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20 Things to Do When You Feel Extremely Angry

20 Things to Do When You Feel Extremely Angry

When you feel extremely angry, wouldn’t it be amazing to throw a juvenile temper tantrum without someone having you committed?

I admit, when I see a kid losing his marbles in the cereal aisle, I don’t cringe. I envy.

At a certain age you start holding back on the immediacy of your emotions, and who can blame you? These days, being too happy is considered naïve, being too sad is an automatic clinical diagnosis, and being too angry is a complete waste of energy.

You’ve heard it all. Suck it up. Let it go. Move on.

Anger isn’t worth it. Right?

Wrong.

Anger is the most important emotion you have. When you’re angry, it’s a red flag that something needs to change, and when you’re extremely angry, something needs to change right now.

There are two ways you can deal with anger depending on the situation at hand: as it happens, or as a building block toward bigger life changes.

In the moment, decide which fork in the road you should take, then use one or more of the options below:

When You Feel Extremely Angry…

1. Let it Happen

You’ve been given a wide spectrum of emotions for a reason, so use them. Suppressing your anger is unhealthy. It can lead to ulcers and heart disease, never mind the damage it can do to your relationships and overall sense of well-being.

When I feel extremely angry and find myself holding back, I just think of Meg Ryan in French Kiss:

A healthy person is someone who expresses their feelings… Express, not repress… You know what happens to people who shut everybody out? They fester. Inside. Fester and rot.

This might seem strange, but try it! The next time you’re not expressing yourself, just picture a little Meg Ryan on your shoulder: “Fester fester fester, rot rot rot.”

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If you attempt to hide or ignore your anger, it won’t go away. It might subside for a certain amount of time, but eventually it will manifest itself elsewhere.

Don’t apologize for or excuse your anger. You’re angry for a valid reason, and acknowledging it is the first step toward resolving what’s bothering you.

2. Separate Emotion from Action

You’ll likely want to pull a Godzilla and destroy everything in your path, but it’s important to take a step back and feel the emotion before you take action on it, especially when you feel extremely angry—let the anger take its course. Prematurely deciding to take action may cause more angst than waiting to give perspective to your anger.

After you’ve cooled off, you might find:

  • the situation wasn’t as big a deal as you thought.
  • in the long run it will lead to better things for you.
  • it will take more than an outburst to solve the issue.

Or, you might find your anger was triggered by something completely different.

3. Identify Why

Extreme anger typically stems from a build-up of smaller annoyances. It’s like lighting a match: a person or situation rubs you the wrong way and your suppressed emotions flood to the surface. What’s awkward about this level of anger is when it strikes: it tends to hit at inconvenient times, such as while you’re at work or out with loved ones.

The problem isn’t the delay in dealing with your anger, it’s when the delay turns into avoiding it altogether. Either the initial rage subsides and you try to shrug it off, or you’re so consumed by your schedule that you simply add it to the pile of unresolved issues.

The next time you feel extremely angry, don’t just promise yourself you’re going to deal with it at a more appropriate time—pencil in alone time. Make it happen.

4. Cool Off with Exercise

A great outlet to reduce tension is physical activity: use your anger as fuel for a healthier lifestyle.

Test various workouts and figure out which are most effective at calming your anger. Some people prefer aggressive exercise, such as kickboxing or running, while others find quieter activities more beneficial, such as walking, gardening, or (gasp!) cleaning.

5. Delay Your Reaction

If you’re in a situation where dealing with your anger immediately isn’t an option, inhale deeply. As you exhale, count to ten or repeat a phrase that helps you relax. Keep doing so until you feel centered again.

6. Distract Yourself

If you turn your attention elsewhere, it will help you focus on the present moment and prioritize your emotions.

Think of a pleasant memory, read a book, find your happy place (or borrow Happy Gilmore if you have to).

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7. Do Your Homework

If you feel extremely angry because of something that’s out of your control, like losing a promotion to someone else, do your homework before reacting. Look beyond what’s happened and find out why it has. Look past someone’s actions and look at their intentions: most of the time, they haven’t intended to hurt you.

There are always underlying circumstances—a cause and effect—and it’s crucial to look at a situation from every angle so all perspectives are taken into account. Nothing diffuses anger like logic.

If afterward you’re still angry, find out how others have moved on from similar situations; be the one to come out a better person.

8. Don’t Play the Victim

The worst thing you can do is blame the entire universe for your problems.

Yes, this person did you wrong, and sure, that situation could have worked out better, but you have a mind of your own: your life isn’t happening to you, so why are you acting like it is?

Until you take responsibility for your part in what’s happened—how your reaction to this person and that situation lead you to where you are today—you’ll just keep making the same mistakes and fanning the fire instead of putting it out.

Don’t ask, “Why me?” Ask, “What now?”

9. Find a Safe Haven

We all have our “spot”: a primary place we go to think or relax. This can be a room in your home that’s just for you or a piece of the forest you’ve claimed as your own. It doesn’t matter where this spot is, as long as going there makes you feel calm and helps you re-energize.

When you feel extremely angry, you’re physically and emotionally overstimulated—the demands on your time are inevitably getting to you. If the situation allows you to leave and take a time-out, do so and immediately visit your spot.

Sometimes all you need is a change in environment (and pace) to calm yourself down and gain perspective. During these quiet moments, see if you can think of ways to cut down or cut out the triggers that are making you angry.

