What is Anger?

August 18, 2016

Everyone feels angry at some point. Anger is a normal emotional and physical response. It can energise us into action and help us make life saving decisions. Used under control anger can help us cope with stress, threats, hurt and frustration. Used in a positive way anger can help us change a situation but it can become a problem if it is:

  • Happening too often
  • Causing problems in your life at home and at school
  • Used to get your own way
  • Turned against yourself in ways that can harm your body
  • Not spoken about and bottled up
  • Taken out on someone else

When something happens to make you angry, your brain thinks it has to protect itself from danger so it releases chemicals – oxygen, hormones and adrenaline to fuel your body so you can either fight the threat or run from it. This is called the “Flight” of “Fight Response”. When this happens our teeth and fists can clench, our shoulders and muscles tense up, our heart pumps faster, our breathing get faster as we start to sweat and shake and our stomach begins to churn over. These are natural bodily reactions to warn us that we are feeling stressed.


There are lots of reasons why we may feel angry, sometimes we may not know why or we may find it hard to tell anyone how we feel. Some of the reasons could be:

  • Being hurt
  • Feeling threatened
  • Having to do something we don’t want to do
  • Not being listened to
  • Family changes
  • Arguments at home
  • Being blamed for something we haven’t done
  • Things not going our way

All these can leave us feeling angry and we may not be able to control how we react. We might:

  • Shout or cause arguments at home
  • Slam doors and break things
  • Start fights at school
  • Fall out with friends
  • Shout at or pick on people
  • Lose control
  • Cry
  • Start drinking or using drugs to block out the angry feelings

Do any of these sound familiar?  If so don’t worry. By understanding more about your anger and how to deal with it will make you feel:-


How does anger occur?

Anger is about how you react to a situation, not the situation itself. It is your thoughts and beliefs that make you angry!

The Anger Gremlin Model

Think of your anger as a hungry Gremlin sat on your shoulder. Before you get angry a trigger would start to make you feel angry. The more you begin to think negatively about it, the angrier you will become and you will begin to “feed” the hungry Gremlin with your thoughts.

Hungry                          Feeding                             Full

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The trigger           Thoughts and beliefs       Angry Reaction

The bigger your anger becomes, the bigger the Gremlin to the extent that he will become full to explode! In the same way the more you become angry the more likely you are to think, feel and react in a negative way. You are more likely to start shouting, lashing out, swearing and acting out your anger and lose control.

Your anger will then become a vicious cycle as you begin to think angry thoughts, feel physically and emotionally angry and then start to act out your anger. You become the Angry Gremlin.

The Angry Gremlin Cycledownload

The more this vicious cycle develops, the more likely you are to react in the same way the next time the same trigger comes along. And the more you react negatively to a specific trigger, the more likely you are to react negatively when something else triggers your anger. Before long you develop a habit of reacting negatively whenever you become angry about anything.

Angry people often feel they have no control of their feelings and don’t know what or how to stop feeling angry.

So what can you do?

You need to starve the angry gremlin by thinking differently about things and trying to express your anger in a more positive way.

So here is an emergency top 10 tip list to help you.


  • STOP and take time out – remove yourself from the person or situation that made you angry.
  • Use a TRIGGER word – to tell others that you are feeling angry and need space to calm down.
  • USE DISTRACTIONS – take deep breaths, go for a walk or run, count to ten, listen to music.
  • KEEP CALM – try to ignore it if you can.
  • THINK – try and look at it from the other persons point of view. How would they feel.
  • CHALLENGE – ask yourself why you feel angry. Is it worth it?
  • BE REAL – ask yourself is what you are thinking true. Have you blown it out of proportion by over thinking?
  • CHANGE YOUR THINKING – think about how you SHOULD react to keep calm.
  • TAKE TIME – to calm down and think.
  • NOW TALK it through – tell someone how you feel.

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