Anger time-out

How to spot anger and stop it.

Men are generally more explosive in their anger than women, and often express it in more violent ways - violent language, violence against others or themselves, criminal violence or even suicide.

Occasional anger is normal. The best short-term response if you feel you’re losing control is to remove yourself from the situation. If you get angry often, easily or quickly and it is causing stress for you and others, you need to find a way to stop before it leads to something you will regret. Treatment can include CBT, psychotherapy and anger management courses. See the Depression FAQs for more on treatments for stress, anger, anxiety and depression.

The NHS website offers a free guide to anger self help.

How to take a time-out

When you see your warning signs:

  • Remove yourself from the immediate source of stress if you can (you could say ‘I’m going to the bathroom’)
  • Give yourself a simple manual or mental task to ‘distract’ your mind
  • Change scenery – somewhere peaceful such as a library, church, garden
  • Take a walk
  • Turn off social media, especially mobile phones and email
  • Breathe deeply from the waist rather than the chest to relax the body (try this or search YouTube for ‘diaphragmatic breathing’).

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This content is wholly based on the Men's Health Forum's man manual Beat Stress, Feel Better which was prepared in line with the NHS England Information Standard of which the MHF is a member. Follow the links to buy copies.


Date published 31/01/15
Date of last review 18/05/20
Date of next review 18/05/23


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