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How Does Anger Management Work?

anger management

Anger management involves learning to recognize the signs you are becoming overly frustrated or angry and how to avoid expressing that anger inappropriately.

Counseling or anger management classes can help you learn specific behavioral skills, as well as how to change your thought patterns to constructively cope with anger.

Signs You Need Help Controlling Anger

Do you often:

  • Feel irritated, impatient, or frustrated with specific people or situations?
  • Feel you are trying to hold back your anger?
  • Argue, start fights, or hit other adults or children?
  • Threaten or carry out violent behavior, such as throwing or breaking things?
  • Exhibit risky behavior when angry, such as driving recklessly?
  • Focus on negative thoughts and situations?

Certain physical and emotional indicators often signal your anger is rising to a dangerous level.

Physical signs may include a clenched jaw, grinding your teeth, feeling as if your heart is racing, feeling dizzy, shaking, sweating, or having a headache or stomach ache.

Emotional cues may include a strong desire to escape the situation, feeling resentful, sad, irritated, or depressed, feeling guilty, or wanting to yell or strike out physically.

Anger management classes or counseling

Anger management can be learned through personal study, an anger management class, or in group or individual counseling sessions. While it is possible to develop anger management skills by using books, support groups, and other resources, many people find it most effective to work with a mental health professional.

A class or counselor can help you understand where your anger is coming from, how to alter your reactions to triggers, techniques to improve communication skills, how to assert yourself in a calm manner, and other anger management approaches.

To find the most appropriate anger management program for yourself, talk to your primary care doctor or a mental health professional for a referral. Some employers offer anger management classes as part of their employee assistance programs (EAP).

Steps You Can Take to Manage Anger

In addition to a class or counseling, there are steps you can take to stop anger from overwhelming you. When you feel your anger building, try one or more of the following techniques:

  • Deep breathing: take long, slow breaths in through your nose, deeply into your lower belly, as you repeat a calming word such as “relax.”
  • Use positive self-talk: when you catch yourself blaming or criticizing yourself or another, stop and consciously turn the thought in a positive direction.
  • Take a break: walk away from the situation and give yourself time to calm down.
  • Exercise regularly: physical activity releases tension and improves mood.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol: they often increase the volatility of a situation.

For more techniques to help manage your anger, Healthline offers 25 Tips to Help You Stay Calm.

Inappropriately expressed anger can have a devastating effect on your personal relationships, your health, your financial situation, and every facet of your life. It can even lead to a tragic situation, such as harm to yourself or another, or incarceration. Take steps to manage your anger today.

Turning Point of Tampa has been offering Licensed Residential Treatment for Addiction, Eating Disorders and Dual Diagnosis in Tampa since 1987.

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