Learn To Release Feelings Of Anger

By: Stephanie Kirby

Updated October 25, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Avia James

Learn To Release Your Emotions 

We’ve all had weak moments in our lives when our emotions got the best of us. We reacted in ways we later regretted or found embarrassing. Maybe it was when someone was rude or when a situation didn’t go our way. Exhaustion or overstimulation caused us to act irrationally. Whatever the reason, we felt the fire in our bellies, tight jaws, and our fists clench. Our hearts raced, and our focus became solely on what upset us.

man looking stressed with woman in background

Anger Is Natural
A Licensed Therapist Can Help You Manage Yours!
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform. Source: rawpixel.com

Anger is a common emotion and can actually be healthy when it’s handled correctly. But sometimes it can feel so hard to keep rage under control. Learning how to manage your emotions appropriately can help you stabilize your moods, have healthy relationships, and improve your health.

Mayo Clinic says that anger is a natural response when faced with perceived threats - a survival instinct that activates the body’s fight or flight reaction. Muscles tighten, and the face and hands begin flushing. Often this rage inspires powerful, and sometimes aggressive, feelings and actions which defend ourselves when we feel attacked. Prioritize finding how to express your anger in healthy ways.

Strong emotions such as rage can be triggered by both internal and external factors. External triggers are a result of outside influences, such as a coworker spreading rumors about you or a person cutting you off in heavy traffic. Internal triggers involve brooding about personal issues or obsessing over negative experiences from the past. Learned behaviors, inherited tendencies, and brain chemistry may also play a role in the severity of the feelings.
Feeling rage easily can mean you have a low tolerance for frustration. You may feel like you shouldn’t be subjected to frustration, annoyance, or any inconvenience. This can cause a much harder time taking anger triggers in stride. But the good news is that you can absolutely learn how to cope with and calm rage. Research shows that therapy can help 75% of people that struggle with anger management problems.

What Causes This Rage?

Anger can be caused by several things. Genetics and physiological factors play a role in emotions, even at an early age. Some children are noted for being more irritable and easily upset. Learned social and cultural behaviors may also affect someone’s ability to handle strong feelings like anger. If someone is taught that expressing negative emotions is bad or rude, they may suppress their feelings or lash out when they can’t handle the anger any longer. Finally, family background can play a role. People who grow up in families that are chaotic, disruptive, or not skilled in expressing emotions often have a harder time managing anger.

Not only do people experience strong negative emotions for different reasons, but they also deal with anger in different ways. The Mayo Clinic talks about three typical categories in which people stay in control:

  • Expression: This is conveying the message of being mad. The expression could be reasonable, rational discussion, or lashing out in a violent outburst. The healthiest way of expressing anger is being assertive rather than aggressive.
  • Suppression: This involves holding in negative emotions like anger in hopes of converting them into more constructive behavior. Suppressing anger turns them inward which can affect your health and well-being.
  • Calming Down: By controlling your outward behavior and managing your internal responses, you could let the intense anger subside. This involves knowing yourself, how it affects you, and coping strategies that work for you.

The Negative Effects Of Suppressing Emotion

As discussed above, some people choose to suppress their anger in hope of the situation changing or simply going away. Suppressing your emotions and not having a way to express it can have significant impacts on your health, including heart disease, stroke, weakened immune system, and an increase in anxiety and depression.

Coping Strategies To Release Anger

Let Go Of Your Negative Emotions

Manage Your Emotions

You know that suppressed anger is a problem for your physical health, mental health, and relationships. What can you do about it? There are several techniques people use to express their emotions, discussed below. Remember, everyone handles moods differently, so try the following tools to determine which method works best for you when you’re feeling anger.

Get Physical Exercise
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Physical activity is a great way to express anger and put yourself in a better mood. The chemicals activated in the brain while doing the physical activity are natural mood stabilizers. Working out also lets you redirect the anger into a healthy activity. Though exercise may not solve the problems that caused your initial mood, it will neutralize the difficult emotions so you could think more clearly about solutions.

Physical activities are great, but you can choose any activity you truly enjoy. Doing things that fully absorb your attention will put the anger at bay and leave you feeling better.
Deep Breathing

When you’re feeling anger, your breathing may increase. You may find that you take short and shallow breathes. This can trigger other physical symptoms in your body which can lead to things like high blood pressure. Breathing exercises are an easy way to calm down from the body’s fight or heightened state of alertness. Taking a few deep breaths helps activate a calming reflex in the body. Practice the following techniques often so they will be easier to apply when anger strikes.

Focused Breathing

Practice taking slow, controlled breaths. Imagine the air going in through your nose all the way to your belly. Follow the breath as it leaves your body. Another great deep breathing exercise involves mentally counting. Inhale while counting to four, hold your breath for another count of four, then exhale counting to four again. Count to four as your rest, then repeat as necessary.

