Anger management is a psycho-therapeutic program for anger prevention and control. Anger is frequently a result of frustration, or of feeling blocked or thwarted from something we feel to be important. Anger can also be a defensive response to underlying fear or feelings of vulnerability or powerlessness.
The eight tools of anger management include:
- Review of Tool 1 — Dealing with Stress. How stress underlies anger. Physical, medical, mental and behavioral effects of stress. 4- Step model to deal with stress. Exercises. Resources.
- Review of Tool 2 — Developing Empathy. Definition and examples of empathy. Why empathy and “emotional intelligence” are important in anger management. How to teach participants ways to increase or improve empathic responses to others.
- Review of Tool 3 — Respond instead of React. How to present concept of difference between “reacting” and “responding” to anger/stress triggers. Concept that anger expression is a decision. Concept of finding other behaviors/ways to communicate needs feelings or requests that are more effective than anger.
- Review of Tool 4 — Change Self-Talk. Concept of how self-talk (cognitions) influence emotions. A-B-C-D-E model of anger control. Examples of new cognitions to teach participants. How to think like an optimist.
- Review of Tool 5 — Assertive Communication – Harmful communication styles. How to be an assertive communicator. Strategies to handle and resolve interpersonal conflict.
- Review of Tool 6 — Adjust Those Expectations. Expectations and anger Five steps to adjust expectations in relationships and in the workplace. Philosophy of finding alternative ways for need satisfaction. Strategies to teach this concept.
- Review of Tool 7 — Forgive, but don’t forget. 3 steps in forming a grievance. Issue of “should you forgive?” Why forgiving is good for your health and peace of mind. Seven steps to forgiveness.
- Review of Tool 8 — Retreat and Think Things Over. Learning to “stay in the box.” (of anger control). Warning signs to heed. Rules to make this tool effective. The freeze-frame technique for self-soothing. Changing self-talk during the “retreat” period.
TIPS TO TAME YOUR ANGER
In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.
As soon as you’re thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but non-confrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.
Physical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.
Timeouts aren’t just for kids. Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be stressful. A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what’s ahead without getting irritated or angry.
Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your child’s messy room drive you crazy? Close the door. Is your partner late for dinner every night? Schedule meals later in the evening — or agree to eat on your own a few times a week. Remind yourself that anger won’t fix anything and might only make it worse.