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    Mastering Anger: A Therapist’s Guide to Effective Anger Management

    Anger is a normal emotion.  We all experience it.  Whether it occurs at work, while driving, or at home, it is a common emotion to which everyone can relate.  Often it occurs when something unexpected happens.  This might be a flat tire, a sudden change of plans, or when our spouse (or children) are not acting in ways we believe they should.  It is in these moments that we have an immediate decision to make.  How will we adapt to this unexpected situation or challenge?

    Understanding Anger:

    Extreme anger is a complex emotion that often masks deeper feelings of rejection, fear, hurt, or stress. While it is a normal human emotion, it can cause problems if unchecked or if it significantly disrupts our work performance and/or relationships with others.  Acknowledging and exploring factors contributing to one’s anger is crucial and is often the first step toward effective anger management.  There are many techniques that can help in this process so that you can improve your everyday functioning and reduce the frequency and intensity of these anger outbursts:

    Techniques for Managing Anger in Your Day-to-Day Life:

    When it comes to managing anger in your day-to-day life, try these techniques:

    • Learning to identify the “triggers” or factors contributing to your anger.  Does it occur more in the morning or evening? At work or at home? With a particular person or people? When you’re hungry or tired? When your ideas are challenged?  If you have been drinking alcohol?
    • When sensing an increase in your anger, immediately leave the situation.  Angry at work? Step away for a couple minutes.  Walk to the breakroom to refill your water or even take a quick walk around the block.  Finding a place to deep breathe can help as well as learning muscle-relaxation techniques.
    • Challenging negative thought patterns that contribute to these feelings.  How am I interpreting what is happening?  Is my spouse’s demands that I need to cut my spending perceived as a sign that he/she does not respect me?  Can it be that, “what was said is not what I heard?”
    • Improving your communication skills to express your feelings in a healthy way. Take a brief second to monitor your “internal thermostat?”  In other words, can I effectively tell someone, “I’m feeling stressed right now so this may not be the best time to have a difficult conversation.” Or, “Kids, I’m very tired right now and can feel my anger rising.  I don’t want to start screaming so let’s all work together.”
    • Resist the need for immediate engagement.  Most often, nothing needs to be solved immediately. Therefore, it can be beneficial to simply step away for 5 minutes, to table a discussion for later, or to accept that a solution cannot be reached right now.  Take a moment to reflect on the conversation and reapproach it in a better mindset.

    Managing anger is crucial in maintaining healthy relationships.  Those who can do it effectively are often seen as more emotionally mature, more professional, and happier in their everyday lives.  Please turn to the professionals at TRUE Counseling & Psychological Services for help in improving these skills.  We are a top-rated mental health practice that specializes in anger management and often work with men and women struggling with these issues.  Give us a call today!