How To Stop Being Angry And Negative

Updated January 19, 2023by ReGain Editorial Team

We all feel angry and easily irritated from time to time. Anger commonly asserts itself when we feel attacked, deprived, abandoned, or imposed upon. It signals that we are experiencing something dreadful or that we’re about to lose something that we have need.

When we’re in touch with anger and can express it in a reasonable and balanced manner, anger can be an ally. Acknowledging when we’re angry enables us to walk away from hurtful situations or stand up for ourselves when we should. Expressing our pent up anger in appropriate ways can actually genuinely empower us. Sometimes we need help with this.

When Problems Arise

Issues arise when your anger gets out of balance. Out of balance, anger can manifest itself in several different ways. You may become harmful, cranky, irritable, initiate arguments with others, become aggressive, or act impulsively. You are human, after all.

On the reverse side of the coin, you may have difficulty expressing normal feelings of anger. This happens when you are out of touch with your anger, so you block and repress it. You may experience a kind of unconscious prohibition inside that prevents you from expressing anger. If you do this, you are not alone. Many of us struggle with repressed anger.

During childhood, if you witnessed a parent or other relative express their anger destructively or frighteningly, you may have learned that anger is bad. Similarly, if you were punished for expressing anger in your childhood, you may tend to repress anger once you reach adulthood. It is possible to accumulate so many angry thoughts and feelings that you fear hurting others if you let the anger out.

If you grow up believing that all anger is negative or that it’s unsafe to be angry, you likely won’t even admit to your anger, let alone try to express it. Once you perceive anger as something bad that could endanger yourself or others, you may actually deny that you have it within you. You, understandably, build up a psychological defense mechanism against unwanted anger, which paradoxically prevents you from being able to release it.  It’s hard to stop being angry if you can’t admit that you have a problem.

Because of your inability to acknowledge anger, any situation that provokes feelings of anger leads to you stifling the anger so you can neither feel nor know it. Adult anger that you internalize merges with repressed childhood anger. Over time, you may accumulate a large volume of stress and anger that you cannot even acknowledge, let alone express. You may stop feeling anger altogether, although you may experience some of the tell-tale signs of anger that appear at the end of this article.

When Anger Is Denied

When you stop feeling anger outwardly, it gnaws on your insides like a decaying wound. Buried anger creates pain, which can manifest in two ways: you may either adopt an overly pleasant attitude, or you may express your angry emotions by becoming negative, irritable, defensive, or hostile.

The more you deny anger, the more likely it will come out in inappropriate ways. It’s not possible to remain overly lovely in the long term. Repressed anger is pressurized, creating chinks in the defense mechanism, through which your anger can leak out. It can express itself as passive-aggressive behavior or create an emotional outburst. You may also experience leaking anger turns inward against yourself, where it expresses itself as acute self-destructiveness or self-criticism.

People can intuitively sense something is making you angry. Even if you are the friendliest, most agreeable people pleaser, leaking anger manifests in your mannerisms, posture, facial expressions, or slips of the tongue. Repressed anger may tend to show itself through sarcasm or impatience. Either way, those around you can tell that you’re holding in a lot of anger, and they will respond to you accordingly.

As you go through your days holding in anger, you may find that you attract angry people to you. Either these people recognize a kindred spirit with whom to associate, or they may realize that you are seeking some resolution for your repressed rage. Nevertheless, angry people are happy to act out your own repressed anger for you. Their response to anger is the opposite of repressing it. They don’t know how to stop feeling anger and actively look for opportunities to dump it.

The Opposite Of Anger-Repression

As an overtly angry individual, you can’t – or won’t – control your anger. You feel forced to vent anger and dump it inappropriately.  The impulse to express your anger is overwhelming. You don’t know how to stop being angry. As you vent, you may alarm others. People try to avoid those who can’t keep their anger in check.

If this describes you, it’s possible that you, too, had adverse childhood experiences with anger, which made you unsure or confused about how to deal with it. But you deal with the feelings inside by venting, in the mistaken belief that venting your anger will bring you relief.

Discharging your feelings of anger by venting them is no more an effective means to release your angst than repressing anger is. Venting will not help rid you of your anger. In fact, your anger begets more anger, as people identify you as an enraged human being, no matter what is making you angry.

Tackling Anger Head-On

Neither repressing nor venting your anger will help you to let go of it. Only facing your anger head-on and dealing with it consciously will stop you from being an angry person. Taking responsibility for your anger will help to empower you to stop being so angry. You need to take charge of your anger, whether you’re a person who represses it or a person who can’t keep from spilling it out.

