Determine the Frequency, Intensity, and Duration of Your Anger

By Charles H. Elliott, Laura L. Smith, W. Doyle Gentry

To understand how much of a problem you have with anger, you need to look at how frequently you experience the emotion, how long it lasts, and how intensely you feel it. Obviously, if you feel frequent, intense, and long-lasting anger, you have a problem, and your anger likely interferes with your life and relationships. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How frequently do you feel irritated, annoyed, or angry? Generally, if you experience angry feelings more than two or three times a week, it’s probably a good idea to look at whether you have situations or stressors that need to be addressed. However, your anger intensity and duration may matter more.

  • Just how mad do you get? Everyone gets annoyed from time to time. And frankly, most people experience anger here and there. But most people don’t punch holes in walls or aggressively threaten people. The intensity of your anger is excessive if you become violent, hysterical, vicious, scary to other people, or out of control. There’s no really simple, valid, numerical scale of how much anger is too much, but you get the idea.

  • How long do you stay mad? Some people get over their anger quickly. Others dwell and ruminate for hours, days, or even longer, sometimes for years.

Negative emotions like anger are normal parts of human experience. Anger becomes a problem when it detracts from the quality of your work, pleasure, and relationships.