. Increase your self-awareness by focusing on your thoughts and body sensation. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What usually causes me to be angry?
  • What usually happens to my body when I am angry?
  • What do I tell myself when I’m angry?
  • How do I usually react when I am angry?
  • Have I hurt someone or something out of anger?


Change thoughts that fuel your anger:

  • Avoid using terms “must” or “should” (e.g. “he must answer my questions”, “I should get this right”) as you will feel angry when your expectations are not met.
  • Avoid using “never” or “always” to generalize your view on an event/person (e.g. “she never helped me”, “I always fail”). It will only justify your anger and distort your perception.
  • Zoom out to look into the bigger picture. Ask yourself how much this unhappy situation matters to you in 5 years time.


Improve your communication

  • Learn to respond and not to react. Responding is a conscious choice while reacting is purely emotional.
  • Seek to understand by listening. Focus on the underlying meaning the other person is trying to tell you. Avoid jumping into conclusion.
  • Practice assertive communication. Express your thoughts calmly and openly without being defensive or overly emotional.


Dealing with Anger

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