How to Deal with Anger

Too much anger damages relationships and can make us ill.

Learning to deal with anger - our own and other people's - is an important skill.

Inside Out Anger Emotion with fire coming out of head

What is anger?

Anger is our natural response to situations that go against us, particularly if we feel wronged.

We get a rush of energy caused by the release of special chemicals in the body, including adrenaline.

This energy rush is designed to help us think and act quickly in tight situations. It's also there to help us defend ourselves physically if we need to.

How can anger be a problem?

Most things that make our blood boil can be sorted out by talking, while others just can't be resolved and have to be accepted.

That leaves us with heaps of energy to spare. We can then find ourselves taking it out on people who really don't deserve it.

Another way it can become a problem is if we start to enjoy the 'rush' feeling anger gives us.

Lastly, if we spend lots of time being angry, it can damage our health in the same ways as stress.

What if I feel angry?

Don't ignore it or try to 'bottle it up'.

We need to understand why we're angry and, if we feel someone else is responsible, we need to let them know they've upset us and why.

Shouting, screaming, waving your arms around (or worse) will usually just make the situation worse.

Do something to get rid of your angry energy and to calm yourself down.

How can I calm down?

Go somewhere else and take some time out:

After I've calmed down a bit, what then?

Next, you need to think about the situation that got you angry in the first place.

First, make a check on how you reacted and your thinking:

  • Was your reaction based on real facts, or was it partly based on what you thought was happening?
  • Can you think of another explanation?
  • Imagine the same thing happened to your best mate - what would you tell them?

Maybe you felt embarrassed in front of your mates? When this happens, it's easy to overreact to things that really aren't that big a deal.

Some people like to play on this fact to try and upset people and cause fights - especially bullies.

Thinking through what happened in these ways can often help us feel better and see things differently.

Meanwhile, if there's a real wrong, you need to let someone know about it.

How can I sort situations where I've been wronged?

First off, you can't sort out situations by resorting to revenge tactics, verbal or physical violence.

Think carefully about what the real cause of the problem is - it's often not the person we got angry with.

It can also help to talk about what happened. Talking helps get things clearer in our minds. Talk to trusted friends, family, teachers. They might be able to help you sort out the problem too.

If you prefer not to talk to someone you know, you could call Childline (0800 1111).

How can I deal with other people's anger?

Dealing with angry people can be hard.


  • try to stay calm
  • lower your eyes
  • speak clearly in a normal speaking voice
  • apologise if you know you did something wrong.

Don't try to reason or argue with:

  • people who're really upset
  • people who're drunk or on drugs
  • anyone acting violently - get out of there.

It's especially important not to be alone with anyone who's angry and acting violently towards you.

If you feel in danger, call 999.