How to Calm Down When You are Angry

Four Parts:Help Calming DownCalming Down in the MomentAdjusting Your PerspectiveLiving a Calmer Life

Are you prone to fits of rage? Have you been known to curse, kick at things, and scream obscenities while scaring away all of the people in your orbit? Do you suddenly feel your blood boiling when you're stuck in traffic, get some relatively minor bad news, or just hear something you don't want to hear? If so, then you need to find a way to manage your anger before it takes over your life. Dealing with chronic anger can be very difficult, so you need to learn strategies for calming yourself in the moment of anger and over time.

Help Calming Down

Sample Stress Journal Entry

Part 1
Calming Down in the Moment

  1. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 1
    Go for a walk. Getting away from a situation that is causing you to feel angry can help you calm down and think things through. Getting outdoors and focusing on nature can be even more helpful. [1] Taking a walk will help you burn off some of that negative energy instantly and can help you get away from the problem. [2] If you're in the middle of a heated argument, there's nothing wrong with saying, "I'm going to go for a walk."
    • Remember most situations do not require an immediate response. You can often leave the room or the building and give yourself time to cool down before responding to someone.[3]
  2. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 2
    Control your first impulse. If you're prone to fits of anger, then it's likely that your first impulse is not a good one. Maybe you want to kick your car, punch a wall, or scream at someone. Instead of acting on this initial impulse, ask yourself if what you want to do is a really good and productive thing to do. Take a minute to understand how you should really act and to consider what would calm you down the most.
    • Your first impulse may often be violent, destructive, and completely irrational. Don't make things worse for yourself by giving in to this kind of impulse.
  3. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 3
    Dance. You may think that the last thing you want to do when you're really angry is to dance, which is precisely why you should do it. If you're feeling too caught up in your anger, turn on your favorite dance tune and start dancing and belting the lyrics. This will distract your toxic impulses through external stimuli.[4]
    • If this method really works for you, then you can even pick your go-to dance song to play every time you feel yourself getting overwhelmed by anger.
  4. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 4
    Do a deep breathing exercise. Sit straight upright in a chair. Breathe in deeply through your nose, counting to 6. Then slowly breathe out, counting to 8 or 9. Pause and repeat 10 times.[5]
    • Try to focus only on your breathing, clearing your mind of whatever has upset you.
  5. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 5
    Count backwards from fifty. Counting aloud or even whispering the numbers to yourself can make you instantly calm down in less than a minute. Try to keep your body calm while you do this, so that the only thing you have to worry about are the numbers. Focusing on this simple and concrete task will keep you from being overwhelmed in the moment and will make you face your problem with a more even head.
    • If you're still angry, repeat the exercise, or even count back from 100.
  6. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 6
    Meditate. Meditation can help you regulate your emotions. [6] Therefore, if you are feeling as though you are going to lose control of your temper, give yourself a little mental vacation through meditation. Remove yourself from the situation causing the anger: go outside, to a stairwell, or even to the bathroom. [7]
    • Take slow, deep breaths. Maintaining this breathing will likely bring down your elevated heart rate. Your breaths should be deep enough that your belly extends on the “in” breath.
    • Visualize a golden-white light filling your body as you breathe in, relaxing your mind. When you breathe out, visualize muddy or dark colors leaving your body.
    • Making a habit of meditating every morning, even when you're not angry, will make you feel more calm in general.
  7. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 7
    Visualize a peaceful scene. Close your eyes and imagine your favorite place in the world, whether it's the beach where you used to vacation as a child or the beautiful lake you still remember from your teenage days. It can also be a scene from a place you've never been before; a forest, a field of flowers, or a beautiful landscape. Pick a place that makes you instantly feel more calm and at peace and you'll quickly find your breath returning to normal.
    • Focus on every little detail. The more details you see, the more you can pull away from your angry thoughts.
  8. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 8
    Listen to some relaxing music. Unwinding to some of your favorite singers might calm you down and get you in the mood. Music is proven to make you feel a certain way when you hear it and bring back memories. It can calm people who are angry or agitated, even if they’re not aware of the source of that agitation.[8] Classical music and jazz are particularly helpful for calming people down, but you have to find what works for you.
  9. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 9
    Turn on your positive thoughts. You can help reduce your anger by trying to focus more clearly on your positive thoughts. Close your eyes, banish every negative thought that comes your way, and think of at least three positive things.[9]
    • The positive thoughts can be positive aspects of the situation you're worrying about, or just thoughts about something else you have to look forward to or something that makes you happy.
    • Some examples of positive thoughts include:
      • This will pass.
      • I am strong enough to handle this.
      • Challenging situations are opportunities to grow.
      • I will not feel angry forever; this is a temporary feeling.

