Articles >> Personal Development

Stress Can Lead to Anger but Stress Doesn't Equal Anger

By Robert Cordray

When was the last time you became stressed out? Or how about the last time you became angry? These two emotions are common for all peoples in the world. No matter who you are or what your background, at some point stress and anger creep in.

But stress does not have to equal anger, even though anger is a common reaction to stress. Learning to recognize the differences between anger and stress and react appropriately can quell a lot of heartache in our lives.


person being stressed

In today's busy world stress is unavoidable. Having too much to do with such little time everyone experiences this emotion. Severe stress strains both mental and physical aspects of our bodies. Heart rate increases, blood-pressure rises, and breathing becomes more rapid.

Over time chronic stress can lead to physical and psychological problems. Stress produces cortisol which suppresses the immune system. Immunosuppression can lead to illness. Hi cortisol levels also wreak havoc on our hearts. Increased heart rate and increased blood lipid levels are risk factors for strokes and heart attacks, all stemming from chronic stress.


angry person's hand

Anger is an emotional reaction when one feels like they've been offended or wronged. Most people experience anger from time to time. It may be something as simple as a slight irritation, or something more complicated like a furious rage, but no one can escape this motion. Stress can easily lead to feelings of anger.

Like stress anger also has effects on a persons psyche and physical health. Anger also releases adrenaline and cortisol into the blood to speed up the heart rate and increase energy. Repeatedly going through these fight or flight emotions when it comes to anger can do damage to the heart and blood vessels.

Anger vs. Stress

The lines between anger and stress can often become blurred. Confusing the difference between stress and anger is not right. In times of high stress people lash out with anger. The fundamental difference is that anger is an emotional response that can be controlled by the person. Stress, like anger, is also a response, but it is due to factors which are not easily controllable.

Managing Stress and Anger

Learning how to manage both stress and anger is crucial for those who suffer. If coming under immense stress means you lash out in anger at others around you, those emotions must be controlled by learning coping skills! Here are a few tips.

  • Talk with someone you trust to help relieve stress.
  • Learn to deal with anger, not indulge or avoid it. Anger is a natural emotion and should be expressed, albeit expressed very carefully.
  • Avoid self-medicating with drugs or alcohol to cope with your issues.
  • Keeping the body physically healthy and rested can do wonders in managing anger and stress.
  • Exercise can also help burn off the toll stress can dish out on our bodies.
  • Enjoying healthy foods and snacks while limiting the amount of caffeine we indulge in can manage stress levels.
  • Getting plenty of sleep helps us deal with our problems in a rested state.
  • Develop a support network to rely on.
  • Family and close friends, and in some cases coworkers, can provide emotional support. Coping with stress by relying on those closest to us.
  • Finally, seek professional guidance when anger and stress are impeding normal daily activities.

About the Author

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer for Noomii provides all type of coaching for those desiring some unibiased guidance and help. He is currently living in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife and three children.


The above guest post is published based on the premise that it will be helpful and informative. The opinions made within it are those of the author and not of The links you may find within this post do not necessarily imply our recommendation or endorsement of the views expressed within them.


Debi says:

What is the difference between stress and anger management?

sunny says:

Anger is an emotion. Anger management is learning how to control the emotion of anger. Stress, on the other hand, is not an emotional response in the strict sense of the word. It is a type of complex response to external factors, one that involves several layers of our being, including emotions, thoughts as well as our physical organization.

case says:

thanks for share!

mars says:

@Debi: Distinguishing stress and anger is trivial, but stress can lead to anger and other destructive emotions. One absolutely fantastic way to gain control over stress and to get rid of it entirely is meditation. For beginners, I recommend transcendental meditation.

sunny says:

Hi mars
Thanks for the suggestion. Indeed, regular meditation practice is great for dealing with stress. It works especially well if you manage to establish long-term meditation habit and never skip a day without meditation. You may want to check this page for more tips on establishing regular meditation routine.

Zelda says:

I'm always being told to stop stressing but that just makes me more angry. Sometimes when I'm unclear about college material for example & the lecturer says we will go over the subject matter, then doesn't it upsets me because I then didn't get enough information to finish an Assignment for example. If I ask other students about the same questions or tell them what's that stressing? When people say they'll be there to fetch you at a certain time and then you have to keep calling them to remind them that they are all ready that stressing?

sunny says:

Hi Zelda. Thanks for the comment. You are right of course. Being told to stop stressing often provokes the opposite reaction. I believe the key is to accept the things we cannot change. You cannot change another person. You can only accept them for what they are. It's not always easy, and indeed it can be stressful. But accepting things as they are is a skill that can be learned. It can be learned, for example, by simply being aware of your reactions at first, and then slowly correcting your emotional and mental states.

Your Comment: