Hold the Reins: Anger Management

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Hold the Reins: Anger Management

“That person just stole my parking spot!”

“How dare you talk to me that way?!”

We all get angry at times. It’s a completely normal emotion and anyone can experience it from time to time. Anger is an emotional state that is expressed as irritation or as out-of-control rage with many shades of behaviours falling in between. It is like any other emotion, it has physiological changes that happen with it; such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, flushed face and increased volume of verbal output.

Unfortunately, not everyone can manage anger and deal with it. If you are someone who is suffering from anger management problems, just know that you do not have to bear living with it and there are many ways to manage it. Anger management is essential for effective interpersonal communication as well as maintaining meaningful relationships. So, taking steps towards that goal will improve various aspects of your life not just your subjective sense of well-being. Whether you choose to read self-help books or choose to seek therapy, it is up to you to try and figure out what works best for you. These will introduce you to techniques used to regulate feelings of anger and modulate responses to those feelings.

Understanding Anger Management Therapy: Goals and Techniques

The first step taken in therapy is to recognize there is a problem, without this step one cannot begin treatment… because how can one deal with something if they don’t admit it is truly there? Without acknowledgement, therapy would not be successful. “People who receive anger management therapy learn how to slow their reaction to anger. This can help them identify the reason for their feelings. The roots of anger may be buried in emotional trauma, addiction, grief, or other issues. But a natural inclination may be to find temporary relief in lashing out. This can obscure the true cause of the anger. “

Taking time to think and clear your mind while you’re feeling angry is not easy, but it’s necessary to help you make sense of the situation and make sense of what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it. Try asking yourself these questions, “Is this really a big deal or is it just how I’m perceiving it?” and “Am I sure that what I am doing will help me?” Use such questions to help clear your mind before you react or say anything. It sounds difficult but eventually when you come around, you’ll realise how relieving that is. Besides, it will lead you to know the real motive behind anger. Therapy also helps people adjust how they look at situations and teaches them healthy ways to express anger and frustration.

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Some techniques used in anger management therapy include: impulse control, self-awareness, meditation, frustration management (sometimes by writing in an anger diary), breathing techniques and relaxation strategies.

According to Mayo Clinic (2014), the aim of therapy and anger management courses is to help you:

  • Manage factors that may make you more likely to get angry, such as improving sleep so you’re not tired and keeping stress low by using stress management skills
  • Identify situations that are likely to set you off and learn skills to use in those situations
  • Respond in nonaggressive ways before you get angry
  • Recognize when you aren’t thinking logically about a situation, and correct your thinking
  • Calm yourself down when you begin to feel upset, by using relaxation skills or taking a break
  • Express your feelings and needs properly (but not aggressively) in situations that make you feel angry
  • Focus on problem-solving in frustrating situations — instead of using energy to be angry, you’ll learn how to redirect your energy to resolve the situation
  • Communicate effectively to soothe anger and resolve conflicts

More Insights on Anger Management

Another thing in learning how to control anger is to recognize triggers and know when to avoid them. Triggers are stimuli (i.e. situations) which elicit anger. Certain situations may repeatedly elicit anger, it is your job to be aware of the situations that provoke your anger. By time, one can learn to predict most situations that trigger anger and have a mental list of techniques they can use to avoid “losing control.”

And remember, the first step is to just acknowledge that there’s a problem.


GoodTherapy, (2018), Anger Management, Retrieved on June 23, 2021

Mayo Clinic. (2014). Anger management. Retrieved from 

Ylvisaker, M. (2006), Tutorial: Anger And Anger Management, LEARNet, Retrieved on June 23, 2021