Anger Management

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the need to break everything around you or to attack another person physically or verbally? You might have experienced an “anger attack”. Although anger is a normal emotion, when it turns into aggression it can pose as a threat to ourselves and people around. That’s why it’s important to learn how to manage it.

What’s anger?

  • Anger is a common human emotion characterized by a strong feeling of displeasure and physiological arousal with an urge to fight back. When our (emotional) brain detects a threat, it triggers a cascade effect in our body that may result in anger response.
  • Anger is usually provoked by a threat (real or perceived)
  • Anger varies in its intensity and mode of expression
  • We all get angry and we may get angry for different reasons and at different levels of intensity.
  • Anger is like the tip of an iceberg. It may be the expression of other symptoms and emotions and linked to traumatic experiences or exposure to violence

Let’s dispel some myths on anger! 



Anger is always negative

Anger can be important for our survival. It helps us react/protect ourselves and others in situations of real danger.

Anger should be eliminated

We cannot eliminate the external sources of our anger, nor completely stop reacting. But we can change the way we may interpret threats, control our responses and channel our emotions in a more productive way.

If I am angry, it means I am a bad person

We all get angry, and anger doesn’t make us bad persons. Nonetheless, if we act out on our anger, we may damage ourselves and others. That’s why finding coping strategies to deal with anger is so important. Sometimes we tend to generalize assumptions about us and others and we may experience feelings of guilt. We should learn to forgive ourselves while learning from our mistakes.


Anger equals to aggression

There is a difference between anger and aggression: the former is an emotion and state of activation that we can feel; the latter is a behavior, acting out on the emotion. E.g. Emotion: I feel all contracted, upset, my body feels hot and ready to fight; Behavior: I keep quiet and I go for a walk or I punch the person in front of me (that’s aggression). Anger management techniques avoid that anger turns into aggression. If we find ways (unless a real danger is detected) not to turn this uncomfortable emotion into a behavior, anger doesn’t become destructive.

I cannot change my anger management issues.

For some people it may be more difficult than for others, but we can all improve our way to manage and “use” our anger!




What does it feel like?

  • Get in touch with yourself to recognize anger:

      • How do I know that I am angry?
      • What does it feel like in my body?

How do we deal with anger?

  • Be mindful of triggers around you and of the consequences of your anger. Asking yourself the following questions may be useful:

      • What makes me angry the most?
      • How do I react?
      • How do I know when I should stop?
      • What are the consequences of my reactions?
  • Engage in activities that may help you:
      • Get temporally distracted from the source of your anger
      • Vent (re-channel) your anger towards something else in a less harmful way
      • Move and channel energy
      • Express your anger in a “creative” way
  • Things that you can do when you get angry:
      • Think (or count) before you speak or act. Once you are calm, express your anger in a more “acceptable” way
      • Get some exercise, practice sports
      • Take a time-out
      • Change the setting
      • Identify possible solutions
      • Connect with others
      • Forgive (yourself and others)
      • Use humor to release tension
      • Breathe slowly and deeply focusing on your exhalation (to know more click here-link to Breathing techniques)
      • Practice relaxation techniques (to know more…)
  • Reflection point: Your anger is energy. Think about what spheres of your life may benefit from that level of energy and find ways to shift/channel it.


For more on anger management, please see

Controlling Anger (

For guidance on how to help children manage anger, please see

Managing Anger — Coping Skills for Kids