Anger Management

Anger Management




At the end of the class, you will be able to:


1.       Define anger and describe its effects.

2.       Manage and control anger in a healthy way.




This class will teach you about anger and how to manage it. This class gives you information about emotions, anger, the good and the bad effects of anger,  and things that may make you get angry.


All humans have feelings. We are born with them. Some of the feelings that people have are joy, fear, love and anger. At times, feelings may lead us to do certain things. For example, if you have fear you may want to run away.


Feelings can make our mind look at things in a different way and they can lead us to act in a certain way. For example, anger may lead us to want to hit someone. We must learn how to control our feelings when they are not good or they may control us.


What is Anger?



Anger is an emotion that can be very mild or very strong at times. It can be a mild feeling of not liking something, or it can be a strong feeling of rage and great anger. It is more than just not being happy about something. It goes beyond that state to a state of being annoyed. It is  one of the most poorly managed of all of our feelings.


Everyday, we read about and hear about crimes of anger. Everyday, we hear the news on the TV about anger, hatred and acts of violence. We hear about violence in the home, “hate crimes”, shootings in schools and things like "road rage". We live in a time where it seems that things are out of control. People of all ages go to jail for crimes of anger.


Anger can touch the lives of all people at all ages. Young children bully and threaten others in their schools and in their own back yards. Some children that have been bullied suffer greatly and they may, at times, “get even” with the bully by going into their school and killing the bully, teachers, and other people that they do not like. This kind of thing must stop.


Young adults and teens go into gangs and other groups that say that it is OK to act out on anger. Some of these young people even kill others for bad things that were said to them or to “even a score”. Teens have also been known to kill their own parents. For example, a teen age girl may kill her parents because they do not want her to date the boy that she loves or because they do not let her stay out late.


Adults may act out their anger on their wife or husband. This is called   domestic violence. Old people may act out on their anger because they are confused or because they just do not like the person that lives in the same nursing home.




Anger results when there is a gap between what you expect and what you get.


Some go into relationships with a big list of things that they want. But, as we all know, many of these things can not be done. Problems happen when we want a lot of things and we do not get them. Some of the things that we often want may not even be possible. For example, we may want our child to get an “A” in math, but it may not be possible because the child may not have the mental ability to get an “A”. You will, then, have to be happy when the child tries their best and gets a “C”.


There is no need for anger when we expect little or nothing from others.


Anger can happen when a person gets the help of others to be angry. For example, a friend or a co-worker may tell you that you have been treated in a bad way by others. You will then feel angry because this person has lead you to think that you should be angry. You may have to stay away from people like this.


Anger Can Help Us or It Can Hurt Us



Anger is both good and bad. It is not  the feeling that causes harm, it is how you act on it that causes the harm. Some of these things can be a crime like murder.


Anger helps us to live and adapt in a changing world. It helps us to learn. It helps us to solve problems. It helps us to move toward our goals and to solve out problems. But, it also hurts us.


It hurts us, and others, when it is not in control. Some people get more angry than others. Some may get out of control more than others do. Even when 2 people have the same thing happen to them, they may have different amounts of anger about it. For example, one nursing assistant may not be angry at all when a patient tells them to “go to hell”. But, another nursing assistant may hit the patient and tell them to “go to hell”.


People that get very angry tend to be less able to deal with problems than those that deal with anger in a better way. Things just bother them more than they do with other people. These angry people will become “grouchy” people over time and they will also start to stay alone and away from other people, and/or, other people will stay away from them. They will then be very lonely.


Some people say that gene may have a role in anger. We may be born with it. We may get it from our parents. They think this because they have seen even very young children and babies get angry very quickly.


Others say that it is learned over time and that nobody is born angry. They say that people just have not learned to control it in a healthy way.


Still others think that anger runs in unhealthy families that do not function in a healthy way. They think that the family is angry because the family communication is not good and because they have not learned to deal with anger in a healthy way. Instead, they turn their anger into angry words and actions. These words and actions are the only way they know to deal with their feelings of anger. Learning how to communicate better with others, therefore, is one way to cope with anger.


