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Expressing Anger

Being diagnosed with kidney disease can bring up many thoughts and feelings of anger.

A person may be angry with getting the disease, your body, luck, yourself, others, specific situations or your faith. Anger can come and go over time. It can help to talk to someone you trust and practice ways of calming yourself in the event of unpleasant situations.

Recognize your anger:

Identify when you are feeling angry. Sometimes people may act out their anger even before realizing they are angry. Pay attention to your body and thoughts. Is your breathing, muscle tension and heart rate increasing? Is your thinking clear, logical and realistic? Do you act out by yelling, hitting, withdrawing, or screaming?

Is anger masking other feelings?

Your anger may also be mixed with other distressful feelings such as fear, worry, uncertainty, sadness or anxiety and/or your feelings may be triggered by physical pain, discomfort or hunger.

Discuss your thoughts and feelings:

Choose someone from your circle of support who you can talk to about your feelings. This could be a trusted family member, friend, a social worker or member of your healthcare team. 

Managing Anger

Express your feelings in a healthy way as soon as you notice the anger. If you wait until your anger has built up, you are more likely to express it in an unhealthy way.

Let go of anger energy in a positive way:

  • Keep track of what triggers your angry feelings and how your body responds
  • Listen to calming music or watch your favorite movie
  • Do a physical exercise or activity
  • Do calming activities such as yoga, relaxation exercises (see our Breathing Exercise & Progressive Muscle Relaxation handouts), meditation, prayer, painting or writing in a journal to help manage stressors  

Change your setting:

Take a brisk walk. Leave the person, place or thing that is raising your feelings of anger. Even a five-minute walk can be useful in easing the intensity of your feelings.

Build in quiet time:

When you expect something stressful to happen, give yourself some "quiet time" before and after. Quiet time before allows you check in and do some planning. Quiet time after lets you release the feelings linked to stress.

Reframe thinking:

When your feelings are intense, your thinking can get exaggerated and overly dramatic.  Try to consider other ways of understanding the situation.  For instance: say you told your friend you were feeling very sick and she told you that there are people worse off than you. If your first thought was, "I hate you, I never want to see you again," you could pause for a moment and question your thoughts. A calmer way of thinking would be something like: "I am upset and my feelings are hurt."

Try to express your hurt in productive way. Do this each time you feel anger and may help you get a more balanced outlook.


Our anger and frustration can be caused by very real problems in our lives. Anger can be a normal response to needs not being met. Ask yourself: "what do I want to do about it?" Use your problem-solving skills to gauge what changes you can make so your needs can be dealt with.

If you need additional support, please contact a BC Renal social worker.

*This content was originally created by BC Cancer and repurposed by BC Renal

SOURCE: Expressing Anger ( )
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