Anger is an emotion characterised by feelings of frustration,  irritation, hostility, or rage targeted towards someone or ourselves. This could be because the person feels deliberately mistreated, or if their wellbeing and social status have been threatened or not respected.

Anger can be suppressed or overtly expressed. It’s often a learned way of dealing with the world (no one is an inherently angry person) and can become a default emotion early in life.

Anger can be good if it allows people to express negative feelings or motivates them to find solutions to problems. However, frequent and heightened experiences of this emotion can have a negative impact on mental and physical health.

Anger in men, like in anyone, is a natural emotion. It can be triggered by various factors, including societal expectations, stress, relationship conflicts, and unresolved trauma. Due to traditional gender norms, men may be more prone to types of anger that discourage emotional expression, leading them to suppress feelings until they boil over. Additionally, societal pressures to appear dominant, strong and in control can exacerbate anger problems.

How it manifests

Anger in men can manifest in a few ways:

Physical manifestations: You may exhibit physical signs like clenched fists, tensed muscles, a raised voice, and an aggressive posture when angry.
Emotional suppression: You may have been conditioned to suppress your emotions, including anger, which can lead to an internalised expression of anger. This might manifest as withdrawal, silence, or passive-aggressive behaviour or physical ill health.
Risk-taking behaviour: You may channel your anger into risk-taking behaviours like substance abuse or reckless driving.
Violence: In some cases, unmanaged anger can escalate into physical violence, posing a risk to yourself and others around you.

Top tips

Learning how to identify and manage anger can lead to growth and change for the better.
Here are some tips to better manage your anger:

Practise relaxation techniques
Learn relaxation techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation to calm yourself during moments of anger. Try the 4-7-8 breathing exercise – breathe in for four counts, hold for seven counts, and breathe out for eight counts. This helps to calm you down and prevents you from an impulsive reaction.

Separate the emotion from the behaviour
They are two different things. Learn to separate the two. You can have the emotion of anger, but you don’t have to engage in unhelpful or destructive behaviours.

Communication skills
Improving your communication skills surrounding your emotions involves both self-awareness and empathy. Reflect on your own emotions and learn to express them effectively, while also being attuned to the emotions of those you’re communicating with, fostering better understanding and connection.

“I had been suffering from unexplained anger outbursts throughout my adult life. Therapy helped me get to the root of this and taught me how to manage my emotional responses to my triggers.”

Mark, 51

When to see a therapist  

It’s important for you to seek help when anger becomes chronic, uncontrollable, or starts affecting relationships, work or physical health. When your feelings are becoming overwhelming and they are affecting your life in a negative way and impacting the lives of people around you, it’s time to ask for qualified help.