How to Stop Lashing Out

While anger is natural and often necessary, we must use it for positive change, not let it damage our lives


I recall reading anger is always about love. The argument is compelling, even though it might sound strange. The concept suggests anger uncovers what you love. You stand up for something you believe in, for instance, and your fury is an expression of your outrage against an attack on what you cherish.

Try telling someone beaten to a pulp that the anger that put a fist in their face was something to do with love, however, and you’ll, quite rightly, be put in your place.

In such a case, anger still stems from an unfilled need, but how lack is expressed hurts.

I once knew a man who couldn’t control his anger. He threw a fridge at me when he was annoyed with his boss. Needless to say, I avoided him after that incident. But I always felt sad for him. Understandably, no one wanted to be around him long.

Since anger is unhelpful when used incorrectly, it’s smart to direct your emotions and be composed at the right times. It’s no good throwing fridges, punches, or your weight around. Likewise, road rage or any kind of rage is a problem.

Misdirected emotions

Misdirected emotions are expressions of genuine unmet needs gone awry. Negative anger stems from not knowing what you require or how to get it. It’s a cry in the dark and rises to gain your attention or vent frustration.

It’s often called lashing out.

Extreme stress built over long periods gives people short fuses. They find dealing with challenges hard because they are already anxious.

A hot temper also stems from not knowing how to handle emotions. People might learn to cope with their feelings when young. However, some don’t get the opportunity.

Calm your mind

You can learn to feel calm to help you deal with challenges, whether your hot-hotheadedness comes from stress or lack of know-how.

Anger begins with thoughts. Something you dislike happens, and you tell yourself a story about how it’s wrong.

The moment the story begins, pause.

Notice your heart races and your chest feels tight.

These signs of rising anger signal it’s time to change tack.

Next, take charge of how the tale unravels.

Control your interpretation of events to govern your emotional state.

For example, if you’ve not learned to manage your emotions, and you think someone doesn’t listen when you speak. The story you invent may propose the individual’s mistreating you.

It might go like this:

“She never listens. She doesn’t think I’m valuable. She treats me badly and doesn’t care. Most people walk over me as she does. She should respect me.”

If you were to pause rather than allow the distressing tale to evolve, you might come to a more valuable and realistic conclusion.

“She didn’t hear or maybe didn’t understand what I said. Perhaps she was busy, or I didn’t speak loud enough.”

Discover your unmet needs

When anger rises, but you don’t know why, sit quietly and seek your unfulfilled need.

Write your emotions in a journal and let words flow unrestricted.

Or meditate, noting discomfort in your body such as tension.

What causes your unease?

What’s not going well in your life?

Are you afraid?

What are your fears?

What resources are available to help you?

Who can you talk to for support or ask for advice?


Develop a peaceful mind. If you are calm when challenges arise, you will cope. Mindfulness teaches people to focus so their thoughts don’t tumble out of control.

You can be mindful of whatever you do.

When you walk, for instance, note the process of walking.

Focus on every step.

Notice what your body feels like as you move.

Let unwanted thoughts pass without concentrating on them. When they pop up, move your attention back to what it’s like to walk.

Practice mindfulness to help you relax and release tension. You will learn to focus on thoughts you want and let others fade.


Nature soothes, while human-made chaos creates excitement and unease.

Spend time in the countryside or another natural environment.

Let the tranquil surroundings seep in; soak them up with full consideration.

Once again, when unwanted thoughts come, shift your attention. Notice the sights, sounds, and scents around you.


Meditation is another way to instill calm.

Start with a few minutes a day and focus on the act of breathing.

Find somewhere quiet and close your eyes.

Count to three as you breathe in, and five as you breathe out.

When you are ready, meditate longer.

Picture a serene place where you can relax.

Add details and make the experience rich and absorbing.

Go to your chosen destination in your mind several times a day to relax.


See your physician if you are depressed. There’s no cause for shame or worry; many people find relief from professional help.

Your diet is also important, as what you eat and drink influences your mood. Steer clear of processed foods, sugar, and alcohol in excess. Opt for vegetables, lean protein, nuts, and healthy fats like coconut and olive oil. For greater nutrients, choose brown bread, rice, and pasta over white.

Make ‘me time’ a habit too.

You might enjoy a soak in a hot bubble bath each evening and a run in the morning. Read or listen to music to help you wind down during your lunch break.

List activities that aid relaxation and carry them out at least once daily.

The most efficient way to decrease anger is to create a calm mindset. So learn to regulate your attention and relax. When challenges occur, pause and be mindful of how you interpret events. Always tell yourself a story to aid calm rather than anger.

We are like plants that grow to the sun, always seeking light. Everything we do is our body and soul’s attempt to be healthy, even when this manifests in mysterious ways.

While anger is natural and often necessary, we must use it wisely. Rather than lash out, we must transform it into the wind beneath our wings when we require the clout to do something positive.



Writer, former counselor, author, and avid tea drinker learning how to live well.

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✨ Bridget Webber

Writer, former counselor, author, and avid tea drinker learning how to live well.