What is anger?

We all feel angry at times – it’s part of being human. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, which we might experience if we feel:

  • attacked
  • deceived
  • frustrated
  • invalidated or unfairly treated

    It isn’t necessarily a ‘bad’ emotion; in fact, it can sometimes be useful. For example, feeling angry about something can:
  • help us identify problems or things that are hurting us
  • motivate us to create change, achieve our goals and move on
  • help us stay safe and defend ourselves in dangerous situations by giving us a burst of energy as part of our fight-or-flight system

Most people will experience episodes of anger that feel manageable and don’t have a big impact on their lives. Learning healthy ways to recognise, express, and deal with anger is important for our mental and physical health. (Our pages on managing outbursts and long-term coping have some tips on how to deal with anger).

When is anger a problem?

Anger only becomes a problem when it gets out of control and harms you or the people around you. This can happen when:

  • you regularly express your anger through unhelpful or destructive behaviour.
  • your anger is hurting your overall mental and physical health
  • anger becomes your go-to emotion, blocking out your ability to feel other emotions
  • you haven’t developed healthy ways to express your anger