how to control anger

Why It’s Difficult to Control Anger:

Anger is a natural emotion that everyone experiences. While often perceived negatively, it can be a constructive force, helping individuals express their concerns and drive change. However, when mismanaged, anger can escalate into violence and rage.

Anger is understood to be a secondary emotion. Secondary emotions are the emotions that get expressed and are often seen; but underneath the anger are a myriad of primary emotions that are uncomfortable to feel or express such as embarrassment, fear, and guilt (

The Gottman Institute suggests that anger protects underlying raw feelings from being felt or witnessed by others (Benson, 2024). The overt expression of anger, particularly in men who internalize emotions, is more socialized and in some ways expected over “weak” feelings like depression (Biglan et al., 2019; Weiss, 2019).

Different Types of Anger:

Aggressive Anger:

Directed outward to cause harm, including verbal aggression and physical assault.

Passive Anger:

Suppressed and internalized, leading to grudges, spiteful actions, and passive-aggressive behavior.

Assertive Anger:

Constructively communicated, focusing on feelings without threats, e.g., “I feel angry when you…”.


Why it’s important to control anger

Common Sources of Anger:

Triggering Events and Intrinsic Qualities:

Anger often stems from a combination of triggering events, personal traits, and cognitive appraisals. Common triggers include arguments or being cut off in traffic. Intrinsic qualities like perfectionism, low distress tolerance, and competitiveness also play a role.

Cognitive Appraisal:

How one interprets a situation significantly influences their anger response. Viewing a situation as unfair or blameworthy can amplify feelings of anger.

Personality Traits Linked to Anger:

Certain personality traits are closely associated with anger, such as entitlement, rigid thinking, low tolerance for ambiguity, and a tendency to blame external factors.

Sometimes, the cause of anger is not immediately apparent. This can be due to unresolved grief, complex trauma, family or cultural pressures, and other underlying issues.

Why It’s Important to Control Anger:

Physical Health:

Chronic anger can increase blood pressure and stress hormones like cortisol, raising the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and a weakened immune system.

Emotional Health and Relationships:

Persistent anger can lead to difficulties in concentrating, poor academic and career performance, relational conflicts, and increased risks of depression and anxiety.

control anger to improve relationships

How to Avoid Taking Anger Out on your Loved Ones:

  • Recognize warning signs: Identify when you’re starting to get angry and take a break to practice relaxation techniques.
  • Avoid dwelling on past grievances: Focus on what you appreciate about others and the positive aspects of your relationships.
  • Plan difficult conversations for more relaxed times
  • Notice negative thinking patterns: Avoid catastrophizing, black-and-white thinking, and mind-reading. Focus on logical and rational thinking.
  • Express preferences instead of demands: Use language that reflects preferences rather than absolute demands to facilitate compromise.

How to Control Anger: Practical Tips:

1. Improving Problem-Solving Skills: Enhancing your problem-solving abilities can help manage anger more effectively by addressing the root causes of frustration.

2. Stress Management: Learning to manage stress through techniques like deep breathing, grounding exercises, and mindful meditation can reduce anger triggers.

3. Assertive Communication: Practicing assertive communication allows you to express your feelings directly and constructively without escalating the situation.

4. Therapy and Training: Therapeutic approaches like anger management therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and family therapy can be highly effective in addressing anger issues. Therapy helps individuals identify negative thoughts, develop positive coping strategies, and address deep-rooted causes of anger.

5. Get Adequate Sleep: A good sleep schedule helps regulate emotions, making it less likely to feel provoked.

6. Challenge Negative Thoughts: Replace negative thoughts with alternative, evidence-based explanations.

7. Self-Regulation Techniques: Take deep breaths, practice grounding exercises, and use humor to release tension.

8. Environmental Adjustments: Change your setting, avoid anger triggers when possible, and plan difficult conversations for more relaxed times.

9. Exercise: Physical activity can reduce tension and provide a healthy outlet for anger.

Anger is a complex emotion that can significantly impact your life if not managed properly. By understanding its causes, impacts, and learning effective management strategies, you can harness anger constructively, improve your relationships, and enhance your overall well-being.
At PCI, we look at the root causes of anger to best identify and support your needs. There’s no shame in getting help with managing your anger – it will improve your mental, physical, and relationship help. Call us today.


1. American Psychological Association. (2023, November 3). Control anger before it controls you. American Psychological Association.

2. Benson, K. (2024, March 5). The anger iceberg. The Gottman Institute.

3. Biglan, A., Van Ryzin, M. J., Moore, K. J., Mauricci, M., & Mannan, I. (2019). The socialization of boys and men in the modern era: An evolutionary mismatch. Development and Psychopathology, 31(5), 1789–1799.

4. (n.d.). Anger: A Secondary Emotion. Managing Anger.,first%20before%20we%20get%20angry

5. Novaco, R., & DiGiuseppe, R. (2011). Strategies for controlling your anger: Keeping anger in check. American Psychological Association.

6. Novaco, R., & DiGiuseppe, R. (2019, December 30). Understanding anger: How psychologists help with Anger Problems. American Psychological Association.

7. Smith, M., Segal, J., & Sheldon Reid. (2024, May 14). Anger management: Help for anger issues.

8. Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). Anger. Psychology Today.

9. Telis, G. (2014, April 14). Unhappy Marriages Due to Low Blood Sugar?. Science.

10. Weiss, A. (2019, November 3). Men and anger. Psychology Today.