6 Healthy Ways to Channel Your Anger Into Something Good

Time to turn your anger into (positive!) power.

How to channel anger for change - rage baking
Photo: Getty Images

If you're reading this, you're probably angry—and that's OK. Anger is a natural human emotion that's typically a reaction to the event of feeling of frustration, powerlessness, injustice, or a threat. Anger seems to be spilling over everywhere, from social media comments to political debates to news broadcasts and anywhere in between.

If it feels like your temper is always running hot these days, you're not alone. Most of this anger comes from feeling out of control, according to Jenny Yip, PsyD, ABPP, clinical psychologist, author, and speaker. "When we feel anxious and angry, it's often because we're feeling like we're stuck and there's no solution," she says. Whenever there is uncertainty or injustice (or both)—whether on a personal, micro level or in the world at large—Yip says there are a lot of reasons for people to be angry. You're not overreacting, you're reacting like a human.

But being angry all the time isn't healthy for you—or the people around you. "If your anger is pent up with no healthy outlet, it's going to be directed to innocent people and innocent situations," Yip says. "You have to be able to manage your anger in a healthy way."

To start, step away from your computer, put down that bottle of merlot, and look for healthier ways to channel your anger into power and positivity. Here's where to start.

01 of 06

Zoom out a bit.

Sometimes, when you're in the thick of your feelings, it can be hard to get perspective on what's happening and why you're angry—and that's when it's good to take a step back. "When you're angry, you're just seeing that red bullseye," Yip says. "You need to zoom out of that to be able to get perspective."

02 of 06

Get a little creative.

Take a look at the source of your anger from multiple angles, to see if there's a way to help channel it elsewhere and change things for the better. An example from Yip: the college students who rented their own group apartments when their schools went virtual in order to still get a bit of that college experience. "If we're able to think outside the box and find healthy solutions, it'll help us feel less stuck," she says.

03 of 06

Take a deep breath.

There's a sound reason people recommend breathing when you're mad. "When you're feeling angry, your body's fight or flight response is triggered, and you're not getting enough oxygen into your body," Dr. Yip says. "Try some breathing exercises or meditation to help." Deep breathing can help stop the stress response. Once you're feeling calmer and more in control, you'll be able to think more clearly, be less impulsive, and take actions that benefit you (and others)—not the opposite.

04 of 06

Make your voice heard.

We're not talking about arguing with your cousin on Facebook. But writing to your representatives about your concerns, donating your time and/or money to a cause or candidate, or simply joining a grassroots organization can help you use your energy toward the change you want.

05 of 06

Talk about it.

Part of channeling your anger in a healthy way is actually let it come out—if your bubbling anger is a pressure cooke, you have to release the steam valve. But it matters how you express your strong emotions. Chatting with like-minded friends and loved ones about your feelings can help you vent in an effective way. "You'll have to be careful who you're speaking with—choose someone useful," Yip says. "If you're on social media arguing with other people, you're just adding fuel to your anger."

06 of 06

Distract yourself.

If all else fails, finding another avenue to channel your energy can take your mind off of what's making you mad. Taking a walk, starting a new hobby, baking, cleaning out the garage, watching a comedy, exercising, losing yourself in a good book—as long as it takes your mind off of your problem for a while, it can help you bring your anger under control.

Was this page helpful?
Real Simple is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy.
  1. Perciavalle V, Blandini M, Fecarotta P, et al. The role of deep breathing on stress. Neurol Sci. 2017;38(3):451-458. doi:10.1007/s10072-016-2790-8

Related Articles