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Anger

What Is It?

Anger is a natural emotion that is commonly misunderstood. It is sometimes thought of as a negative emotion. Anger, like any emotion, is valid and worth feeling. It can actually be beneficial at times. It can propel you to think of solutions to your problems or make changes.

Anger is problematic when someone feels angry all the time or expresses their anger in a hurtful/unhealthy way. It is okay to be angry, but it is not okay to take it out on someone/something else. Like any emotion, it is important to feel anger and express it in a healthy way.

The funny thing about anger is that it is often the surface emotion of what it truly going on. Check out this image from Therapist Aid. The Anger Iceberg illustrates how anger is often what we see, but it is rooted in something else. This is why it is important to talk to a child/youth or connect them with someone to talk to if they are struggling with anger.

What Does It Feel Like?

Anger can feel different for everyone. Knowing what it feels like can help you help the child/youth identify how they are feeling.

Anger can feel like:

  • Faster breathing
  • You can feel flushed, hot, or sweaty
  • It can make you feel like yelling or screaming
  • It can feel like your stomach is turning and whirling
  • It can make your muscles feel ready to run
  • Your heart might start pounding and beating quickly
  • You might tense your muscles
  • It could feel like your body is prickly
  • And more

What Can You Do to Calm Down?

It is okay to feel angry and upset. It is about learning how to express it in a healthy way. Anger will not go away if ignored. Ignoring it can make it worse.

Being angry does not mean someone has the right to hurt others, self, living things, or property. Take a moment before you act/speak.

The following are healthy coping skills to help the child/youth (and you!) whenever they are angry. It is important to remember not every skill is going to work for every person; it is about finding what works for them (and you).

Things to calm down:

  • Take slow, deep breaths
  • Scribble on a piece of paper
  • Yell into a pillow
  • Play a game
  • Go outside
  • Get active
  • Listen to music
  • Dance
  • Play an instrument
  • Write it out
  • Take a break
  • Watch a funny movie
  • Have a bath or shower
  • Think of what is bothering you and think of solutions to deal with it
  • Talk with a loved one

Further Resources

If you would like to speak to someone about mental health issues, the Alberta Health Services Mental Health Help Line is available 24/7, offering information and referrals on any aspect of mental health.

Call toll-free: 1-877-303-2642

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