Six Techniques For Healthily Managing Your Anger

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

Anger is a common and healthy emotion that anyone can experience, and there are times when it is normal to feel anger. However, pervasive patterns of anger can take a toll on your mental and physical health. 

When you’re angry and coping with unhealthy forms of anger-motivated behavior, it can be valuable to have stress-reduction and relaxation techniques to use to manage them.

This article explores what anger is, techniques that may help you control anger before it controls you, and mental health options like talk therapy that can help you learn more about anger management. 

Learn five ways to manage anger more skilfully

What is anger? 

Anger is a natural emotion that almost everyone feels on occasion. Emotions serve to indicate to your body and mind that stimuli have changed your mental state. Anger often communicates that a situation is dangerous, untrustworthy, or unhealthy and can sometimes signal a hindrance or threat. However, some people may experience anger without an apparent cause or in response to stimuli that don’t fit the severity of the emotion. To understand and mitigate anger, it can be beneficial to look into yourself to find the underlying primary emotions or events inciting it. 

For example, stress about work, relationships, or driving are common causes of anger. Even if you don’t understand the cause, talking to a professional specializing in anger can be beneficial. Some people take anger management classes to understand their anger and socialize with others with similar challenges. 

An anger expert may also help you form healthier responses to anger. Anger itself is not unhealthy, but the actions people choose to take that are motivated by anger can be. Learning to manage behaviors motivated by anger can mean separating them from the emotion and understanding that they are a choice. 

Signs of anger

There are several warning signs associated with anger. If you find yourself experiencing multiple symptoms, consider taking a step back from the situation. Below are a few of the most common: 

  • An increased heart rate

  • A clenched jaw

  • An increased body temperature

  • Urges to harm yourself or others physically

  • Urges to yell 

  • A desire to escape 

  • Resentment

  • Cravings for substance use 

  • Raising vocal volume 

  • A loss of humor

  • Increased blood pressure

Anger is not necessarily unhealthy. Recognizing the signs of anger may help you identify when it would be beneficial to manage or remove yourself from a situation altogether. When you feel tension rising, try to tell yourself that you can control your anger-related thoughts and the behaviors you have in response.

If you are struggling with substance use, contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 to receive support and resources. Support is available 24/7.

Six ways to healthily cope with anger

There are a multitude of ways to manage anger skillfully. Some methods may work better for some people than for others. Nevertheless, having several ways to cope with anger may help you stay calm and manage your emotions healthily.

Take a break 

Anger can be an intense emotion. When someone feels angry, their base reaction may involve trying to find a release, whether that involves screaming at the source of their anger, throwing an object at a wall, or acting violently. These choices are destructive and can make a stressful situation worse. 

Pausing or taking a break when anger arises may help you feel better positioned to react. After taking a break, you may find that you can assess the situation with more logic. A logical mindset can help you determine the wisest, most practical next step. Pausing can also prevent you from acting in a way that could damage a relationship or cause legal trouble. 

While taking a break, take deep breaths. If you continue to have an anger urge, act opposite to the urge until it subsides. Some people might send a message or say something they believe is warranted when angry but regret it when their anger subsides. Ask yourself how you would react if you weren’t angry, and act that way until you can make a logical choice. 

Walk away

Walking away can be another constructive way of coping with anger. Walking away can prevent you from feeling angrier about the situation, as further stimuli may occur if you’re still in the area. It can also stop you from acting in ways you might regret and save you from being hurt by other individuals who are angry. If you’re in a social situation, you can say, “I need a moment by myself.” Setting this boundary allows others to give you space as you “cool off.” 


Exercise and phsyical activity is a constructive and healthy way of coping with anger. Stretching, lifting weights, exercising on the treadmill, or walking can produce endorphins that offer a mood boost. Taking your frustration out on a boxing bag or some weights instead of a person can save you from making choices that hurt you in the long run. However, avoid aggressive exercises like boxing, wrestling, or punching a bag, as these activities can increase anger. 

Count to ten 

Counting to ten as a means of coping with anger may sound juvenile to some people, but it can be a healthy, helpful method for managing anger. Counting to ten offers you time to think before you respond and may prevent you from behaving in a way you might regret. By directing your attention to the counting, you may allow your rational mind time to kick in instead of following the immediate, destructive instinct of lashing out.

If counting to ten isn’t helping quell aggressive behavior and thoughts as much as you’d like, consider trying progressive muscle relaxation. According to, progressive muscle relaxation is a “technique in which the individual is trained to relax the entire body by becoming aware of tensions in various muscle groups and then relaxing one muscle group at a time. In some cases, the individual consciously tenses specific muscles or muscle groups and then releases tension to achieve relaxation throughout the body.”

You might benefit from looking for videos online that guide you through progressive muscle relaxation mediations to learn this method so you can use it later. Alternatively, try finding a therapist who is willing to teach you these methods. 

Make a lifestyle change

A lifestyle change may be beneficial if you are constantly around people or in environments that incite anger. Some people find that lifestyle changes mean the end of an unhealthy relationship, finding a new place to work, or removing themselves from an unhealthy dynamic. Ongoing anger can become chronic, which can negatively affect your mental, emotional, and physical health.

Learn five ways to manage anger more skilfully

Learn five ways to manage anger more skilfully

Talk to an online therapist

Connect with a therapist 

If you struggle to cope with anger after trying several coping mechanisms daily, you might also benefit from talking to a professional. It is brave to reach out for support, and many therapists specialize in anger management techniques that have been proven to work. 

If you feel ashamed about visiting a therapist face-to-face about your anger, you can also consider an online therapy platform like BetterHelp. Online therapy has been proven as effective as in-person therapy. In addition, studies have shown that it is associated with significant decreases in anger and aggression. 

With an online platform, you can talk to a therapist online and choose between phone, video, or live chat sessions. You can message your therapist in between sessions via live chat and receive resources like journaling prompts, webinars, and worksheets to cope with your anger outside of sessions. 


If you have questions about anger or mental health, you don’t have to navigate this process alone. Talking to a therapist or signing up for a professional anger management course can be beneficial. A professional can help you identify inciting factors for your anger and lead you through healthier coping strategies for your future.
Learn to separate anger from behavior
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