It is essential to revisit your childhood experiences of anger to come to terms with your response to it. Once you face the extent of your anger and deal with events from childhood that caused the anger to build up inside of you, you can begin healing. If childhood trauma led to your carrying this rage, you might need the support of a therapist who can enable you to process your feelings and help you figure out how to stop being angry.

Holding in your anger poisons you. Leaking or exploding anger hurts others as well. When you don’t know how to express anger appropriately, you may never get a lasting sense of relief. You may continue to experience major stress as you are forced to endure the repercussions of any distasteful, unacceptable behaviors.

Learning to take responsibility for your anger through appropriate expression puts you at an advantage. It will help you put an end to the continual people-pleasing, the annoyance of not having your needs met, or the adverse results of your explosive anger. Owning your angry feelings and expressing them in moderation helps to empower you. Exercising assertiveness in your relationships in place of anger gives you confidence, which helps to promote inner peace.

Recognizing Signs Of Anger

Whether you repress your anger or let it explode, it is useful to recognize the physical and emotional signs that indicate you need to address the problem. Some physical signs of anger include:

  • jaw clenching or teeth grinding
  • headache
  • shaking or trembling
  • stomachache
  • increased and rapid heart rate
  • feeling your face or neck get hot
  • dizziness

Emotionally, you cannot stop feeling:

  • like you want to get away from the situation
  • anxious
  • resentful
  • irritated
  • sad or depressed
  • guilty
  • like striking out physically or verbally.

How To Stop Being Angry

First of all, it’s important to acknowledge that whatever you experienced in your childhood doesn’t make all anger bad. Anger is a normal emotion that we need to learn to channel productively. Seeking out anger management therapy is an excellent way to stop feeling helpless about your anger issues. Some people respond well to face-to-face counseling, while others find online anger management therapy a convenient option.  Online management counseling is best for those who lead busy lives, people who suffer from anxiety, or those who live in rural areas where counseling resources are limited.

How ReGain’s Online Therapy Can Support You

If you are experiencing anger issues that trouble you, it is particularly important to seek professional help. Thanks to ReGain, it’s easy to get help right away. Log into its online counseling portal. Whether you prefer individual or couples counseling, ReGain works with your schedule. You can choose to chat discreetly via text or, if you prefer, on a video chat or over the phone. You should definitely feel comfortable with whichever method you choose. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff of licensed medical professionals is ready to make your anger issues a priority.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I get so angry so easily?

Anger is a normal emotion. It can be healthy to feel angry. Feeling angry can be a good thing because it can motivate you to solve problems. However, it can cause problems in your life if you get angry quickly and leave you (and those around you) uncomfortable, down, and regretful. There are many reasons why you might get angry so easily. Some people respond to negative triggers more quickly than others. You might be quick to become angry because you’re impatient, frustrated, or feel like your opinions and efforts are disregarded. If you’re worried about personal problems or under stress, feeling angry can be a response. When you were young, perhaps your parents or other role models got angry easily, so you learned it was how to respond to negative situations. Depression, anxiety, and addiction can also cause anger. Effective treatment is available, and speaking to a mental health professional about anger can help. 

Why am I so angry all the time?

There are several reasons why people feel persistent anger. Personal problems, worry, and stress can cause feelings of anger, as can physical pain. Feeling angry is a common reaction to criticism, rejection, frustration, unfairness, and grief. Anger can be a symptom of anxiety and depression. Therapy can help you manage anger so that you can live a more positive life. 

How do I stop being angry and hurt?

There are strategies you can use to overcome feeling angry and hurt. You can try forgiveness. This doesn’t mean you agree that the person who hurt or angered you were right. Instead, it means letting go of your own inner peace and well-being. You can also try anger-management strategies. For instance, instead of dwelling on the anger or hurt, try focusing on the positive things about the situation or person when you’re feeling angry. Try changing the way you think about them—instead of focusing on how horrible things are or how you’re feeling angry, try to accept that things are not ideal but that you can move on. 

What is the root cause of anger?

There is no one cause of anger, but feeling angry can be the body’s natural response to a threat in humans. It is part of the fight or flight response—a reaction that our ancestors used to survive. When your body perceives a threat—either real or imagined—a stress response, such as feeling angry, occurs. 

How do I stop being angry over little things?

To stop feeling angry about little things, first, pay attention to what triggers your anger and when it happens. For example, does bad traffic make you angry? Do you get more easily angry when you’re tired or worried? To manage anger over little things, try counting to ten or taking slow, deep breaths. When you’re angry, exercise can help relieve your negative feelings, as can distractions like watching something funny on t.v. or listening to music. If feeling angry interferes with your life or the lives of your loved ones or if you have frequent angry outbursts, treatment can help. 

Is anger a red flag?
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What are mental signs of anger?
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