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Healthy Minds Healthy College

We all feel angry sometimes, it’s about how we manage it

October 30, 2014


Anger is a normal reaction to situations that we feel are frustrating, overwhelming or out of our control. All the stresses associated with school can certainly lead us to feel this way.

For some people, anger is triggered more easily and felt more intensely. If you think you might be one of those people, you may want to talk to someone like a counsellor about how to manage your emotions. You may also want to talk to someone if:

  • when feeling angry you also feel overwhelmed and out of control
  • the intensity of the anger you feel doesn’t always fit the situation
  • anger feels like your primary emotion
  • your relationships are suffering as a result of your anger
  • anger is causing you to act out violently

Recognizing that your anger might be a problem is the first step in learning how to manage it. If you don’t want to talk to someone about your anger, there are strategies you can try on your own to help calm and mitigate your anger.

Breathe: breathing will help with the physiological symptoms associated with anger. It will slow your heart rate and help relax your body. Try breathing from your belly instead of your chest. If you put your arms over your stomach you should be able to feel it moving in and out as you take a few deep breaths.

Counting to 10 or 100: counting can allow you some time to de-escalate. Try counting until you feel your anger as become less intense.

Time out: If you can, take a break from the situation that is triggering your anger. It’s OK to excuse yourself from class and go outside and get a breath of fresh air if this will help you calm down.

Self-talk: pay attention to what you are saying in your head. Are you focusing on things that are making you more angry? Try repeating phrases like “relax”, “take it easy”, “calm down” and “I’m over it.”

Distract: think of a person, place, thing or activity that brings you a sense of calm or enjoyment. The more you practice this the easier it gets.

Click here for some more tips on controlling anger.