Special Health Reports

Anger Management


Anger Management

A bumper-to-bumper traffic jam… a hurtful comment…a relationship fight or breakup…an inflammatory online post…a rude store clerk…

There’s no shortage of things that can make get our pulse pounding with anger.

At best, such things can be distracting. At worst—left unchecked—they can be harmful to both your emotional and physical health, robbing you of the simple pleasures of life.

That’s why—for your health’s sake—the experts at Harvard Medical School have created Anger Management: How to Manage Your Volatile Feelings in a Skillful Way. It’s the research-proven online guide that reveals the effective tools to help redirect your anger in a more positive direction.

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Yes, anger can be a good thing when we channel it in positive ways.

But more often than not, volatile anger feelings can inflame our emotions—leading to regrettable consequences on our relationships or our jobs. Left unchecked, anger can also lead to harmful physical consequences including high blood pressure, headaches gastrointestinal distress, and anxiety.

That’s where Harvard’s Anger Management practical online guide can help.

Step-by-step, our experts reveal dozens of effective strategies to help DEFUSE anger-provoking situations and CONTROL your temper in a constructive way. You’ll discover …
  • The healthier way to get your anger “off your chest” (Angry venting may be satisfying for a moment, it can lead to more anger and unhealthy consequences.) 
  • Why “sleeping on” your anger—hoping you’ll wake up calmer—may only make matters worse. Find out what to do instead
  • Going for a drive to cool off?  Stop! Discover smarter ways to stay safe when you’re angry
  • 6 inflammatory words that fuel anger—and healthier words you can use to help keep the peace
  • How to let go of a consuming angry grudge you may be harboring against someone
  • How to get over an issue that’s bothering you.  The simple “redirection” strategy can help turn down an angry temperature
  • How to help break a lingering grievance narrative loop with the simple “memory updating” approach
  • How to prevent an angry or aggressive response to a provocative situation with powerful steps to cultivate empathy and forgiveness
  • How to move past anger caused by a grievance with 7 strategies that help solve the problem
  • How to handle difficulties in a healthy way—with a positive “self-talk” approach to defuse anger-provoking situations
This Special Health Report was prepared by Harvard Health Publishing in consulation with Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School, Board and Faculty Member, Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy (2023).
Anger can sometimes linger because we tell ourselves the same anger-inducing stories over and over again—a practice that only serves to remind us of who or what has hurt us in the past.
These stories are sometimes known as grievance narratives, and reliving them and embellishing them with more negative feelings usually leaves a person feeling upset, sad, depressed, and, in many cases, helpless. An easy way to tell that you’re trapped in a grievance narrative is if you find yourself telling the same story to the same person more than once.
But if you can break the grievance narrative loop, you may be on your way to reducing the angry memories and hurts that can sometimes flood the mind.
One strategy to ease the pain of negative memories includes attaching a positive meaning to a past event. Did a painful episode teach you a lesson in resilience? Did it allow you to pursue something that worked out well (the “when one door closes, another opens” idea)?
This concept is called “memory updating,” and it can take some practice and repetition for positive memories to attach or reshape memories that used to make you angry. Still, it’s a worthwhile endeavor. A 2021 study in the scientific journal Nature suggests that people who practice memory updating may have improved mental health.


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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Everyone worries or gets scared sometimes. But if you feel extremely worried or afraid much of the time, or if you repeatedly feel panicky, you may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses, affecting roughly 40 million American adults each year. This Special Health Report, Anxiety and Stress Disorders, discusses the latest and most effective treatment approaches, including cognitive behavioral therapies, psychotherapy, and medications. A special section delves into alternative treatments for anxiety, such as relaxation techniques, mindfulness meditation, and biofeedback.

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