Advice: Anger Management

 I feel angry really easily. Even if its only something really small that happens I just feel so mad inside..I just can’t help it. It’s not like I’m aggressive or lash out or anything, but I know I’m totally over reacting emotionally. I feel like I’m losing the plot, but I find it so hard to calm down. How can I take a chill pill?

Eva, 16, NT


anger Amy McTigueOur psychologist says: If you’re looking for ways to manage your feelings of anger, there are two areas to work on: reducing your levels of general stress and using techniques to keep your cool in anger- provoking situations. Day to day, the more stressed out you are, the more likely you are to snap inside when little things go wrong. Make an effort to set aside time for relaxation and “letting off steam” every day. Find activities which suit you. For many people activities such as yoga, meditation, drawing, reading, playing music or getting outside in nature can be calming and help with winding down. Mindfulness exercises can be a really effective way to take the edge off (smilingmind has free resources which can teach you these). If you’re someone who feels tension very physically, exercise is a great way to ‘burn off’  pent up energy and release ‘feel good’ chemicals in the body. Going for a hard run, dancing, taking a boxing class or playing sport are all good options. Next, throughout the day whenever you notice yourself tensing up, take some slow, deep breaths and tell yourself  “it’s OK…just relax”. If something happens to trigger your anger, practise slowly counting to 10 in your head. Take a few deep breaths and then ask yourself: “Is this really that bad”?, “what can I do to improve this situation?”. If possible, taking some ‘time out’ from whatever is frustrating you (eg. leaving the room, going for a walk outside) can give you an opportunity to settle yourself, clear your head and regroup. Tune into your ‘self-talk’ too. Usually with anger, the kinds of thoughts we have relate to frustration (“I can’t stand this!!!!”) and fairness (“they shouldn’t be like this, how dare they!!!”). Challenge yourself to look at situations in a more balanced way: “Yes this is annoying, but I can cope with it”; “No this isn’t fair, but sometimes life isn’t fair. What’s the most  helpful way for me to deal with this?”.  Check out the resources at reachout for some more ideas. If anger continues to create difficulties for you, talking things through with your school counsellor, a psychologist or a phone counsellor at kidshelpline can also help.

(image credit: Amy McTigue)

Over to you:

Our psychologist has shared some of her ideas, but what do you think?

Have you got any suggestions for ‘Eva, 16’ that might help take the edge off her frustration and anger? What works for you?


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