The Difference Between Anger and Rage

Do you feel frustrated when things don’t seem to go your way, someone hurts you or you’re embarrassed? Do your emotions sometimes go out of control such that you only see red?

Anger and rage are words that are commonly used interchangeably, but are in fact separated by a fine line. Anger is a primary emotion felt in the present alongside other emotions such as fear, shame or frustration.

Rage, on the other hand, is the most extreme degree of anger. When your fury becomes reactive, uncontrollable and violent, you are experiencing rage. Rage negatively affects your well-being and must be dealt with to protect your mental and physical health.

Side By Side Comparison Between Anger and Rage

Here is a table that compares anger vs rage to help you better understand the difference between the two:

Focuses on the presentFocuses on the past
Can be controlledIs uncontrollable
Can be healthy and unhealthyIs always unhealthy
Is mostly non-violentIs violent and destructive
Is a quick responseIs a build-up of emotions
Seeks to solve problemsCreates further divisions
Seeks to understand the situation and focuses on “me”Seeks to blame others


Anger is a primary emotion and is experienced multiple times in our lives when we are scared, frustrated or embarrassed. Anger can be a healthy indication of your sensitivity to your surroundings and if channeled positively, it can be a source of energy and motivation to carry out different activities in your life.

However, anger can also be negative in the sense that if it is not kept in check and dealt with immediately, it can impact your mental health as well as your physical health. For example, you can become more susceptible to anxiety disorders, headaches, and high blood pressure.

Causes of Anger

There are several circumstances in one’s life that can trigger anger. Here are some reasons why you may feel upset and angry:

  • stress about work and finances
  • being mistreated at home or at work.
  • feeling humiliated
  • things are not going the way you planned them
  • struggling with your relationships

Symptoms of Anger

Anger manifests itself both physically and mentally. Here are some anger symptoms through which you can recognize anger.

Physical Symptoms

  • increased heart rate
  • tensed muscles
  • tightness in your chest
  • feeling hot

Mental Symptoms

  • irritability
  • nervousness
  • resentment
  • tension

Overcoming Anger

Anger can harm your health if it is not dealt with positively. It is important to be aware of yourself and learn how to manage your negative emotions.

Here are some effective ways that you can overcome your anger:

Deep Breathing

Anger is focused on issues in the present. Therefore, one of the most effective and immediate solutions to deal with anger there and then is through deep breaths.

Deep breathing increases the oxygen flow to your brain and calms your nerves. This clears your head and allows you to think more logically and with a problem-solving attitude.

To practice this exercise, you can use multiple breathing techniques. For example, place a hand on your stomach, close your eyes and gradually inhale. Then, hold your breath and count to five. Following that, slowly exhale. After doing this for a few minutes you will feel much calmer.

Talk it out

Sometimes, it helps to let out your anger by talking to someone else. This could be a person, who is not involved in the situation and is willing to listen to you, empathize with you and offer you advice. In case your anger is the result of a conflict with someone, you can talk to them directly and come to an agreement through conversation.

This is a means of channeling your anger positively and logically, rather than by letting your emotions control you.

Give Yourself a Break

If you feel angry, you must realize that what your mind needs the most is a break. Walking away from the situation for a while and pondering over it helps calm the overwhelming surge of fury in your head and enables you to look at the matter from a different perspective.

Immediate reactions in a moment of anger can be dangerous and regrettable which is why you must give yourself some time before you deal with the issue at hand.

Get Sufficient Sleep

Sleeping late and that too just for a few hours can be a major cause of anger. When your mind and body do not get the time they need to rejuvenate, you are not able to function properly. You feel irritable and get frustrated at the smallest of matters.

It is therefore important to ensure that you get at least 6-8 hours of sleep at night so that you feel fresh and are able to positively deal with the problems that come your way.

Enroll In An Anger Management Course

Anger management class is a useful tool to learn how to cope with unhealthy anger. They help you understand your anger issues, get to the root of your problems and equip you with tips to keep yourself in check.

You can enroll in courses of durations that vary from 4 to 52 hours, depending on the amount of help you are seeking and you can take them at your own pace. Getting outside help allows you to see things from another perspective and deal with your anger more positively.

Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC

Dr. Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC specializes in anger management, family conflict resolution, marital and premarital conflict resolution. His extensive knowledge in the field of anger management may enable you to use his tested methods to deal with your anger issues.


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