While you’re deep breathing, it may be helpful to imagine a relaxing experience or a pleasant memory. Try to picture it with all of your senses. For instance, if you imagine yourself on a beach, mentally hear the waves, feel the sun on your cheeks, smell the ocean air, etc.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercises

When you feel rage, you may notice that the muscles seem to tense up throughout your body. One way to express rage is to address this tension. Slowly tense and relax each muscle group one at a time. This will help your body feel more relaxed from anger’s muscle tightening response.

In addition to these techniques, guided meditations can help calm rage or other emotions. Several websites offer guided meditations for calming the nerves. You could even install a meditation app on your smartphone to use whenever you’re mad.

Write It Out

Sometimes writing thoughts and emotions on paper helps get them out of your head and puts them in perspective. Consider journaling, creating poetry, or writing a letter or email to someone who wronged you (that you may or may not send). Writing helps organize your thoughts and may provide insights into the situation. When you write, don’t just focus on the adverse aspect of the event or situation, try to brainstorm solutions or how to handle things differently in the future. You can write until your feelings of rage are expressed.

You may even want to keep a notepad with you at all times so the next time you feel anger, you can start writing right away.

Let Go of the Situation, Feeling, Memory, or Person (Even Family Members)

Sometimes it’s simply best to walk away from the source. It could be permanent or temporary, but either way, it can be helpful to take a break from the triggers consistently causing rage. If you must end a relationship or find a different job, do it. Change is not always easy, but it is necessary if the situation is causing you difficult emotions.

Change the Way You Form Your Thoughts
When you feel rage, “black-and-white thinking” is easy, and perceiving things are much worse than they are. Cognitive restructuring can help you replace negative thoughts with more rational ones. Some tips for  changing your thinking :
  • Avoid words like “always” or “never” when thinking or talking about the person or situation making you mad. These absolute words justify your rage and alienate others helping you find a solution.
  • Understand rage has a way of quickly making thoughts irrational. By taking a few of the breaths above then trying to determine if your thoughts are irrational, such as “everyone should like me,” or “the world is out to get me.” Replace the irrational with more logical, constructive thoughts.
  • Translate expectations into desires. Demanding fairness, appreciation, etc. when feeling mad is easy. That doesn’t always sit well with others. Don’t believe you deserve everything. Request your desires. It may not always work, but this type of assertive communication will help get your point across in a much more amicable manner.
daughters kissing their father's cheek on couch
Anger Is Natural
A Licensed Therapist Can Help You Manage Yours!
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Develop Your Support Network

(Friends, Family, Therapists, Workout Buddies, Parents, etc.)
If you struggle with rage, finding an appropriate support network could be the difference between lashing out at the world and constructively releasing rage. Ask a family member, close friend, or partner that has an empathetic, rational approach if they’ll let you vent your emotions.
Of course, not everyone in your social circle will offer proper support. Some people could enable or validate your thoughts, making the emotion more intense. Find someone who doesn’t take sides, has a calmer demeanor, and has a proven history of talking you out of irrationality.

Seek Mental Health Treatment

Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of a supportive friend or loved one. Many people struggling with intense rage turn to therapists, who are trained to provide insights into thought processes, management, and changes they could make to constructively and assertively deal with rage.

A therapist can work with you to help you determine where your rage is coming from and how to treat it. It’s not just that you’re a mad person and they can help you discover how come you feel such angriness. They can also help you learn how to express your rage so you can overcome the mental and physical symptoms that you experience as a result of it. Then, the next time you’re feeling angry, you’ll have an idea of what you can do to express this rage and move forward healthily.

If a traditional therapy setting is not right for you, BetterHelp offers affordable, online therapy sessions. They can help with a variety of other mental health concerns from the comfort of your own home. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.

Real BetterHelp Therapist Reviews

“Josh has been really helpful to me and helping me find ways to control my anger. I am more positive now and it’s all thanks to Josh for helping me get strategies.”

Therapy for calm emotions in a constructive way. - BetterHelp therapist Joshua Plantz
“Krysten has been an immense help in dealing with and confronting my anger and depression issues. I started to notice immediate changes in my general disposition within a week of working with her. My friends and family have even said I seem less bitter and jaded. And the fact that I can communicate with her frequently has done wonders in keeping me on track and progressing forward. My time working with Krysten and being on BetterHelp has been a positive experience and done much more for me than traditional in-office therapy ever did.”

Conclusion: Take Control Of Your Mental Health With Therapy

While angriness is a normal emotion, it can be difficult to manage. If you’re struggling with anger management, the tips in this article can help you make the positive changes that you need in life. A counselor can help you stay on track, while you move at a pace that’s comfortable for you.

Take the first step in fostering healthy and fulfilling connections.

Therapy Is Personal

Therapy is a personal experience, and not everyone will go into it seeking the same things. Keeping these things in mind can ensure that you will get the most out of online therapy, regardless of what your specific goals are. If you’re still wondering if therapy is right for you, and how much therapy costs, please contact us at contact@BetterHelp.com.

BetterHelp specializes in online therapy to help address all types of mental health concerns. If you’re interested in individual therapy, please reach out to contact@BetterHelp.com

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