Anger Can Be Good






Anger is good when it helps us to:


·         learn,

·         solve problems

·         adapt to the world,

·         NOT feel helpless, and

·         change things, including the world.

The world would not be the same with out anger. For example, the right for women to vote, equal rights for all people and ending slavery would not have happened unless people got angry and decided to change things.


Anger Can Also Be Harmful and Bad


Dr. Redford Williams of Duke University wrote many books on anger including Anger Kills. He has shown that anger can lead to heart disease and other physical problems and that changing our behavior can lower the rate of these problems. Others say that anger leads to:


·         negative words to others like yelling and cursing;

·         physically aggressive behaviors like breaking dishes and hitting others;

·         drug use; and

·         damage to our relationships with others.


Deal With Anger


"When angry count to ten. When very angry, count to 100." (Thomas Jefferson)


When you feel angry, ask yourself these 4 questions:


1.       Is it important enough to be angry about it?

2.       Is the anger appropriate to the situation?

3.       Is there any way that you can change the situation and/or make sure that it does not happen again?

4.       Is the situation worth anger?


If you answer "yes" to all 4 of these questions, then you should deal with the anger and the situation. If you answer “no” to any of them, then the best thing to do is change how you feel. There is nothing you can do to change it but you can change the way you feel. "The key thing, though, when you get four yeses - it means you should be taking charge of your reaction rather than change the situation." (Williams, 2001)


The first step is to want to change. You must want to change or you can not learn how to control anger. People that do not want to change will not. They can not be forced to change.

These 7 things are part of a good anger management program.


1.       community settings are better than institutional settings.  


2.       other things like emotional problems and substance abuse must be taken care of first.


3.       pressure and punishment do not work. The person must want to change.


4.       you must know that the anger problem comes from you, not others. It is you, not others that can change it. 


5.       culture and ethnicity must be part of the program


6.       sex or gender must be considered. Men and women differ in terms of what triggers their anger.


7.       personal goals have to be a part of it.




Here are the steps:


1.       Know about your anger and get ready to change. Change is never easy but you have to do it. You will soon feel better and the problem with anger will go away. 


2.       Learn about the things, or triggers that make you feel angry. Make a list of people and situations that make you feel anger or annoy you. Try to stay away from these people and things as much as you can. If you cannot get away, learn to deal with it. 



3.       Accept and forgive others as you continue to manage your anger.


4.       Think about and write up a long term plan that helps you to not go back to the old way. Follow this plan for life.


You will not change overnight. It is not possible to get rid of all of the things that anger and annoy you. You cannot change people. People have to change themselves. There are many things in this world that you can NOT control, but you can control and change yourself.




  1. One of the first things that you can do is to change the way you think about triggers. You can NOT change or stay away from all situations but you CAN change the way you feel about them. You can NOT always stay away from people, but there are ways that you CAN change the way you feel about them and what they do.


  1. Another good thing that you can do is to change what you expect and want from others. The more you expect, the angrier you may get when these things do not happen.


  1. Use these things:

·         relaxation and progressive relaxation;  

·         new skills; and  

·         change your thinking.


Relaxation lowers anger levels. "You can't be calm and relaxed and pissed off as hell at the same time." (Holloway, 2003).


Sit in a very comfortable chair. Think a minute or two about the thing that is bothering you and then take the time to sit, deep breathe and relax. Take a deep breath and then rest. Take another deep breath and then rest. Do this over and over until you are very calm. This will teach you to feel the anger and then to turn it into being calm and not angry.





The second way is to use new skills.  For example, if you are, or have, acted angry toward another person, you should learn new and better ways to communicate. If a parent is mean to a child, they should learn new parenting skills.  (Holloway, 2003).

The third thing is to change your thinking.  Change the way you think about things. If you think about things in a better way, you will not act out on the anger. Think about the thing and make it less important in your mind. “Is it really that important? No, it is not.” 


