Learn how to manage your feelings of frustration and anger effectively

Category: Better Relationships | Author and Publisher: Elly Prior | First published: 22-09-2010 | Modified: 08-05-2018

The more angry and frustrated you become, the more unpredictable you are. I suspect that deep down it scares you, because you can feel so out of control when the 'red mist' descends.

Self help anger management or anger management counselling can both be effective, when at times you can't think straight through anger and frustration.

My site offers extensive online relationship advice. This particular page helps you to get to understand your anger and what you can do about it immediately and in the long-term. Managing your emotions, including anger is a vital part of building healthy relationships.

You may also be interested in...

 ... my article on anger management counselling

Anger 'management'...
Fight or flight? Or tend and befriend?

When you're seething with anger - you may hardly know what you're doing. You could even have an 'anger black-out' and forget what you've done whilst in the grip of the 'red mist'. You've been in a 'trance'.

When we're very emotional, our brains will go into a ‘primitive’ 'fight or flight' mode. Shelley Taylor discovered in her research that this is true particularly for men*. Women, she says are more likely to 'tend and befriend'. Our brain assumes our lives are in danger!

And you know what? When we are that emotional (angry) we're likely to be at our most unintelligent! You would want to invest time and energy in anger management counselling therefore alone!

Everything you are presently angry about, blocks you from seeing happiness

What happens when you are very angry

When you're very angry your brain goes into survival mode. It adopts a ‘'better to be safe than sorry'’ approach. The effects are:

  • black and white - ‘all or nothing’ thinking
  • loss of objectivity
  • loss of context
  • narrow focus of attention
  • inability to consider other people’'s point of view

You can see immediately that there's no point in discussing any subject when you're in an anger trance state. So let's continue and try to discover more about what might be going on for you.  

Use my very best anger management counselling tips and you'll be building better relationships.

Anger management counselling...
Are you really out of control?

Your primitive brain runs the show: 'do or die'.  It directs your mind and body accordingly, milliseconds before you're consciously aware. You're in an emotional 'trance state' and - depending on the intensity of your anger - you may or may not be able to calm yourself down.

Oh, if only we could see ourselves! On one end of the scale 'anger' gets you out of bed. Somewhere in the middle it helps you achieve the seemingly impossible. On the other end of the scale it kills. Only you know at which point you're deliberately out to hurt someone and when you're beyond your own control. You will know where on that scale it's time you seek some anger management counselling or attend a course on learning to deal with your anger.

I really hope that the information on this page is going set you on the right track.

Just a note of caution though: if you've 'finally' decided to do something about your anger problem only because your partner is threatening to leave you, there is more to sort out then 'just' your mood. There's plenty of advice on my site to help.

In any case, I would recommend you have a look at how you can help yourself with a self-hypnosis download. Self-hypnosis is a really effective, user-friendly and affordable aid to making permanent changes.

Most importantly - you should get yourself a brainscan! Watch the video below to find out why...

Why are you angry?
- 18 questions I would ask you in my anger management counselling sessions

To start with, maybe I can help you by giving you some direction to your self help. Your first step is to explore in a little bit more detail what your anger 'looks like'.  

I'll ask the questions I'd want to ask you if you came to me for anger management counselling. Feel free to grab a pen and paper, and let's get started...

  1. Have you always had a 'temper'?
  2. Have you always been easily irritated or frustrated?
  3. Do you consider people generally as less worthy than you and therefore you've 'given yourself permission' to 'let rip'?
  4. Have you been deeply wounded by someone and/or by something that's happened? 
  5. Have people you love been deeply hurt? 
  6. Have you been unfairly treated?
  7. Have you been badly let down by someone?
  8. Do you seem to be getting angry about 'nothing' - none of these reasons exist for you?
  9. Do you have the worrier gene? Is there a family history of aggression and violence? (Learn more from the surprising family history and the brain scan of neuroscientist James Fallon)
  10. Have you been feeling depressed? I have plenty pages on that subject, but I'd recommend you start by filling out a depression questionnaire (see links below). Alternatively, you can connect with a professional, licensed therapist. It's now very easy, and affordable to set up an online session. See my page on mental health counselling.
  11. Have you been going through a particularly stressful time?
  12. Are you having relationship problems? If you need to take action right now to save your relationship - even if your partner seems to have given up - get my Complete Guide to Saving Your Relationship now. You'll get a bundle of expert tools to help you start turning things around right away.
  13. Are you suffering from a lack of sleep? Have a look at my page about treatment for insomnia.
  14. Are you having problems at work? (you may be able to get some anger management counselling at work)
  15. Could you be suffering from a post-trauma stress reaction, through a work-related incident, accident or through growing up in a violent environment? (see: PTSD symptoms link below)
  16. Do you suffer from low self-esteem and quickly feel criticised? See my article on how to improve your self-esteem.
  17. Could you be suffering from fluctuating blood-sugar levels? Have you been tested for diabetes? A low-blood sugar can make you super irritable!
  18. What is your general state of health?

Whether what's happened is real or whether you perceive it to be real - if you've searched for information on dealing with anger, you're probably feeling at a loss with how to 'manage it'.  

Maybe you're well aware that you're hurting the people around you, that you're always on a short fuse. Maybe you see that people can never feel secure that you're going to have a 'good' day, or that the 'outing' isn't going to end up being spoilt by your anger.

Other causes of anger

There are many reasons why you might be feeling angry, and some of these may ring a bell with you too...

  • loss of confidence for whatever reason
  • brain injury - forget about management counselling for the moment, you may need more specialised help
  • having been 'allowed' to be angry too much, or spoilt as a child and so not having learnt to deal with anger appropriately
  • deep down enjoying the power it brings
  • substance abuse - alcohol and/or drugs (though you may have ended up with these to cope with the fall-out of a traumatic experience)
  • post-traumatic stress
  • Inflammation (yes, really!*)

These are not excuses for your anger and the damage it may do to other people and your relationships though.

It may well be that you've finally got round to doing something about your anger because your partner is threatening to leave. My advice here is to find the right professional help in dealing with your anger. You can now connect with a professional, licensed therapist right from my site.

Alternatively, if you can't or won't talk to a counsellor, there is much to be gained from doing some self-hypnosis. It is highly effective and user-friendly. Learn more about hypnosis downloads.

Anger 'management' counselling

I don't like the term 'anger management' counselling. You shouldn't have to 'manage' such a high level of anger. You should just not need to get that angry!

You see - there may not be a real need for you to be angry at all. Here are some issue that may contribute to how you are feeling:

  • depression
  • PTSD
  • stress
  • childhood trauma
  • emotional trauma
  • work-related problems and trauma
  • ... and so on

There's every likelihood that your anger will just disappear when you've got rid of all that 'old stuff'. You do have to make sure that you get the right kind of anger 'management' counselling though. It's unlikely to be helpful for you to regurgitate all your life's troubles week after week (visit my page on how to find a counsellor for further information).

However, now that you've started investigating what you can do about your fury, read on for some of my anger management tips ...

Anger associated with stress

There's little point in investing in anger management counselling when you're suffering badly from stress. The real problem in this case isn't your anger - it's your stress level. Stress damages you and the relationships you have with the people around you.

If you have relationship or marital problems then I hope you'll consider getting some relationship counselling.

To start you off though, below is my list of strategies...
... to generally improve your mood
... in anticipation of your becoming angry (until such time you've learned to let go)
... for when you're about to explode
... for when you've lost it completely.

To start you off learning how to switch off the over-reactions, I thoroughly recommend online hypnosis... before your anger does more damage - to yourself and to others.

Hypnosis is such a gentle but oh-so powerful treatment. It's safe and so effective. I'm absolutely delighted to be able to point you in the direction of the best and most trustworthy people on the internet for the right Hypnosis Downloads.

This woman's body language shows that she is overburdened and may be about to explode.

How to deal with anger when you anticipate you're going to lose it

There are times when you just know in advance that you're going to get into trouble. Here are some anger management tips to help you make those occasions more manageable:

  • Set a time limit on a discussion
  • Deal with one subject at a time
  • Agree to stay calm for that time
  • Plan time to relax and have fun after the discussion
  • Plan to do some aerobic exercise immediately afterwards

Do you feel 'provoked'?

Below is a list of potential provocations. It comes with a cautionary note, though: depending on how you act out your anger - a provocation is not an excuse for you to 'lose it'. However, the list may help you to identify a pattern of when you seem to 'flip' without warning.

You can also use this list to help yourself become aware of how much you use these kinds of behaviours and ways of communicating. It is possible you set people off to become defensive by the way you treat or talk to them.

Potential provocations from you and others...  
Be prepared!


put downs









unwanted advice











Unrelenting criticism and name calling are a form of emotional abuse and unacceptable in any relationship.

Picture quote: Live without pretending, love without depending, listen without defending, speak without offendingListen out also for how you talk to yourself about yourself

Anger management tips to help yourself stay in cool, calm and relaxed

How to avoid becoming angry in the first place

  • Avoid making assumptions or jumping to conclusions at all costs
  • Keep focusing on what's being said
  • Avoid interruptions with: "Yes, but…", or "No, I don't....".
  • Check what was meant before you respond
  • Remain respectful regardless of someone else'’s reactions
  • Avoid wanting to be right - this is one of my best anger management tips
  • Avoid holding a monologue
  • Avoid provocations (see box above)

8 steps to a calmer state of mind when you feel you're about to explode

  1. State calmly that you'd like a little time out to reflect
  2. Agree a time limit for the break - at least twenty minutes
  3. Take some deep breaths, breathe out very slowly
  4. Continue with counting your breaths: 7 counts in, 11 counts out
  5. Divert your attention - read, plan, talk to someone else
  6. Avoid ‘rehearsing’ your reasons for being angry or being right
  7. Allow your mind and body to calm down - 20 minutes at least if possible
  8. Consider the situation from the other person’'s perspective

These self help tips are useful in any situation where something becomes just 'too much' and you can't take it any more. Much of this I'd be teaching you if you were right here with me for anger management counseling.

Returning to the conversation?

  1. Start with listening fully to what the other person has to say
  2. Take constructive criticism on the chin. Learn how to deal with destructive criticism.
  3. Finish the conversation by acknowledging the positives, however small

What are you dealing with?

It would really help if you could get to the bottom of your anger. As I have mentioned before, it may be that your anger is a symptom of another problem. You'll be much more successful in communicating effectively if you dealt with the underlying problem first.

What exactly is eating away at you? What exactly is making you angry? What exactly are the triggers? Do you feel stuck by blaming someone else?

In fact - you may not even need any anger management tips once you have tackled any underlying problems.

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Related articles

The Best Relationship Advice
PTSD Symptoms
Depression Questionnaire
How to Deal with Criticism
Relationship Communication
Body Language Signs
What to Do When Your Parter Goes to Prison


*Azar, B. A new stress paradigm for women. American Psychological Association, 2000, via APA

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Elly Prior

Hello you! :-)

It's me - Elly Prior, I'm the Founder and Author of this site. I'm a 'real' person and I check the comment sections daily.

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Images courtesy of: Cecile Graat, BK