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Anger, Hostility, and Violent Behavior (cont.)

Check Your Symptoms

Home Treatment

If you are angry, hostile, or violent, it is important to find help. You can learn ways to control your feelings and actions. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline toll-free at 1-800-799-7233 or the National Department on Mental Health at 1-888-793-4357. These agencies can help you find the help you need.

You can control your feelings of anger or hostility and avoid violence.

  • Think before you act. Take time to stop and cool down when you feel yourself becoming angry. Count to 10, or practice some other form of mental relaxation. When you have calmed down, you will be better able to deal with your conflict thoughtfully.
  • Recognize feelings that often lead to angry outbursts. Do you have trouble dealing with feelings of sadness, confusion, or helplessness? Identify these feelings, and develop positive ways to express them.
  • Come up with a reasonable explanation of why you are angry. If a person triggers your anger, suggest to yourself that perhaps the person is having a bad day.
  • Avoid situations that trigger your anger.
    • If you have trouble coping with heavy traffic, try to adjust your work schedule so that you do not have to travel in peak traffic hours.
    • Do errands at less-busy times if standing in line bothers you.
  • Evaluate your lifestyle choices. Anger and hostility may be a symptom of unhappy feelings or depression about your job, your relationship, or other aspects of your personal life.
  • Notice when you start to become angry, and learn to express your feelings in a positive manner. Don't just ignore your anger until you "blow up." Express anger in a healthy way:
    • Give yourself a "time-out." Go someplace quiet to allow yourself time to calm down.
    • Try screaming or yelling in a private place, not at other people.
    • Go for a short walk or jog.
    • Talk about your feelings with a friend. Avoid gossiping about the person you are upset with.
    • Draw, paint, or listen to music to release the anger.
    • Write in a daily journal.
  • Develop assertive skills to replace your aggressive behavior. Use "I" statements, not "you" statements, to discuss your anger. Say "I don't feel valued when my needs are not being met" instead of "You make me mad when you are so inconsiderate."
  • Listen to what the other person has to say. This can be hard. Try to understand his or her point of view. Seek to understand, then to be understood.
  • Explore other resources that may be available through your job or your community.
    • Contact your human resources department at work to see whether you have services available through an employee assistance program.
    • Contact your local hospital, mental health facility, or health department to see what types of programs or support groups are available in your area.
  • Read books on anger and how to handle it.
  • Forgive and forget. Forgiving helps lower blood pressure and ease muscle tension so you can feel more relaxed.
  • Take care of yourself.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Eat a balanced diet. Do not skip meals.
    • Try to get 8 hours of sleep each night.
    • Limit your use of alcohol, and do not use illegal drugs.
  • Practice a relaxation technique such as yoga, meditation, or tai chi.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor to evaluate your feelings if your anger, hostility, or violent behavior becomes more frequent or severe.

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