Cool it: Tricks and tips to manage anger better

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Are you angry all the time?

Anger is hard to understand. Many of us want to avoid it because it is not a pleasant emotion to have. But sometimes, it can help solve issues and bring about change.

Anger is a natural emotion

It’s normal to be angry sometimes. It is only bad when it:

  • controls your life
  • makes you sick physically and mentally
  • destroys your work and personal relationships

Newcomers sometimes get angry when things don’t work out. A difficult job search, rough adjustment to the culture, environment or weather can be frustrating. You can become angry all the time if you focus only on negative situations.


How to handle anger:

  1. Look at the signs

    Be aware of the things that make you angry. For example:

    • Do you get angry when you’re driving during rush hour?
    • Are you grumpy at the end the day when you’re tired or hungry?
    • Do you often think about situations that make you mad?

    Avoid these situations when you can. Understanding the reason for anger can help you control your reaction.

  2. Count to 10

    It’s so simple but it can stop you from doing something you may regret later. Counting to 10 helps you to calm down and think clearly. Make this a habit. Make reminders that will help you do this when you need to.

  3. Understand why you are feeling this way

    We usually think that situations are worse than they really are. We have thinking habits that make us feel more frustrated and angry. These include:

    • Overgeneralizing
    • Have you ever said these lines to yourself?:

      • “I never get the credit I deserve.”
      • “People always disrespect me.”
      • “Nothing good ever happens to me.”
    • Obsessing on “should” and “musts”
      We get frustrated when we expect things to go exactly our way and they don’t. This happens when we set goals that are impossible or not realistic.
    • Mind reading and jumping to conclusions
      Thinking that others are watching what you do and they don’t like you.
    • Collecting straws
      Thinking of negative things, small irritations, and bad events in the past and then adding them to the current issue. This makes a small problem bigger and more dramatic.
    • Blaming – Blaming someone directs your anger. We do this to avoid seeing our own faults.

    Stop when you have these negative thoughts. Focus on the the current situation and think about solutions.

  4. Think of the consequences

    Ask yourself: Does being angry solve anything? Will it make things better or worse? Think about what your boss, co-workers, family, friends, and kids will feel if your get angry. Also think about the consequences:

    • Will you get fired?
    • Can it break your relationships?
    • Will you get arrested?
  5. Turn anger into something positive

    Use your energy for:

    • Exercise, do yoga, or meditate when you feel overwhelmed.
    • Journalling. Write about everything. It can make the situation clearer and help you think of a solution.
  6. Know when to get help

    Get help when you:

    • feel overwhelmed
    • can’t think properly
    • think about hurting yourself or others
    • when you’re angry.

    Talk to a counsellor when anger affects your thoughts and health. They can give advice and strategies that will help you handle your anger better.

 
Article updated April 29, 2021.
 
Sources: Anger Management. Tips and techniques for getting anger under control, Molly Edmonds, Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. and Melinda Smith, M.A., Helpguide.org; Strategies for controlling your anger: Keeping anger in check, American Psychological Society; and Anger symptoms, causes and effects, PsychGuides.com. Retrieved June 19, 2018.

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Community Resources

Aurora Family Therapy Centre has effective and affordable therapy programs. Ask them about their newcomer programs.

Call Klinik Community Health. Counsellors will be ready to listen and provide support.

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