Ask An Expert: Why Am I So Angry?

Collage / Alessandra Banal

Physiotherapist and breathwork coach Emma Ferris answers one reader’s burning question about stress.

Q: I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and stressed for some time, trying to balance work and family commitments, and lately, the stress has been tipping over into anger. The smallest things irritate me, I’m snapping at my loved

A: Emotions guide us to survive and thrive. Your body speaks to you; anger is one way it can be saying it needs you to change how you are doing things. Anger is normal, but it can signify that our hormones and nervous system have been overridden in stress mode. It can also be from someone overstepping a boundary, feeling unsupported or unsafe.

While anger against others is not okay, learning to release anger healthily is necessary for releasing tension. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all model to shift out of being hijacked by anger. You can take a few steps throughout the day and long term to help you find more moments of joy.

Your body and mind need to know they are safe. When we feel overwhelmed or threatened, we can breathe shorter and take bigger breaths into our upper chest. This pattern can keep us on the verge of anger explosion from a physical level.

The first and most powerful thing you can do is to deflate the chest by breathing out the mouth. Do this once; imagine it’s like a balloon deflating, and allow the tension you have been holding to melt. Repeat the long exhales throughout the day to release the pressure created when needed.

Anger and a short fuse can result from the body and mind being on the treadmill of life and not taking time to recharge or say no. Take some time to consider what you need support with and what you can say no to daily. By saying no to others, you can say yes to yourself and start putting on your oxygen mask. This may be very foreign to many, but healthy boundaries can reduce the feeling of anger and feeling like you can be stretched too thin.

Finally, the opposite of anger is kindness. Self-compassion is one of the best tools to help shift the mind from anger mode. You can remind yourself it is normal to get triggered, that others get hijacked, that it is your body and mind asking for you to listen to it, and that you have the power to reset back to calm every day.

Emma Ferris is a Wanaka-based mind and body coach who runs The Breath Effect. Through her wellbeing workshops, online courses and retreats, she takes a no-holds-barred dive into the reality of stress, illness, mindset and past trauma.

Unlock this article and all our Viva Premium content by subscribing to 

Share this article: