How to calm yourself down

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Anger Management Strategies to Help You Calm Down

Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She’s also a psychotherapist, the author of the bestselling book "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do," and the host of The Verywell Mind Podcast.

Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Akeem Marsh, MD, is a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist who has dedicated his career to working with medically underserved communities.

Failing to manage your anger can lead to a variety of problems like saying things you regret, yelling at your kids, threatening your co-workers, sending rash emails, developing health problems, or even resorting to physical violence. But not all anger issues are that serious. Instead, your anger might involve wasting time thinking about upsetting events, getting frustrated in traffic, or venting about work.

Managing your anger doesn’t mean never getting angry. Instead, it involves learning how to recognize, cope with, and express your anger in healthy and productive ways. Anger management is a skill that everyone can learn. Even if you think you have your anger under control, there’s always room for improvement.

What Is Anger Management?

Since unchecked anger can often lead to aggressive behavior, anger management uses various techniques to help a person cope with thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a healthy and more productive way.

How to manage your anger illustration

How to calm yourself down when angry

Anger is probably the most difficult emotion to overcome because it feels the most justified. Our anger is often a reaction to a violation of our values or boundaries. But anger is really a secondary emotion. It is the default emotion we express when we’re trying to actualize another, primary feeling like fear or sadness. Learning how to calm yourself down when angry can help you access the underlying emotion and resolve it.

Vent in a safe place

Find a loved one that is unconnected to the situation and share how you’re feeling. If that’s not possible or you don’t have the time to talk, try writing your feelings out in a journal or an email (don’t hit send!).

Validate your feelings

Anger often stems from feeling misunderstood. There’s a saying that people yell when they don’t feel heard. Even if no one else agrees with you, take the time to validate your own feelings and ideas.

Get into their shoes

If someone upset you, try talking the situation out from their point of view. You don’t have to agree with them, but doing this as a thought exercise (remember debate club?) can help you depersonalize the exchange.


Meditation is a great way to learn to depersonalize your thoughts and separate from the initial angry trigger. Mindfulness allows us to watch the thoughts without attachment and learn what they’re really trying to tell us. You may be able to identify the underlying feeling.

Talk to Someone Friendly

Another very effective technique is to talk to someone you like and trust, especially on the phone. Don’t be shy about your anxiety – tell them you feel anxious and explain what you’re feeling.

Talking to nice, empathetic people keeps your mind off of your symptoms, and the supportive nature of friends and family gives you an added boost of confidence. If you’re suffering from a panic attack, it also helps you feel more confident that if something were wrong, you’d have someone that can watch over you.

“You’re Feelings Are Justified, However…”

I completely understand you feeling angry in this situation, and you are right to feel wronged. I completely understand why you would want to lash out.

Saying things in anger is not going to help resolve the matter in the long-term

This communicates to the individual that you are taking their concerns seriously and that you respect their viewpoint without making any moral judgement about whatever it is that has happened.

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If you’re looking to develop your communication skills for professional environments even further, we think you’ll like the following video course from LinkedIn Learning.

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UCLA professor and executive coach John Ullmen, PhD, explains the fundamentals of mindfulness and provides step-by-step methods that anyone can use. Every technique is confirmed by research and validated in practice to give you results for dealing with stress, anxiety, fear, worry, and self-doubt, and for increasing confidence, peak performance, and connection with others.

Ways to Calm The Mind

When it comes to finding ways to calm your mind, it’s all about testing. What works best for other people might not work so well for you. Find the things that bring you peace and go back to those things when you need it most.

Free meditation app Declutter The Mind is an app that will teach you how to meditate, help you form the habit of a regular practice, and expand your mind to the teachings of mindfulness.

Write or talk it out

Write it out

Your mind has the function of processing and interpreting all the information being received inside and outside your body. You currently have many stimuli. You’re being overstimulated, and your mind wants to do many things at once. It wants to interpret, think, draw conclusions, get answers, and solve everything in there. Also, you come up with new ideas, projects, pending goals that you want to achieve, and it’s common for you to feel that you can’t calm your mind.

My first favorite exercise is writing. By doing that, I tell my mind to empty. Empty of everything I have accumulated: pending stuff, worries, dreams, desires, frustrations, anger, courage, sadness. Everything I can bring inside me to the pencil and paper.

I literally imagine as if I have all these things in my head and that I’m able to empty it through writing. If you’re not much of a writer, I recommend that you start giving it a try because it does have therapeutic effects. You can even try a mindfulness journal. Otherwise, you can also talk it out. Talking and releasing all the mental content you bring helps a lot.

Either way, give your mind an outlet. It doesn’t need to be perfect or well formulated. Just get it out there, you can edit and improve the thoughts later. When you get into the habit of doing it, it will feel like a weight has been lifted. You know longer need to carry those thoughts with you as you have left them on the pad of paper.