14 Anger Management Techniques To Promote Calm

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated June 11, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Anger is a natural, healthy emotion and can be a healthy response to some situations. Almost everyone experiences angry feelings sometimes, and it’s often healthy to express your anger in certain situations. However, it can be the behaviors motivated by anger that may be unhealthy or unhelpful. If your anger feels uncontrollable or you often act out when angry, you may benefit from adopting research-based anger management techniques

These techniques may benefit those who feel angry easily or whose anger grows disproportionately more prominent than the situation causing it. Some anger management techniques may be possible to complete on the go or in the moment to calm yourself immediately before acting. Others might help you prevent your anger from occurring. Although these techniques do not replace professional help, a professional may help you implement them.

Anger doesn’t have to be destructive

About managing anger 

You might have heard the phrase “control your anger before it controls you.” This phrase refers to the conscious act of acknowledging angry feelings and learning to control anger before results in actions you might regret (e.g., verbally or physically aggressive behavior). 

It’s easy to shy away from topics like anger control because it might feel better to assume you don’t need to, but learning to manage your anger can be crucial for maintaining good mental health for anyone. Unchecked anger can lead to aggressive behavior and even physical symptoms like high blood pressure.

According to the American Psychological Association, stress management techniques like deep breathing and mindfulness can be helpful when you recognize the warning signs that you’re feeling angry.

14 anger management techniques for inner peace

Learning anger management techniques can be beneficial for your mental health, phsyical health, daily life, and social connections. Below are 14 anger management techniques inspired by professional therapeutic techniques you might encounter with a provider or through an anger management class. To understand these tips in further detail or gain a personalized variation, reach out to a mental health professional for further support. 

Practice deep breathing

Deep breathing has been associated with stress reduction. Anger can often be related to stress, so breathing exercises are one way to tackle two symptoms simultaneously. 

Box breathing is a common and effective deep breathing exercise. It involves breathing in slowly as profoundly as you can to the count of four, holding for a count of four, breathing out slowly to the count of four, and holding once more for a count of four. This breathing exercise can be repeated as often as you need, and you might be able to find an app that guides you with imagery and calming sounds as you breathe. 

Using a calming word or phrase, such as "relax" or "take it easy," as you exhale during deep breathing practices may help you feather relax by serving as a mental cue. Eventually, you may be able to repeat this word or phrase during moments of stress to quickly find a sense of calm and reduce anxiety.

Visualize a calming environment

If you can separate yourself from the source of your anger for a few minutes, visualization might help you take a moment to focus on your emotional goals. In this process, try not to visualize yourself harming others. Instead, visualize other representations of your anger.

For example, you could visualize a tornado ripping through a field, tearing up trees, and stirring up dust. Visualizing this imaginary destruction might offer a mental image of the emotions you're experiencing. After a few minutes, imagine the tornado dissipating with your anger. In its place, consider a rainbow, a soft mist, and a shining green field. 

If you aren't sure how to engage in visualization in a way that helps you, you may try a guided meditation online. Many guided meditations are free and might be oriented toward a specific type of anger or symptom to help you calm down. 

Write in a journal

Journaling may help you notice patterns in your thinking, which can be advantageous in the long term by pointing out areas of growth you might not initially notice. When angry, remove yourself from the situation, sit down, and write out your thoughts and feelings. Some people find it therapeutic to journal with paper and pen to slow themselves down. Others might use a phone or computer to get their thoughts out quickly and conveniently. 

Find a physical release of anger

In some cases, you might feel that your anger is so intense that it causes physical sensations like burning skin, clenching muscles, or nausea. You may notice a spike in adrenaline or physical energy. 

Physical release through running, going to the gym, or using an exercise machine may help you release this energy positively. Studies show that physical activity is highly supportive of anger management. However, note that some physical activity, like punching a pillow or a punching bag, may increase anger.

Vent to someone you trust

Social connections have benefits for mental and physical health. Emotional repression is correlated with negative health impacts and can worsen anger, so you might try reaching out to someone you love to vent or socialize with. Venting to someone, whether they're a hotline volunteer, therapist, or a friend, might offer validation and a sense of camaraderie. 

If you want to vent but aren't seeking advice, let the individual know beforehand. In addition, ask for emotional consent before unloading your thoughts on another person. A friend might not be in the headspace to hear about emotional topics in some circumstances. 

Take a break

When you feel angry or irritated, take a break. Go to the bathroom and close the door or go to your car and sit for a few minutes. If you're at work, consider focusing on the task at hand and taking a break as soon as you can get a few minutes away from your job. 

While on your break, focus on your breathing and calm your thoughts. You can use visualization techniques to imagine yourself in a relaxing place, like a clearing in the woods or your favorite place to go camping. Try to find imaginary stimuli in your visualization that engage the senses. For example, if you're visualizing a forest, you might imagine what smells you can notice and what sounds you hear. 

