Why Do I Get Mad So Easily Over Nothing: Causes And Coping Mechanisms

Medically reviewed by Aaron Dutil, LMHC, LPC
Updated April 16, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Anger is a normal, healthy emotion that may help you feel more motivated, safer, and creative. However, when anger is excessive, misplaced, or repressed, it may tend to cause tension in your life and impact your mental and physical health. 

If you find that you frequently ask yourself “Why do I get mad over little things?”, it may help to know how and why it’s arising. There are a few common causes of angry feelings that you might relate to. 

Potential positive aspects when you feel angry

When we feel angry over something, it can prompt us to care for our loved ones, commit charitable acts, seek justice, and better ourselves. It can both make us aware of areas in our lives that need attention and open a window to our passions. 

Anger often motivates us and helps us perform under pressure. It can also keep us safe when we’re presented with dangerous situations. When expressed in a healthy manner, anger may be a positive presence in relationships, careers, health, and other facets of your life.  

We don’t always know how to navigate emotions like anger

Why do I get so angry over small things?

Knowing how anger arises may provide insight into how to address it.

Anger as a secondary emotion 

Often, when you feel anger it is actually following another emotion, such as sadness, stress, or embarrassment. For example, you may be experiencing the anger stage of grief, or you could be feeling threatened related to work or being treated unfairly. We often repress emotions we’re uncomfortable experiencing and instead express them through angry behavior. 

While this can be normal, if you’re replacing other emotions with anger frequently, consider finding ways to process the original feelings. 

If you’re going through the stages of grief, for example, consider working with a grief professional in processing your emotions. If you’re experiencing stress at work, think about how you can lighten your load, get enough sleep, and improve your work-life balance. If you feel afraid of a new life experience or trauma, consider how you can work through it in a healthy manner.

If you are experiencing trauma, support is available. Please see our Get Help Now page for more resources.

Mental health conditions 

Additionally, anger issues can be a symptom of certain mental health conditions, including intermittent explosive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, bipolar disorder, and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. 

You may also experience irritability or frustration if you live with depression or anxiety. Learning more about your mindset by doing research or talking to a therapist might help you determine if a mental health condition is the root cause of your anger.

Relationship concerns 

There could also be issues in your relationships that create tension in your life. Conflict with a partner, child, relative, or co-worker could cause you to feel angry more often, especially if you fear you’re letting someone down or being mistreated. 

For example, your boss may withhold a promotion you feel you deserve, or your partner may be upset with you for something you don’t think was your fault. If this is the case, consider discussing your concerns with the other person. 

How to manage your feelings

Even when we understand the source of our emotions and how to address them, we can still get angry. The following anger management techniques may help prevent anger from negatively affecting your life. Studies show that effective anger management coping strategies can also aid with multiple health conditions and reduce chronic or physical pain that can make everyday send you over the edge. By using relaxation techniques to manage your short temper, you can help yourself feel better and prevent situations from escalating.


Research shows that mindfulness can be an effective method of coping with anger. Mindfulness is the practice of staying present and bringing awareness to your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. This practice helps you watch your anger arise and can provide a calming effect in addition to helping you identify anger as it arises. 

To practice mindfulness, focus your attention on the present moment while breathing deeply. Take note of the physical sensations you’re experiencing, the thoughts going through your head, your emotions, and your environment. Are you feeling happy, sad, or angry? As you become more mindful of your thoughts and emotions, you may quickly identify their source.


Breathing exercises and techniques

Often, when we experience anger or tension, our breathing becomes more rapid. This rapid breathing can compound, causing us to become more stressed as cortisol is released. To combat this, consider utilizing deep breathing exercises

One deep breathing technique is box breathing, during which you breathe in for a four-count, hold your breath for a four-count, breathe out for a four-count, and hold your breath again for a four-count. 

You can repeat this process as many times as you need. Deep breathing is often beneficial because it can be practiced wherever you are. 

Progressive muscle relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation and stretching help ease tension in the body, which could calm you down when you’re angry. During the process, you create tension in a muscle group or specific muscle, release that tension, then repeat the process in another area of your body. 

You may do this by working your way up from your toes or down from your head. For example, you can start by tensing the muscles in your forehead, then relaxing them. Repeat that process with the other muscles in your head and work your way down to your neck, shoulders, arms, etc.


Physical activity may relieve tension and boost your mood, which could help you reduce or avoid anger. Exercise has proven mental health benefits, which means it can be constructive if you experience anger related to stress, depression, or an anxiety disorder. 

Exercise can also help you express your anger and manage it as it arises. While you may not want to engage in strenuous exercise while you’re upset, going for a walk can help activate a natural response from your body and take your mind off the anger.


Writing can be a valuable outlet for expressing your emotions. Not only is it a healthy way to let your feelings out, but you may also discover specific triggers or sources of your anger. Studies show that expressive writing also improves mental health.

  • You can journal about things that went well that day
  • You can journal about moments of gratitude in the past week
  • You can journal to let go of things you feel like you "should" be doing that are causing stress
  • You can journal about anything that is too stressful in your current day-to-day

When you experience anger, consider writing down how you’re feeling, what led to those feelings, and how they manifested. The act of journaling can help you feel calmer in the moment and provide you with an instructive log of your emotions from the past.

Getty/Xavier Lorenzo
We don’t always know how to navigate emotions like anger

How therapy can help with anger effects and symptoms

Feeling angry may impact your physical well-being and mental health or self-esteem. If you’re ready to address anger and its underlying issues, consider contacting a qualified mental health professional. You might consider online counseling if you’re not ready to commit to therapy away from home. 

Online therapy

Research shows that online therapy can help decrease anger that is excessive or expressed in a potentially unhealthy way. Young people may also benefit from talking to a therapist to learn effective ways of expressing their feelings.

A study published in a peer-reviewed journal looked at the efficacy of online therapy when helping individuals control problematic angry behavior. Researchers found that treatment significantly reduced anger levels in participants after four weeks, indicating that short-term online therapy can produce benefits when it comes to anger management.

Many individuals struggle with anger management. If you’re ready to try reaching out for help, consider an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, which offers a vast network of licensed counselors. 


Feeling anger can be complex. However, it may be positive when expressed in a healthy manner. If you’re wondering “Why do I get so angry over little things?”, online therapy can be a great option to get the help you need. Once you recognize its source and take steps to reduce it, you may find that you aren’t experiencing anger as often. If you’d like help understanding and managing your emotions, consider reaching out to a licensed therapist. With the proper guidance, you may work through your anger and live a happy, healthy, and productive life.

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