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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.

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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 August 10, 2020

10 Principles for Success to Live Your Dream Life

10 Principles for Success to Live Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

If you’re ready to do what you want in life, then the 10 principles of success are what you need to follow.

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

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5. Embrace Your Inner Self

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward. Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

Here’s How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

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What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

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You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

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