What's the best way to handle anger?

When you're angry, you can deal with your feelings through:

  • Expression. This is the act of conveying your anger. Expression ranges from a reasonable, rational discussion to a violent outburst.
  • Suppression. This is an attempt to hold in your anger and possibly convert it into more constructive behavior. Suppressing anger, however, can cause you to turn your anger inward on yourself or express your anger through passive-aggressive behavior.
  • Calming down. This is when you control your outward behavior and your internal responses by calming yourself and letting your feelings subside.

Ideally, you'll choose constructive expression — stating your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.

Can anger harm your health?

Some research suggests that inappropriately expressing anger — such as keeping anger pent up — can be harmful to your health. Such responses might aggravate chronic pain or lead to sleep difficulties or digestive problems. There's even some evidence that anger and hostility is linked with heart disease.

When is professional help needed?

Learning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Consider seeking help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret, hurts those around you or is taking a toll on your personal relationships.

Apr. 13, 2014 See more In-depth