Anger

We all feel angry sometimes, often when there’s a good reason. Uncontrolled anger can be harmful, but you can learn to manage it.

What is anger?

Anger is one of a range of emotions that we all experience. Sometimes, though, you can feel angry and not know why. It’s important to be able to deal with anger so you don’t lose your temper and make things worse.

Anger is an issue if you are:

  • Hitting or physically hurting other people
  • Shouting at people
  • Breaking things
  • Losing control
  • Winding people up
  • Spending time with people who get you into trouble 

Why do you feel angry?

As a young person you’ll feel a variety of emotions, including anger. Problems at school or at home may make you feel angry. You might feel unhappy after falling out with a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend and these emotions come out as anger.

You may feel misunderstood by your parents or carers, or be confused about your sexuality. You may even have experienced neglect or abuse.

How anger can affect you

When we get angry, the hormone adrenalin makes us tense up and clench our teeth. Our hearts pump faster, our stomachs might churn, and we may clench our fists. These are useful early warning signs that we are getting wound up.

Issues with anger can lead to risky behaviour, refusing to go to school, isolation, eating problems, depression, and self harm.

Drinking too much alcohol or taking drugs might be seen as ways of coping with anger issues but they make you feel worse and are likely to create bigger problems later.

Get help for anger

If you often feel angry there are things you can do to help yourself. Other people can help too.

Talking

Talk about how you are feeling. Parents or carers and other family members, such as grandparents, may be good listeners. Your close friends and other family friends may be able to help.

At school, find a teacher, mentor, counsellor or school nurse who you trust. In the community, social workers, youth workers and leaders will also be able to listen.

You can also see your GP. They may be able to suggest some treatment or recommend a counsellor.

Counselling

Your GP may refer you to your child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) where you would talk to a specialist about your feelings and behaviour. The specialist may advise you how to deal with these. They may also suggest counselling if there are problems or things that happened in the past that may be causing your anger issues now.

If counselling is your best option, the specialist arranges a series of confidential one-to-one sessions with a counsellor or therapist.

You can talk with them about concerns or problems you might have. The counsellor will help you work through your issues and give you skills and strategies to deal with your anger better.

Relaxation

Over time, you’ll learn to manage your anger better yourself. When you feel angry or stressed you can relax by

  • Going for a walk
  • Listening to music
  • Taking deep breaths
  • Doing some exercise
  • Doing something you enjoy - skateboarding, painting, surfing
  • Talking to someone about how you are feeling
  • Playing computer games to take your mind off it
  • Reading a book
  • Having a hot bath

Handling Conflict

If you have a problem with someone, talk to them calmly rather than jumping in aggressively. Think about what you want to say beforehand and how you want to get your point across. Listen to their point of view and put yours across too.

You can learn to cope with your anger. Walk away from a situation to calm down, rather than saying or doing something you might regret later. We can help you.

If you are a parent or carer of a child or young person who has anger issues, we can support you through our YoungMinds Parents Helpline. We are here to listen to you, and give you free, confidential advice and information.

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