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It’s Not Just You – This Is Why Everyone Is So Much Angrier These Days


Like most people, I feel that I’ve fundamentally changed since the pandemic. In some ways, I’m a better person. I have a far bigger capacity for grief and messy emotions and I feel much more ‘myself’ than I ever have.

Sadly, though, I’m also a little worse. I’m so angry. Not cartoonishily angry with a big, red face and gritted teeth but rather in my bones, more than anything, I know that I’m much more of an angry person than I ever have been before.

In fact, I distinctly remember saying I just wasn’t an angry person for most of my life.

I miss that version of myself that doesn’t feel this guttural rage and frustration — I was much sweeter.

That being said, can you blame me? It’s not like we’ve had the most stable decade so far.

If this all sounds like you, you’re not alone.

Why we’re all angrier than before

According to the Gallup Global Emotions Report, anger around the world has been rising since 2016, with 23% of respondents now feeling angry on any given day.

Additionally, according to new research from the Institute of Customer Service, 60% of customer service workers have experienced hostility in the past year. Nearly half of those who faced abuse said callers were becoming more aggressive because of stock issues and staff shortages.

As we face more and more difficulties amidst a cost of living crisis, global injustices and here in the UK, more cuts to our treasured National Health Service meaning that people aren’t getting the support they need, tensions are rising.

According to UK mental health charity Mind: “We may feel anger at having been treated badly or unfairly by others. Our anger may be a reaction to difficult experiences in our daily life, our past, or in the world around us.

“Or it may be a way to cope with other emotions. For example, we may feel anger alongside feeling attacked, powerless, embarrassed or scared.”

It’s not a reach to read that and draw conclusions about our own lives and the world around us. In fact, anger is more than justified in the face of such difficulties, but how can we leverage it?

According to science magazine Greater Good: “Research overwhelmingly indicates that feeling angry increases optimism, creativity, effective performance—and research suggests that expressing anger can lead to more successful negotiations, in life or on the job.”

So it’s not about being less angry but controlling your anger and even potentially using it to create goodness. Whether this is creativity, activism, or even improving your interpersonal relationships.

How to control your anger

Mind recommends taking the following steps to combat anger:

  • Think to yourself ‘I’m feeling really angry right now’ without trying to justify it or understand why. Accepting the feeling without trying to explain it can sometimes be helpful
  • Take yourself out of the situation. You could go for a walk, go to a different room or log off if the situation is online
  • Use a code word for when you feel angry. You could say this to others or to yourself to signal that you need some time to yourself before talking any further. This may help you avoid having to explain yourself in the moment
  • Focus on what’s around you. Try listing 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste
  • Focus on your breath. Breathe slowly and deeply. Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Some people find it helpful to count while doing this
  • Use a grounding object. Keep a small object with you to hold and focus on when you feel angry. For example, you could use a marble, a fidget toy or a piece of fabric
  • Keep notes on your phone with reminders to yourself about what to do when you feel angry

Help and support:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI – this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).
  • CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.
  • The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email help@themix.org.uk
  • Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on rethink.org.





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