For example, if your doctor told you that you have a bad kind of cancer, how would you feel? Would you rate it as a 1 (a very small problem) or a 10, a very big problem? You would probably rate it very high and near a 10. Now, think about rush hour traffic. Is this a 10 also? Or, is it more like a 1 or 2? It is more like a 1 or 2 and it does not make any sense if you act like as if it is a 10. 

At times you will use all 3 of these things that we talked about above. Also, get someone to help you if you need help with anger and anger control.





Some of the things that lead people to get angry are:

·         threats by others,

·         disappointment, and

·         frustration.


Anger can come from things inside of us and it can come from things outside of us like other people and things. For example, we can get angry with our self for not doing something as well as we feel that we should have. We can also get angry with others because we think that they have not done as well as they should, or could. We can get angry with others because they have, or we think that they have, done something to hurt us in one way or another.


Anger is a natural feeling that we are born with. It helps us to deal with and respond to threats. In this way, it is a big help to us. It is needed for life itself. The most natural way for us to express anger is to respond to it. But, it must be controlled.


When it is not we will tend to act with aggression and other harmful acts. Some of these acts can hurt others. Many can be against the law. It can also lead to bad effects on the body. It can increase the heart rate and a person’s blood pressure.


We react and deal with anger in one of three different ways. We can:

1.       express the anger

2.       push the anger down, or

3.       calm down their inner self.







The best and most healthy way to deal with anger is to express it in a good way that does not hurt others in any way. We must be able to think clearly when we express our anger in an assertive way that is NOT  aggressive. We must be able to talk to other people about our own needs and opinions. You can not demand and you can not be pushy. Speak about your own feelings. Do not speak about what others did to you.


You must do this in a way that does NOT hurt others. For example, do not say, “You did not clean the kitchen at all today. You are a real slob.” Instead, say, “I get upset when I am at work all day and the kitchen is not clean.”


Pushing anger down  works for a short time but it will come back up over and over again until it is expressed. Pushing it down does not make it go away, so, it is NOT the best way to deal with anger. Also, when you push anger down inside of you, it can lead to physical and emotional problems.


It can also lead to:

·         headaches

·         skin problems

·         lack of sleep

·         trouble falling asleep

·         depression

·         anxiety and

·         poor relationships with others


Calming down lets you control the anger by changing how you react to it. You can take a few deep breaths and do other things to calm down your feelings.


Look at Your Anger


What is it doing to you? What is it doing to your life? Is it causing problems? Has it led to problems with those you love? Has it lead to problems in your work life? Is your health being hurt by your anger? Is your anger making you unhappy?

If you have responded to any of the questions above with a "yes", it is time to do something. 


Keep an Anger Log


Write down the date, time of day, the situation or the person’s name, your feelings and what you did when you got angry. Do this every time that you feel angry.


This log will help you to look back and learn about the things that make you angry and how you deal with it. You may want to change some of these ways and you may want to use the better ways more often.


Identify Your Triggers


Is there a person that triggers your anger? What is it about this person that makes you angry? Is it the way that they speak to you? Is it the tone of their voice? Is it the way that they act? Have they done or said something that has hurt you?



What other things make you angry? Is it crowds? Is it the quick pace that you work in? Is it all the many things that you have to do with so little time to do it? Is it all of the many things that you have do as a mother? as a wife? as a husband? at work? Do you get angry when your needs are not met by others? Is it when other people do not do what you want them to do?
 Triggers can be:


·         Physical. Some people get angry when they are tired, sick, thirsty, hungry or in pain.


Get enough sleep and rest. Exercise and eat a good diet. Stay healthy and rested. A healthy life can help you to better deal with anger. More information diet and exercise is discussed below.

·         Emotional. A person may have anger and acting out if they have an emotional problem or a lot of stress.


People must get professional help when stress gets so great that a person can not cope and they are acting out on their anger. Stress and fear lead to anger and angry feelings. Relaxation and other stress tools help. Some people have to take medications for their emotional problems. These people must follow all the things that their doctor tells them to do.


