Dealing with anger and frustration
In challenging times, you may nd that you have little patience with other people or get upset over minor things. Anger and frustration are complicated emotions that often stem from other feelings, like disappointment, fear, and stress. Taking some extra steps to decrease your overall tension can prevent your feelings (and the reactions that they cause) from spiraling out of control.
Tips for Coping:
- Pause before reacting. When you feel yourself getting mad, take a moment to notice what you’re thinking, then take a few deep breaths or count to ten in your head. By giving yourself even just a few seconds before reacting, you can put some emotional distance between you and whatever is upsetting you – and you might even realize that you’re actually tense because of something else.
- Change your surroundings. Anger can make you feel trapped. Whether you’re mad at someone in the same room as you or just angry at the world, sometimes physically relocating yourself can help you start to calm down. Go to another room or step outside for a few minutes of fresh air to help disrupt the track that your mind is on.
- Get it all out. Keeping your feelings bottled up never works, so allow yourself time to be angry and complain. As long as you don’t focus on it for too long, venting can be a healthy outlet for your anger. You can open up to a trusted friend or write it all down in a journal. Sometimes it feels better to pretend to talk directly to the person (or situation) that you’re angry at – pick an empty chair, pretend they’re sitting in it, and say what you need to get o your chest.
- Release built up energy. Anger is a high-energy emotion, and we store that energy and tension physically in our bodies. Exercise is a great way to get rid of extra energy and can improve your mood. Some people find grounding exercises (like meditation or deep breathing) helpful to calm intense feelings, while others prefer more high impact activities like running or weightlifting. Think about what you usually do to decompress, like taking a hot shower or blasting your favorite music and use the tools that you know work for you.
- Get organized. When things around you feel chaotic, it’s often a lot easier to get frustrated and snap at people. Dedicate a few minutes each day to tidying, planning, or reorganizing. Implementing a routine can also help you feel more on top of things by adding structure and certainty to your daily life.
- Eliminate stressors if possible. Sometimes there’s no way to completely get rid of a big problem, but there’s often more than just one issue contributing to your frustration. Things like an overwhelming workload or unhealthy relationship can make you feel on edge. Pay attention to how and why you’re feeling stressed and see if you can make small changes to improve a challenging situation to make it less burdensome.
- Manage your expectations. Negative feelings often stem from people or situations not meeting your standards or assumptions. It’s frustrating to feel let down but recognize that you can’t fully predict anyone else’s behavior or how situations will play out. Shift your mental framework so that you aren’t setting yourself up for disappointment.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re working to cope with your anger but feel like you can’t get it under control, it’s time to get some extra support. Anger can fester and become explosive if not resolved. A number of mental health conditions can manifest as anger, so this may actually be a sign of depression or anxiety – treating an underlying condition can help heal your anger as well.
Managing frustration and anger
Anger and frustration are both common emotional responses that everyone faces. However, if these feelings become too intense, they can lead to both mental and physical distress, and cause problems in relationships. These fact sheet and worksheet can help you identify the emotions and thoughts behind your anger and frustration, and help you determine what you need to feel better.
Fact sheet: Dealing with Anger and Frustration
Worksheet: Managing Anger and Frustration
Check out the rest of the tools to boost the mental health and general wellness of you and your loved ones in the Tools To Thrive Toolkit
“Be Well Crisis Helpline” – Dial 211, enter your ZIP code, press 3.
Trained counselors 24/7 regarding stress, anxiety, loneliness or mental health strains due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Service is free and confidential.
The National Suicide Hotline number is 1-800-273-8255.
It is staffed around the clock, is free, and offers confidential support to people in distress and their families and loved ones. It also provides prevention and crisis resources.
They have additional specific resources for LGBTQ people, youth, Native Americans, veterans, people with disabilities, and disaster survivors. They also offer help in Spanish.
Crisis Text Line: Text “MHA” to 741741.
They offer free 24/7 crisis support in the US. When you text, you will be connected to a live trained counselor.