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How to Deal with Anger

For some people, anger is a scary emotion that feels impossible to show. For others, anger can be a go-to emotion for a variety of situations. Either way, understanding anger and knowing how to deal with it are important components of emotion regulation.

Like any other emotion, anger typically communicates something to us about a certain situation. For instance, if you are angry because your friend has rescheduled your online chat for a third time, your anger shows that you have a certain standard and expectation of respect in your friendships.

Sometimes, anger can act as a secondary emotion, meaning that an emotion can be interpreted as anger by the person experiencing it when it is really something else. Many people interpret or communicate a feeling as anger because it is less vulnerable than other emotions, like sadness, hurt, shame, or insecurity.

To manage anger, first ask yourself: what is this emotion communicating to me? If you truly are angry, use assertiveness skills to address your anger effectively. If you identify the anger as a secondary emotion to something more vulnerable, such as hurt or sadness, see if you can find ways to cope with or communicate the real emotion underlying the anger.


Bethany Kriegel, LMHC, earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College. She has experience working with adults in residential treatment settings, helping those struggling with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other issues.

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