• Anger is a human emotion that can serve an important function of alerting us to a situation we need to attend to.
  • How we express anger is sometimes something we learn. How did my parents express anger? How did my family & friends react when I expressed anger? Were there messages about how anger was expressed? What were the pros and cons of the way anger was expressed for each person?

 Direct Signs of Anger: a surge of energy, raised voice, yelling, cursing, headaches, stomach aches, tightness in the throat, increased heart rate or blood pressure, clenched fists, threatening others, pushing, shoving, hitting, feeling violated, threatened, or insignificant.

Indirect Signs of Anger: excessive sleeping, chronic fatigue, anxiety, numbness, sulking, overeating, loss of appetite, criticizing, hostile joking, abuse of alcohol or drugs.

  • Because we learn how to express anger, we can also learn how to choose our reactions rather than automatically respond.

Ways to Calm in the Moment

  • Remove yourself from a situation that makes you angry.

o   Your response is within your control. Slow yourself down by counting to 10 or by breathing slowly and deeply inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.

o   When you feel calm enough to express yourself effectively, you can try to resolve the situation that caused your anger. If you feel your anger return, remove yourself once again.

Identify your "Triggers"

  • Write out your feelings and thoughts.
  • Examine the thoughts you have just before becoming angry.
  •  Identify patterns or themes for what triggers your anger?
  • Trace what might be common themes for the sources of your anger.
  • Consider speaking to a mental health professional about your triggers and sources of anger.

Communicating with Others

  • When you can discuss the issue effectively without being overcome with anger, try. If you start to feel angry while you're talking, calm yourself again.
  • Remind yourself of the positive aspects of a situation or person, what the other perspectives might be in the situation and the possible mutual benefits of resolving a problem.
  • You might start by naming your goal, "I hope we can hear each other's perspectives and find a solution that works for both of us."
  • You might share what your concerns are followed by seeking the other person's perspective.
  • Listen to the other person's perspective with as much attention as you would like them to hear you.
  • Give yourself additional time to process what they've said by paraphrasing back what you heard and asking if what you heard is accurate. Allow for clarification if needed.
  • By working together, you are more likely to find a better understanding and possibly a solution.


Free, confidential counseling is available at the University Counseling Center, 206 Health Services Building, 610-519-4050.



In an emergency, call Villanova Public Safety at 610-519-4444.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 988.