How to Calm Down When Pissed Off

Use a variety of techniques to calm yourself when you get mad.
Use a variety of techniques to calm yourself when you get mad. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Angry feelings can vary in intensity, from fleeting annoyance to overwhelming wrath. When you feel the emotion of anger, physiological symptoms like increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure can occur simultaneously. Adrenaline often causes people to vent when they get angry, lashing out at external circumstances or people. Although expressing anger is important for emotional health, try to calm down when pissed off and then you can sort through your feelings after the intensity passes.

Step back away from the situation that set you off, if possible. Take a walk to remove yourself from the situation physically.

Focus on the thoughts running through your mind. Often when you become overwhelmed with angry feelings, your thought pattern becomes disorganized and irrational. If you can recognize incoherent and unreasonable thoughts and replace them with thoughts that are more levelheaded, your anger may dissipate.

Inhale and exhale deeply, concentrating on your breathing. Sometimes simply focusing on breathing in and out for several minutes can help you relax.

Count to focus your mind on something other than your angry feelings. Keep counting until the intensity passes.

Choose a short phrase that you can repeat to yourself. Say something like “calm down” or “I’m okay” over and over again under your breath, as you bring your feelings under control.

Close your eyes and imagine something peaceful. For example, you might think about a waterfall trickling or you might think about floating in the water. Make a conscious effort to use the visualization to calm down.

Sit on the floor or in a chair and close your eyes. Consciously relax every muscle in your body. Go through your muscle groups from head to toe, flexing and then relaxing them, until your entire body relaxes. You may need to repeat this several times until your whole body feels relaxed.

Talk about your feelings after you regain control. Express how you feel and why you feel that way, so you can resolve the situation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid making decisions while you feel angry. When your anger subsides, you may feel differently and regret actions and decisions you made in the heat of emotion.
  • If you can't bring yourself under control with these techniques, at least have the presence of mind to remove yourself from the situation completely, so you won't erupt and hurt someone.
  • If you feel out of control, seek help immediately.
  • Avoid driving when you are angry because you may endanger yourself and others.

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