    • Environmental . A person can get angry when they are too hot, too cold or they are just too uncomfortable. Some people react to crowds and noise.


Again, you must stay away from these things.


·         Communication. Some people get triggered to anger when they are not able to talk well with another person. They may not be able to say what they want to say. They may also think that the other person is not listening to them.  These people must learn that just because others do not agree them, it does not mean that the other person is not listening.


Try to learn new and better ways to deal with other people. Learn a better way to communicate.


Stay away from your triggers as much as you can. If you cannot stay away, do these things:


Be Assertive.


Use "I" messages and NOT "You" messages when you speak to other people. Using “I” is assertive and NOT  aggressive. Do NOT say, "You make me angry every time you yell at me", say, "I am feeling very upset now. I get hurt when you yell at me."





There are a number of very good ways to relax.  Some are not good at all times so you will have to learn a number of them. For example, you can NOT relax on the sofa at work. You will have to use another way. Also, you cannot close your eyes and take deep breaths while you are driving, so you will have to learn a way to relax when you are driving and you have to keep your eyes open. Some, like taking deep breaths, can be done anywhere and any time.


Now, take a DEEP breath in.  Hold it. Now, let it out. Do it again. Take a very DEEP breath in. HOLD it as long as you can. Now, let it out. Keep doing this over and over again until you feel better. Practice it often. Use it often. It works very well.


Now, try these simple steps. 


1.       Take a very deep breath in.  


2.       Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as "relax,"  or "take it easy." Repeat it to yourself while taking those deep breaths. Do it over and over again until you feel better. Use it often. It also works very well.


Be logical.  It is not logical to think that the world is out to get you. It is also not logical to think, "our unit is always understaffed" or "we never get any help". Few things always happen. Few things in life never happen. Thinking as if they do, can lead to anger.

 Learn how to solve problems. Our lives are often filled with problems of one kind or another. We may have problems in our homes. We may have even more in the place that we work.  We must solves these or it will lead to anger and upset. Use your anger about these problems to solve them in a healthy way. But, remember, we can NOT solve all problems. There are many things that we just can NOT control no matter how hard we try to change it. We must accept that fact.

Exercise. Exercise is healthy and it can calm you down. Try walking every day.

Use Humor. Learn how to laugh at yourself.  Use humor to get rid of anger and rage. It changes your view of life.  Suddenly, things do not seem as bad when you are able to find some humor in what is going on.

Talk to Yourself in A Nice Way. Talk to yourself. Tell yourself that you are a good person. Tell yourself that you control your anger. Tell yourself that you can learn new skills and that you are good and you can do well.

Communicate Better. Slow down. Become a good listener. This is very often not done. Listen to the messages and listen to the feelings of other people.

After you have listened. Slow down again. Think about what you will do or say. Do not jump to angry words. Think about what you will say BEFORE you say it.

Let Go. Let go of anger. It will free you. Give up on getting even. You will not act out in a bad way when you let go of the anger and you are able to forgive others. 

Give Yourself a Break.

At times, our problems may make us feel trapped. Take some personal time off for yourself. Give yourself a break.

Counseling. Seek help if you need it. Do NOT wait to get help. Get it right away.


Eat a Good Diet. Eat a complete and good diet. Do not eat fats, sugars or salt. Do NOT use alcohol or drugs.



·         Fruits and vegetables. Eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables every day.  Eat different kinds and colors

·         Whole grains every day.

·         3 cups of fat free or low fat milk every day.

·         No fats or low fats






Manage Your Weight and Exercise


Do regular exercise every day and stop sitting around on the sofa. It is good for our health, your weight and managing your anger. Exercise 30 minutes every day. If you want to lose weight, do it 1 hour every day.





Anger, a basic human emotion, is both good and harmful. Bad reactions to anger have to be controlled. Use anger management techniques every day and soon they will be second nature to you.




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Copyright © 2010 Alene Burke