Consider the underlying cause of your anger

Anger is sometimes a secondary emotion caused by an underlying need. Difficulty with anger management can sometimes pair with difficulty identifying emotional, psychological, social, or physical needs. Take a break to ask yourself what you need and how you can accomplish that need. You can also consider whether your anger resulted from sadness, fear, guilt, disgust, or another emotion. Targeting the initial emotion may be more effective than targeting the anger if this is the case. 

Try cognitive restructuring

Cognitive restructuring is a coping skill from cognitive-behavioral therapy that has been proven effective in helping individuals cope with anger. Restructuring your thoughts can involve acknowledging those that may be maladaptive and taking a moment to reframe them.

How you talk to yourself may impact you the same way you talk to others could impact them. When you tell yourself statements like, "Everything is ruined," you might increase a painful emotion. To change the thought to a more productive but still validating option, you might tell yourself, "This situation is upsetting, and it's understandable to be angry. However, I'm ready to find solutions." 

Cognitive restructuring may be difficult to establish as a skill on your own. Consider contacting a cognitive-behavioral therapist if you'd like to further explore how this skill might support you.  

Consider problem-solving

Some people feel angry when they feel out of control of a situation. If you can pinpoint a problem that caused you to feel angry, try to change your focus to a problem-solving lens. You can use the energy of your anger to consider what might put an end to the situation or make it less impactful. 

Look at parts of the situation that are in your power instead of those that aren't. For example, if you're angry with your coworkers for removing your files by accident, remind yourself that mistakes can occur and that you have the option to back up files in the future to a personal USB stick or separate locked folder. You can also work on forgiveness and cope with the frustration of re-doing your work by using it as an opportunity to grow and learn more than you might have the first time. 

Practice radical acceptance

If you're angry about a situation that is out of your control, you might benefit from a dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skill called radical acceptance. Follow the below steps: 

  1. Observe how you might be questioning or fighting your reality.

  2. Remind yourself that your reality cannot be changed in this situation.

  3. Try to note any causes for the reality. Acknowledge how many people do not have control over life's challenges, but you can control how you proceed.

  4. Practice acceptance with your mind, body, and spirit. Use positive self-talk to tell yourself you are willing to accept this situation, even if it is difficult.

  5. List all the behaviors you'd partake in if you already accepted this situation. Then act this way until you find it aligns with your reality.

  6. Cope ahead by thinking of ways to accept the situation if it worsens.

  7. Attend to your body sensations using mindfulness or meditation to connect with yourself.

  8. Allow disappointment, sadness, grief, or anger to arise if they do. Note them and do not act on them. Give them the space to exist.

  9. Acknowledge that life can be worth living, even when there is anger. 

  10. Create a pros and cons list if you are resisting acceptance further.

Use humor

Humor is one way to diffuse anger in some scenarios. When you can find the humor in a situation and laugh about it, you might start to feel better. Laughing is known to relieve stress, which can correlate with anger. When you feel angry, your body may get tense. Laughter can cause a sensation of lightness or detachment from unwanted thoughts.  

Change your environment

In the immediate moment of getting angry, consider stepping away to change your environment. Going outside, for example, may help you find emotional and physical relief. If it's possible to change your environment, you might pair this activity with mindfulness by finding five objects in your new environment that you might not have noticed if you were passing by. 

Establish readiness for anger management

One study suggests that if someone is not ready for anger management, they might struggle to find use from therapy. For this reason, working toward a state of readiness and willingness may be advantageous. One of the first steps can be accepting that your anger is an area you'd like to work on. Anger management concerns can be common, and you're not alone. 

Anger doesn’t have to be destructive

Try counseling 

Some people may find it challenging to apply anger management tools independently. If you relate, reaching out for professional support might be beneficial. Many licensed mental health professionals are qualified to help individuals develop coping mechanisms for behaviors motivated by complex emotional responses.  

However, some people with anger challenges might hesitate to contact a therapist in person. They may feel shame about their situation or fear having an emotional outburst in front of others. An online therapeutic setting may offer a more comfortable alternative in these cases. With online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp, clients can choose between phone, video, or chat sessions depending on their needs. In addition, they can get resources like worksheets or an online journal. 

You may worry that online therapy won't alleviate your anger effectively. However, current research suggests otherwise. A recent study confirmed that online anger management interventions could relieve anger alongside co-occurrent concerns like depression. If you're stressed about money, online therapy can also be more cost-effective.


If managing anger complicates your life, you don't have to address the problem alone. A therapist may help you evaluate anger-related behaviors, give you tools to change your thinking, and help you work through personalized coping strategies. Consider contacting a professional to get started and find further compassionate guidance.
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