Anger Management

Relationships

Anger is a normal human emotion that we all experience from time to time. When it is dealt with appropriately, it allows us to express our feelings and provides an outlet for frustration. However, anger can often become destructive and unmanageable, and uncontrolled anger can create problems in your work, school, and personal life.

Feelings of anger can range from mild feelings of irritation to intense rage and fury, and can be caused by both internal and external factors. Expressing anger in a healthy way involves:

  • assertively letting others know what your needs and wants are,
  • assertively letting others know how to get your needs and wants met,
  • and doing this in a respectful manner without hurting others.

There are many approaches to correcting the unhealthy expression of anger. This list is meant to help reform the thought processes of individuals with anger management problems. The following are specific personality characteristics attained by controlling behavior in these ways:

  • Direct: make behavior visible and communication clear,
  • Honorable: identify the moral basis of their anger and take responsibility for actions,
  • Focused: stay with the issue of concern and do not bring up irrelevant issues,
  • Courageous: careful and thoughtful self-examination and be willing to admit it when you are wrong,
  • Humility: seek the truth instead of being defensive and self-justifying,
  • Forgiveness: acknowledge the wrong in another person’s behavior and let go of the associated bitterness and resentment,
  • Listening: hear the other person out and ask questions about their feelings to fully understand them,
  • Thankfulness: find elements of the situation that you genuinely appreciate and express that.

In addition to thinking about these personality characteristics and the communication techniques that accompany them, individuals with anger management issues can regularly practice relaxation techniques that can change their outlook:

  • deep breathing,
  • exercise to relieve stress,
  • repeating a calm word or phrase such as “take it easy” or “it’s not worth the anger,”
  • use imagery to visualize a positive and relaxing result of the situation you are in,
  • use humor to help yourself see the lighter side of issues,
  • and change your environment for a brief or prolonged period of time to prevent yourself from flying into rage.

Below is a list of resources that provides more information about positive ways to manage anger in social, work, and school situations.

Last Updated: 6/13/2011