The term ‘anger management’ is used to acknowledge that anger is an inevitable, natural human emotion. It is not about getting rid of anger; rather it is about dealing with those emotions so you can express your anger more productively.
Consider the following tips and ideas to assist you in managing your anger:
1. Keep a journal. Such reflection helps you become aware of your anger patterns and as such enables you to do something about them. When thinking about your anger, consider the following:
How long does each anger episode last?
How do you express anger?
How often do you become angry?
What triggered your anger?
How do you feel physically?
How do you feel emotionally?
What do you do when other people get angry with you?
Gaining awareness puts you into a position to think about what you would like to do differently. What is a more productive way to respond?
2. Accept that you do not always have to be right.
3. Learn acceptance of yourself and others.
4. Realise you cannot control the world. You may say “they can’t do that to me”. Actually they can and they did (whether it is right or not).
5. Own your anger rather than blaming the other person for your anger. You have chosen to respond the way you have and this has led to you feeling the way you do.
6. Learn to express your feelings when someone has upset you. So try “I feel angry because of what you just said to me”, rather than saying, “that has made me angry”.
7. Try forgiveness. Let go of anger from your past.
8. Learn how to compromise and accept it is not the end of the world.
9. Count down from 100 until you feel the anger has passed and you are in control once more.
10. Learn ‘thought stopping’. This is useful when you continue to go over and over a particular episode that caused you to feel angry. Consciously stop yourself thinking those thoughts, by saying and thinking ‘STOP’ to yourself.
11. Be assertive. Learn to say what you want and express how you feel, without resorting to verbal or physical abuse.
12. Exercise or do something physical to help release the emotions.
13. Learn how to relax.
14. Listen to the other person and try to see things from their point of view.
15. Learn the right way to resolve conflict.
16. Learn to manage stress.
17. Learn to problem solve:
a) define your problem;
b) choose your goal;
c) brainstorm possibilities and solutions;
d) consider the consequences of each possibility;
e) choose the most appropriate solution;
f) plan and implement your chosen solution;
g) evaluate the outcome.
18. Change your thinking. Thoughts such as ‘never’, ‘always’, ‘must’, ‘have to’ are not realistic and are not helpful. You put a lot of burden on yourself and others when you think this way. Challenge these thoughts and construct more realistic alternatives.
19. See a counsellor.
20. Attend an anger management group