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Transcript of Anger Management
The emotion of anger is neither good nor bad. The feeling isn't the problem. It's what you do with it that makes the difference.
Eyebrows down and together, glaring eyes, and narrow lips, we've all seen this expression and done it ourselves. We're angry. Growing up we are all taught different ways to deal with this emotion, and in the process may have developed some myths about anger.
Anger isn't something you can control.
Anger management is all about suppressing your anger.
Why is anger management important?
Out-of-control anger can hurt both your school and work career. Constructive criticism, creative differences, and debate can be good ways to learn and grow. If you are highly reactive, these strategies will likely set you off. Fellow students, professors, and bosses will lose respect for you. Plus, a bad reputation can follow you for a long time, making it hard to advance your career.
Chronic and intense anger will likely damage relationships. Anger can make it hard for people to trust you, feel comfortable, or speak honestly.
I shouldn't "hold in" my anger. It's healthy to vent and let it out.
Although it is true that suppressing or ignoring anger is not healthy, it is also not always beneficial to vent your anger in an aggressive way. Sometimes this can actually fuel your anger and make it worse.
Aggression and intimidation help get me power and respect.
True power and respect don't come from instilling fear in other. People will be more willing to listen and help if you communicate your needs in an assertive and respectful way.
You can't control other people or situations, but you can control how you think about those people or situations and how you respond.
Anger is a normal biological and emotional response to notify you that something is wrong. Never getting angry is not the goal of anger management. The goal is to explore your underlying thoughts, feelings, and needs to better understand and control your anger.
The truth is out-of-control anger is likely to damage your relationships, impair your judgement, have a negative impact on how people view you, and have effects on your personal health.
If you are constantly angry, your body is experiencing high-levels of stress. Long-term stress can put you at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, weakened immune system, insomnia, and high blood pressure.
Explore what is really behind your anger.
Anger can have many different sources. You may have been raised to react this way or you could be biologically more reactive than others. Maybe you are having a hard time dealing with stress.
Another possibility is you are using anger to cover-up other emotions. This is especially common in families that discourage expressing emotions.
Whatever your source is, it is important to become aware of it. This emotional awareness can help you to develop strategies that fit your needs.
Be aware of your warning signs and triggers.
While it may feel like your anger explodes with no warning, there are physical warning signs in your body.
If you can figure out your personal warning signs, then you can take steps to manage your anger before it gets out-of-control.
How does anger feel in your body?
hands in fists
increased heart rate
tensing shoulders and neck
Negative Thought Patterns
You may want to blame other people for your anger problems, but in reality, anger has more to do with how you think about what happened rather than the situation itself.
Read on to learn about some of the most common negative thought patterns.
You see a single negative event, such as a romantic rejection or a career reversal, as a never-ending pattern of defeat by using words such as “always” or “never” when you think about it.
Everyone hates me.
I NEVER get the
credit I deserve.
Obsessing on the "shoulds" and "musts"
Having a rigid view on how things should and must go will cause anger when situations and people don't line up with your standards.
I should always get
an A on everything I
Mind-reading and jumping to conclusions.
This is when you "know" what someone is thinking or feeling, usually negative in nature. With this thought pattern you will often jump to the conclusion that someone intentionally did something to upset you or disrespect you.
When things go wrong, it is ALWAYS someone else's fault. If you always blame someone else, they control the situation and you hold no responsibility.
You focus on the negatives while overlooking or down-playing positive situations.
Avoid unnecessary triggers
Be aware of what is triggering your anger. Maybe every time you go out drinking with a particular group of friends you end up in a fight. Think about how you can avoid that situation or think about it differently.
Learn ways to cool down.
Once you can recognize your triggers and warning signs, you can develop strategies to quell your anger.
Tune into your body
: Focusing on the physical sensations can get your focus away from what is bothering you.
Take some deep breaths
: Deep belly breaths can help regulate your system and calm you down.
: Take a brisk walk or run. This can help release some of that pent-up energy.
More quick tips!
Use your senses
: Listen to some music or picture yourself in a favorite place.
Stretch or massage areas of tension
Count to ten
: Focusing on counting allows your rational mind time to catch up with your feelings.
Give yourself a reality check!
Does this really matter in the grand scheme?
Is it worth getting angry about?
Is it worth ruining the rest of my day?
Is taking action worth my time?
Is there anything I can do about it?
Is my response appropriate to the situation?
Find healthier ways to express your anger.
If you've decided the situation is worth getting angry about and there is something you can do to make it better, the key is to express those feelings in a constructive way.
Pinpoint what the anger is really about:
Some of the biggest arguments are about things like dirty dishes or being 10 minutes late. There are usually other issues behind these triggers.
Take a few minute break if the argument gets too heated. Use some of the quick tips to get calmed down before continuing.
It's okay to be mad at someone, but be sure to express your own needs while respecting others. Use the following tips to "fight fair".
Make the relationship your priority.
Your top priority should not be to "win" the argument. Instead, focus on being respectful of the other person and their viewpoint. Your relationship with the person will be strengthened if you can get through the argument by being respectful and empathetic.
Focus on the present.
It may be tempting to bring up all the other person's past wrongs during the argument. Rather than focusing on the past and assigning blame, problem-solve the current situation.
Choose your battles.
Not every battle is worth fighting. Conflicts are draining. Consider whether the issue is worth your time and energy. If you choose your battles instead of fighting every little thing, people will take you more seriously when you are upset.
Be willing to forgive.
You can't resolve the conflict if you are unwilling or unable to forgive. Resist the urge to punish. This will never compensate for whatever happened and will damage the relationship with that person.
Know when to let something go.
We can't all agree on everything. Sometimes we just have to agree to disagree. If the argument is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage.
Consider professional help if:
you feel constantly angry and frustrated
your temper is causing problems at work and in your relationships
you avoid events or people because you don't feel like you can control your anger
you have gotten in trouble with the law because of your anger
you anger has ever led to physical violence
Therapy for anger problems.
If you are having a hard time figuring out why you are angry, therapy provides a safe place to explore this. A therapist can help you develop new skills to express your anger and provide a safe place to practice those skills.
Anger management classes or groups.
Joining a class or group will allow you to discuss your situation with other people experiencing similar issues. You will learn tips and skills for managing your anger as well as hear other people's stories.
If you have a loved one with anger management issues:
If your loved one has anger management issues, you may feel constantly on edge, always worried you will be the cause of the next explosion. Remember, you are not to blame for their anger. There is never an excuse for verbal or physical aggression. You deserve to be respected and live free of fear of the next outburst.
Tips for responding to anger:
Set clear boundaries about what you will and will not tolerate.
Wait until everyone is calm to talk about the person's anger problems.
Remove yourself from the situation if the person refuses to calm down.
Consider counseling for yourself if you find it hard to stand up for needs.
Safety first. If you feel threatened or in danger in any way, get somewhere safe.
Visit the CAPS website to find information on individual counseling and groups:
Check out this great in-depth self-help workbook: