Techniques for Controlling Anger and Anxiety

by Jerry Kennard, Ph.D. Medical Reviewer

In my previous two posts I've looked at the relationship between anxiety and anger and then some of the starting points for managing anxiety-related anger.

Even within a stressful lifestyle there are certain controls we can exercise in order to prevent pressure build up. Taking regular exercise, eating a properly balanced diet, getting sufficient sleep and making time for yourself are the cornerstones for reducing pressure and building resilience.

Previously, I mentioned the slow fuse build-up to anger and those chili-hot temper flashes. They may feel different but they are really two sides of the same coin. They are fueled by unhelpful negative thinking styles and long-term beliefs. These beliefs are often formed because of past experiences involving anger, instability, criticism and insensitivity. It can easily develop into defensiveness where jumping to conclusions becomes the order of the day.

There are a few ways you could try to break into these habits. For example, if someone does or says something that annoys you, try drawing out information as to their motives. If someone else sounds angry, critical or defensive it's most likely due to frustration, anxiety or hurt. Taking time to understanding the feelings of others and then commiserating can quickly defuse an otherwise tense situation and your own tensions will reduce accordingly.

Recognizing and challenging your angry thoughts is important. You will need to actively adopt new ways of behaving that improve your communication skills and allow you to move beyond those long-held beliefs about anger. Some people think calming statements like "settle down" or take two or three deep breaths before responding. Use logic. Ask yourself whether something is really worth getting angry about?

These are just a few tips and techniques. Anger is normal and natural remember, but if it becomes the thing you are known for and it's something that too easily occurs, you will benefit from anger reduction. In turn, your anxiety levels should start to drop as you become more confident in your ability to manage situations in calmer, less unpleasant and personally damaging ways.

Jerry Kennard, Ph.D.
Meet Our Writer
Jerry Kennard, Ph.D.

Jerry Kennard, Ph.D., is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. Jerry’s work background is in mental health and, most recently, higher education. He is the author of various self-help books and is co-founder of