10. Look Before You Leap

If there’s a chance someone has betrayed you, your first instinct will likely be to confront and lash out at them.

While I’m a believer in always following your instincts, in this instance I encourage you to step back before confronting them and evaluate the situation: did you hear this through the grapevine? Does it seem plausible or out of character for them? What will you say when you confront them? What do you want to know?

Line your cards up and give them a chance; you don’t want to automatically assume the worst.

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If it’s someone you’ve had problems with in the past, do your best to be specific about your anger. Focus on the situation at hand.

If you batch together all the anger you’ve ever felt toward them, this will obviously lead to more anger, and a much larger argument than necessary.

11. Discuss Your Anger with Someone Trustworthy

When you’re having a frustrating day or going through something that’s causing ongoing stress in your life, find someone trustworthy to talk to. This can be a family member, a close friend, or someone you work with. Even if they don’t offer specific advice, the simple act of sharing what’s bothering you might help you find a solution.

There have been many occasions where I went into a conversation asking a question, and found the answer during my stream of consciousness rant.

12. Listen to Music

Music is one of the best things to have in your dealing-with-anger arsenal for several reasons:

  • Listening to aggressive music that matches your mood allows you to work through the emotion productively.
  • Listening to slower music (such as acoustic) allows you to slow your thought process and calm down.
  • Listening to specific songs with lyrics that relate to what you’re going through help you put your own experiences into perspective.
  • Turning up the volume allows you to drown out your thought process when “the little things” are irritating and distracting you.

Decide whether you’re going to use music to work through or distract from your anger, and hit play.

13. Write an E-mail

After you’ve argued with someone, are wronged by them, or your anger toward them is lingering longer than it should be, create your own closure by writing them an e-mail.

Write out your fury in stream of consciousness format, then continue to revise the e-mail as you think of new things you would’ve liked to say at the time.

Get everything out of your system about the issue on your own time, as the words come to you. Once you have nothing more to say and you’ve perfected the e-mail… delete it.

Use erasing the e-mail as a symbolic gesture toward letting go of what’s bothering you. Trust me, you’ll feel a lot lighter afterward.

14. Make a List

Make a list of all the things, people, and situations that make you angry. Be as specific and detailed as possible, and then rate each item from 1 – 5, with 1 equaling Annoyed and 5 Infuriated. Next, determine whether you can cut back on it in your life or cut it out entirely.

With the items that have to stay, plan ways to reframe how you feel about them so they don’t send you off the deep end. Do everything you can to phase out what infuriates you, no matter how long it takes—nothing is worth jeopardizing your heart health.

15. Disconnect from Your Triggers

There are always little things that set us off, no matter how trivial.

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Me? Shopping on weekends turns me into a total nutcase. (I won’t even get into the story about the guy who held everyone up trying to return a microwave he apparently hadn’t used, despite the fact that there was food stuck in it!) Not only do I not shop on weekends, I never shop during peak hours: this allows me to fully enjoy my shopping experience.

Be mindful of your triggers. It doesn’t matter why something makes you tick, just recognize that it does and do what’s necessary to work around it—for yourself, and for those who cross your path.

16. Redecorate

Your home should always be a place that relaxes you. If your home feels less homey and more mental institution-y, take the time to turn it into an oasis.

Declutter, use stress-reducing colors, and why not try feng shui—it couldn’t hurt, right?

17. Watch a Funny Movie/Show

When you’ve tried everything and still can’t shake your anger, why not laugh it off? (Literally.)

Laughter soothes tension, encourages muscle relaxation, and lightens your mental load. While there’s a lot of controversy surrounding the studies on how laughter improves your health, who cares? Laughing doesn’t suck. Anger does. Period.

18. Put Yourself First

Many of us don’t put our health first, even though it’s on our minds constantly.

But if you become more mindful about doing so—cutting back on things like caffeine and nicotine, getting more sleep, exercising regularly, and decreasing stress—guaranteed your emotional fuse wouldn’t be tested as often.

19. Do Something Relaxing

What activities do you enjoy most? Which ones put you completely at ease? Are there activities that you love but never make time for?

Reconnect with the things you love to do. Doing what you enjoy will make you feel more fulfilled, and feeling fulfilled will automatically lessen your desire to feel angry.

20. Use Anger to Fuel Change

I love anger because I’ve mastered how to use it, and you can too.

There was a time when my life turned out exactly how I swore it never would, and I was so exhausted from the simple act of surviving I had no idea how to make the necessary changes.

Then something happened, something small that was as insignificant as burning your toast in the morning, and that was it. I was done. I had a Scarlett O’Hara moment and refused to live one more day with things the way they were. That anger propelled me to where I am now: building the writing career I’ve always wanted, surrounded by everything and everyone I care about. It gave me the adrenaline rush necessary to see things through.

But maybe you’re not burnt out like I was. Maybe it’s fear holding you back: A fear of failure. A fear of success. A fear of disappointing others. Whatever your fear, anger trumps fear in the rock-paper-scissors of life. It will productively push you to where you want to be, but you have to let it.

Own your anger. Don’t let it own you.

Editors’ Picks on Anger Management

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Krissy Brady

A women's health & wellness writer with a short-term goal to leave women feeling a little more empowered and a little less verklempt.

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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