Anger is a very normal emotion. Everyone feels angry sometimes. For most people anger is a secondary emotion and can often be related to other feelings like sadness, fear, disappointment and stress.

Learning about your anger and the reasons why you’re experiencing it can make it a lot easier to manage when it does happen. Scroll below to read more. 

Understanding anger

Feelings of anger can occur based on how we interpret and respond to different situations. Feeling threatened, powerless or unfairly treated are common triggers for anger. The key with anger is making sure you have some helpful ways of expressing it.

Communicating with others and expressing your anger in a safe way are positive actions. However, when anger leads to violent or out of control behaviour it can be frightening and damaging to yourself and your relationships.

What does it look and feel like?

For most people anger looks like:

  • Feeling irritable for no obvious reason 
  • Being aggressive and offensive to others
  • Feeling unable to control your behaviour
  • Getting frustrated easily by small things
  • Having a ‘short fuse’
  • Using violence to express how you feel or solve problems 

There are lots of useful ways to help manage anger but if you feel unable to control your behaviour and worry that you may hurt yourself or someone else then you need to seek help now, click here to find out who to contact.

Expressing anger safely

For most people, the way they express anger is influenced by the way they have been brought up and the way they have seen others express their own anger.

Whatever your upbringing it is not ok to use violence to express your anger or to hurt yourself, others or property.

If managing anger is a problem for you then it’s important to work on finding other ways to express how you’re feeling, in a way that is safe for you and those around you. The strategies below are a good place to start.

Strategies & Tips

The strategies below are a good place to start when learning how to safely manage your anger. It’s important to stick with them, even if they don’t work perfectly straight away. Changing habits take time and managing your anger is no different. 


Try asking yourself why you’re angry. When you’ve answered this question spend some time brainstorming practical ways you could resolve the issue. Set some goals and try and achieve them.

Relaxation and mindfulness

Focusing your attention on a single task can help reduce your anger. Try changing your breathing by using the 4-4-4 method. Breathing in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 and out for 4. You could also try listening to music, tensing and relaxing your muscles or just being still for 5 minutes.

Try a change of scenery

Remove yourself from the environment that may be causing or increasing your anger. Going for a walk or even just moving to a different room can give you space to cool down.

Get it sorted

It’s pretty common for anger to be linked to other emotions like stress, sadness, fear and worry. Understanding the reasons why you’re experiencing anger can make things a lot easier to manage.

If you’re feeling down or anxious and want to know more about how you might be feeling, it might be worth trying one of these self-tests. Take the test for anxiety or take the test for depression.  is a New Zealand website that has some good information and contacts that can help you address and manage your anger too.

Otherwise, go back and have another look at some of the information on the other types of challenges we can face when our mental fitness is struggling.