Part 2
Adjusting Your Perspective

  1. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 10
    Use cognitive restructuring. This means changing the way that you think about things. [10] It can be easy to focus on the things that are making you angry to such an extent that you will begin to believe irrational things, like that everything in your life is bad. Cognitive restructuring encourages you to use rational and positive thoughts to have a more positive view of what is going on in your life.
    • For example, you might think “everything that happens to me is bad.” However, if you think rationally about things that happen to you, you may realize that a mix of good and bad things happen: you could get a flat tire, find a dollar on the ground, get in trouble at work, and get a surprise gift from a friend all in one day. This is a mix of good and bad, and if you spend more time focusing on the good in the group, you may feel better about your life.
    • Another example of replacing negative thoughts with positive is changing "This always happens, and I can't stand it anymore!" to "This has happened a lot, and I've dealt with it successfully in the past; I will get through this."
  2. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 11
    Track your anger with a journal. Write down details about your feelings of anger. If you have an episode or event in which you lost control of your emotions, write it down. Be sure to include exactly how you felt, what caused you to be angry, where you were, who you were with, how you reacted, and how you felt afterwards.[11]
    • After you have kept your journal for a while, you should begin to look for commonalities among entries to identify the people, places, or things that trigger your anger.
  3. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 12
    Address the things that make you angry. In addition to learning to calm yourself down when you get angry, try to understand the anger by identifying your triggers and working to reduce your anger response. Many people find that by identifying what things trigger their anger and assessing why they become so angry, they can work to reduce their emotional responses. [12]
  4. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 13
    Practice positive communication. You may be making yourself more angry by instantly saying the first thing that comes to your head, which may lead you to fire yourself up, make the other person more angry, and generally to make the situation look and feel worse than it really is. When something angers you, take a moment to think about what is really at the source of your anger, and then say what you're really feeling.[13]
    • One form of positive communication is known as assertive expression of anger. Rather than expressing yourself passively (being angry without saying anything) or aggressively (exploding in a way that may seem disproportionate to the stressor), try assertive communication. [14] To practice assertive expression, use the facts involved (not exaggerated by emotion) to communicate requests (rather than demands) of others in a respectful way. Communicate clearly and express your feelings effectively so that everyone’s needs are met.
  5. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 14
    Know when to ask for help. Many people can deal with anger problems at home. However, you may need to deal with an anger problem with professional help if the following are true: [15]
    • Insignificant things make you very angry.
    • When you’re angry, you display aggressive behaviors, including yelling, screaming, or hitting.
    • The problem is chronic; it happens over and over again.
  6. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 15
    Participate in an anger management program. Anger management programs have been proven to be highly successful. [16] Effective programs help you understand anger, develop short-term strategies to deal with anger, and build your emotional control skills. There are many options available for finding a program that is right for you. [17]
    • Individual programs may be available in your area for specific age groups, occupations, or life situations.
    • To find an anger management program that is right for you, try searching online for “anger management class” plus the name of your city, state, or region. You can also include search terms like “for teens” or “for PTSD” to find a group tailored to your specific situation.
    • You can also look for appropriate programs by asking your physician or therapist, or consulting the self-improvement course offerings at your local community center.
  7. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 16
    Find an appropriate therapist. The best way to learn to stay calm is to identify and treat the root of your anger problems. A therapist can give you relaxation techniques to use in situations that make you feel angry. She can help you develop emotional coping skills and communication training. [18] Additionally, a psychoanalyst who specializes in helping resolve problems from someone’s past (such as neglect or abuse from childhood) can help mitigate anger tied to past events. [19]
    • You can search for a therapist specializing in anger management in North America here and in the United Kingdom here.

Part 3
Living a Calmer Life

  1. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 17
    Create a positive environment for yourself. Surround yourself with happy things. Whether they're scented candles, potted plants, or photographs of your friends and family,[20] surround yourself with things that make you happy. Keeping your work or home space uncluttered, positive, and sunny can make you feel more positive and less stressed in your daily life.
    • The less clutter you have, the more easily you'll be able to accomplish your tasks. You'll be less prone to being angry if you can easily find everything you need.
  2. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 18
    Make time for doing things you love. Part of the reason that you feel angry may be because you feel like you never have any time for yourself and are always stuck doing a bunch of things that you don't want to do.[21] So, if you love to paint, read, or run, make enough time in your daily or weekly schedule to let yourself do that thing. You'll be less prone to anger because you'll spend more time being right where you want to be.
    • If you find that you really don't have something that you're passionate about or which really makes you happy, then you should try to find whatever it is to make yourself feel more at peace.
  3. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 19
    Remember to eat balanced meals. Many people are familiar with the feeling of being “hangry” (hungry and angry). Avoid this feeling by remembering to eat healthy meals packed with protein, fruits, and vegetables. This will help you stave off hunger and blood sugar crashes. Be sure to start with a healthy breakfast, which will help you prepare for the rest of the day.[22]
  4. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 20
    Sleep 7-8 hours every night. You need to get plenty of sleep every night to thrive physically and emotionally.[23] Being sleep deprived can contribute to a wide range of health problems, including the inability to manage emotions properly. Getting adequate sleep can help you stay calm in stressful situations.
    • If you have trouble sleeping, talk to a physician about dietary or lifestyle changes to improve your sleep. You may also wish to try medicinal sleep aids.
  5. Image titled Calm Down When You are Angry Step 21
    Try to laugh as much as you can. This can be hard, especially when you're really, really upset. But smiling and laughing is proven to perk you up a little bit even when you're feeling mad, and laughing can change the chemical processes in your body that are making you feel angry. [24] Spending more time laughing every day can make you take yourself less seriously and will make it easier for you to find the humor in a bad situation when the time comes.[25]
    • Read some jokes or when you feel better enough, get some friends to make you laugh. Maybe watch a funny video.


  • Read a book. Reading can help to calm you quickly, especially if you force yourself to understand what you're reading.
  • Try taking a nap. It can help the anger to pass away and take your mind of the anger you are going through quite quickly.


  • If you feel like you are not in control of your anger, or if your thoughts or actions turn violent, seek counseling immediately.

Sources and Citations

Show more... (22)

Article Info

Categories: Calming Techniques