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Anger

Commonly known as: annoyed, cross, irritated, rage, angry, mad, frustrated, furious

Anger

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What is anger?

Anger is a normal human emotion that we are all likely to experience at some time. Our anger may be a reaction to a difficult experience in our daily life, our past or in the world around us. Anger can sometimes be a positive emotion; it is part of our fight or flight response which helps to keep us safe when we are feeling threatened.

However, for some people they cannot manage their anger effectively, and it can get out of control and cause problems with relationships, work and even the law.

Most people feel angry sometimes, but if you are struggling to manage your anger and it is affecting your life or those around you, there are things you can try that may help.

It can be triggered by a range of things including feeling:

  • Let down
  • Unfairly treated
  • Threatened or scared
  • Under a lot of stress

 

Symptoms and signs of anger

Anger can cause different symptoms. It might affect how you feel physically, mentally or how you behave. When we are feeling angry our bodies respond in different ways, some of the physical signs you may observe include:

  • A racing heart beat
  • Your muscles feeling tense
  • Clenching your fists
  • Tightness in your chest
  • Feeling hot and sweaty

Emotional responses can include:

  • Feeling tense or nervous
  • Struggling to relax
  • Easily irritated by other people

If anger is becoming a problem, then it is important to learn skills to manage your anger and/or seek help. See our self-help advice below and/or visit our Helplines & Services section for more information.

 

Self-help advice to manage anger

There are things you can do to help manage your anger

  • Identify the things that trigger your feelings of anger. Learn to recognise the signs that you are beginning to get angry. If possible, take yourself out of the situation, go for a walk or count to 10 before you react.
  • Try relaxation and breathing exercises. See our videos below.
  • Distract yourself with activities you enjoy.
  • Find out more about anger and how it can be managed. Keep an anger log to track when you are feeling angry, to monitor what triggers these thoughts and feelings. See our self-help resources below.
  • Learn new skills to manage anger. See our self-help courses below.
  • Some people find physical activity really helpful in managing their anger. Visit our Be active topic for more information and advice.
  • You don’t need to experiences these feelings alone. If you feel your anger is getting out of control, talk to someone you trust or make contact with a free support service. See our Helplines & Services section below. If you or someone you know needs urgent help – go to our urgent help page immediately.
  • If you are a parent and/or carer and need advice on understanding and responding to your children’s behaviour, please visit the Welsh Government website.

 

If you need further help managing anger

If the information, advice, resources and courses on this page have not been helpful and/or you think you need more help, there are many free support services available.

If you are worried about your general mental health, contact NHS Mental Health 111 Option 2. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is free to call from a mobile (even when the caller has no credit left) or from a landline. The service will provide immediate support over the phone to help cope with how you are feeling, and if needed, a referral to mental health services will be arranged.

If you live in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) area, and are aged over 18, you can contact your GP surgery to make an appointment with a Psychological Health Practitioner (PHP) or a GP. PHPs are NHS mental health practitioners, that are available at some GP surgeries in ABUHB area, who provide a free service for people experiencing mild to moderate mental health problems. Appointments can be either face to face, or over the phone.

If you are under 18 or worried about someone aged under 18 and need advice/self-referral to local mental health and wellbeing services in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area, contact SPACE-Wellbeing.
Or alternatively contact another approved helpline or service. Some services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

If you are an unpaid carer for someone experiencing anger, visit our Unpaid Carers page for more information and advice.

Last updated: 25.09.2023
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Self-help resources to help you manage anger

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Overcoming Anger and Irritability, 2nd Edition: A self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques

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Hope | Reading Well

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Controlling Anger – NHS Easy Read Guide

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Controlling Anger – NHS Self-help Guide

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The CBT Handbook: A comprehensive guide to using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to overcome depression, anxiety and anger

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Related videos

Mindful 3 Step Breathing Space | Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

Body Scan – Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

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Support for help managing anger helplines

The services listed below will be able to provide you with more advice on managing anger. Or visit our helplines page for details of more services.

NHS 111 Wales Logo

Mental Health 111 (Option 2)

If you or someone you know requires immediate medical attention, or in immediate danger, then dial 999 or go to A&E.

If you or someone you know needs urgent mental health care, but it is not life threatening, call NHS 111 and select Option 2.
Mental Health 111 (Option 2) is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is free to calls from a mobile (even when the caller has no credit left) or from a landline.

When you call, a Mental Health & Wellbeing Practitioner will talk through how you are feeling. They can provide brief interventions over the phone to help you cope with how you are feeling. They can also arrange referrals to mental health services, if needed.

Find out more ➝
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

SPACE Wellbeing Blaenau Gwent

SPACE Wellbeing is a multi-agency process to co-ordinate help, including both early intervention and specialist provision, for children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.

For any general enquiries regarding the SPACE Wellbeing Service, please contact the SPACE Wellbeing Helpline:

By Telephone: 07977 065376 | Email: ABB.SpaceWellbeingHelpline@wales.nhs.uk

Our helplines are open Mon-Fri 8.30am-5pm

For more information visit the SPACE website ➝
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

SPACE Wellbeing Caerphilly

SPACE Wellbeing is a multi-agency process to co-ordinate help, including both early intervention and specialist provision, for children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.

For any general enquiries regarding the SPACE Wellbeing Service, please contact the SPACE Wellbeing Helpline:

By Telephone: 07977 065376 | Email: ABB.SpaceWellbeingHelpline@wales.nhs.uk

Our helplines are open Mon-Fri 8.30am-5pm

For more information visit the SPACE website ➝
Showing 3 out of 5 results View all
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