Center for Young Women's Health

Anger Management

Remember

  • Anger is a natural emotion that can sometimes make you feel uncomfortable or even out of control. Anger is something you can learn to control!
  • If anger begins to take control over you, it's important to do something to keep yourself and others around you safe.
  • Managing your anger lowers stress and improves your health.

Do you know that learning to manage anger is good for your health? People who manage their anger get sick less often, and feel better emotionally. Even though anger is a natural emotion sometimes, it can lead to behavior that is uncomfortable or out of control. It may even feel like the anger is controlling you.

Why do I have trouble controlling my anger?

There are many reasons why people have trouble managing their anger and angry behaviors The reasons are different for everybody and may be a combination of different factors. Perhaps you have been taught that it is “not nice” or “inappropriate” to express anger. Maybe you've witnessed extreme anger and/or violence at home, in your neighborhood or at school, distorting how you view or experience anger. It could also be hard for you to control your anger because you haven't yet learned how to deal with the emotions you feel inside. Whatever the reason, the next step is to work on ways of understanding what triggers your anger and how to manage your behavior even when the angry feeling is justified.

Why should I control my anger?

Even at a young age, having difficulty understanding and managing anger makes you more likely to have physical problems that can occur now or in the future. This happens because your mind and your body are connected. Not dealing with angry feelings can actually put stress on your body which can lead to medical problems such as:

Having problems managing your anger can also increase your risk for developing mental health concerns such as:

Teenagers who have trouble managing their anger often have fewer friends, more behavioral problems, and receive lower grades in school. This is often because teens that have difficulty with anger are often unhappy and feel isolated, even if they get a lot of attention for angry behaviors.

How can I tell if I'm getting too angry?

Your body has several ways of letting you know when you are getting too angry. Some common feelings may include:

Are there some situations that make you feel particularly angry?

Think about the last few times you became really angry. Do you know exactly what it was that made you angry? Was it justified or did you feel you had a right to be angry? How did you feel? By becoming more aware of what upsets you, and how you feel when you are angry, you can take control of it before it takes control of you. Keep in mind that your thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all connected. Your thoughts affect your feelings, which then affect your behaviors. Your behavior can also affect your thoughts, which can affect how you feel. Since they are all related, making one change—to thoughts, feeling or behaviors—will make a big difference.

What are some ways I can learn to control my temper?

The best way to control your temper depends on you. There is no quick fix. Every person needs to take time to think about what works for him or her.

Here are some helpful ideas:

You may feel anxious when you first try to take control of your temper. This is normal. Take time beforehand to plan ways to handle these feelings. The earlier you notice yourself becoming angry the more chance you have to stop your anger from getting out of control.

Is there anything I can do to relax when I'm feeling so angry?

Yes! Every one of us can find effective ways to calm down. Relaxation techniques work by helping calm us. When we are calm, our bodies relax, and physical problems brought on by anger such as a headache, usually disappear. Try the following techniques to help you relax, and check out our guide about stress and how to lower it for more suggestions.

What if my anger feels out of control?

Take quick action! If angry feelings begin to take control over you it's important to do something to keep yourself and others around you safe.

Here are some helpful tips:

What do I do with all the anger inside?

Find a safe way to express it. There are many safe ways to express your anger.

Here are a few ideas:

Controlling your temper is hard at first. When you slip up, give yourself a break but take responsibility for how you acted and how it affected other people. A useful way to do this is to apologize. “I'm sorry” is a powerful phrase that can help do damage control.

Written and reviewed by the CYWH Staff at Boston Children's Hospital

Updated: 5/24/2013

Related Guides:

Stress and How to Lower It
When you're stressed, you feel changes in your body and your mind. Your heart beats faster, your blood pressure goes up, and your face may get flushed. You might be irritable, and get into arguments with your family and friends...
Counseling and Therapy
Sometimes it can be hard to cope with all of the changes that happen during your teenage years. If you are having trouble dealing with certain situations or emotions, you might find counseling to be a helpful way of sorting things out...
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