Anger can be a perfectly normal and natural emotion. In many instances, it can even be necessary in response to experiences involving fear, injustice, hurt, and frustration. Anger can also inspire a rush of adrenaline that is critical in some situations. Even so, when anger goes too far, it can result in aggressive behavior. It should be understood that in itself experiencing anger is not a problem; it is how we handle anger that can lead to issues. When anger is not properly managed, it can affect one’s overall well-being and destroy relationships.

Do You Need Anger Management Therapy?

You may benefit from anger management therapy, if you experience any of the following:

  • Feeling as though you must continually hold in your anger
  • Arguing frequently with family members or co-workers
  • Exhibiting physical violence, such as shouting, hitting, or slamming doors
  • Making threats to people or property
  • Behavior that is out of control, such as reckless driving or breaking things

How Anger Management Therapy Can Help

When anger becomes out of control, it can lead to negative behavior that can affect your career or relationships. It can even put your physical and mental health at risk. Anger management therapy can help you learn how to control your response to anger. By working with an anger management therapist, you can also learn how to identify the early signs of anger and deal with stressful situations in a positive manner.

It should be understood that the goal of anger management therapy is not to prevent you from feeling angry. Instead, it is to teach you how to express the anger you feel in a way that is healthy and constructive. Learning how to manage your anger is a learned behavior that requires practice. Although you cannot always eliminate the people or things that cause you to feel angry, you can learn how to control the way in which you respond.

The goals of anger management therapy include:

  • Recognizing what makes you angry (the triggers for anger).
  • Learn how to respond to your anger triggers.
  • Learn specific skills for managing anger triggers.
  • Learn how to relax and stay calm when you feel your anger rising.
  • Learn how to be assertive without being aggressive.
  • Develop problem-solving techniques.

Recognize When You Are Angry

Anger can result in powerful emotional and physical responses. By learning to recognize these symptoms, you will be better prepared to control your anger.

Signs of anger might include:

  • Rubbing your face
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Making clenched fists
  • Breathlessness
  • Sweaty palms
  • Increased heart rate
  • Pacing
  • Rocking motions
  • Talking louder
  • Developing cravings for sugar, tobacco, drugs, comfort food, alcohol, etc.
  • Irritation
  • Feeling depressed or sad
  • A desire to get away from the situation
  • Feeling resentful or guilty
  • Feeling anxious

Learning to Rate Your Anger

In learning how to manage your anger, it’s also important to learn how to rate your anger. In situations in which you only experience mild anger, such as irritation, symptoms may be milder in nature, while full-blown anger is likely to produce more severe symptoms. It should be recognized that in most cases, anger builds. There are varying levels to anger. By becoming aware of these levels, you may find it easier to learn how to relax, remain calm, and stay in control. The goal is to learn to recognize the signs of anger before your anger escalates and grows out of control.

Developing an Anger Plan

Once you have learned to recognize where you are with your current anger level, you will be able to develop a plan for managing your anger. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution for managing anger. The plan for coping with anger is unique to every individual. In many cases, anger plans may be tailored to the specific situation that has caused the anger. Some possible options might include:

  • Removing yourself from any situation in which you feel your anger is triggered. Doing so will provide you with the necessary space for calming down and gathering your thoughts. Doing something else for a few minutes until you calm down, such as listening to some music, taking a walk, or practicing relaxation techniques can help you to resolve a stressful situation in a more productive manner.
  • Changing the topic of conversation.
  • Taking some time to slow down. For instance, you might try counting to ten to help slow things down when you feel yourself becoming angry. Doing so can help you to gather your thoughts and think more rationally. Changing the way in which you think when you become upset can give you the tools you need to respond in a more logical manner. For instance, you might ask yourself, “Is this worth ruining my day?” or “Is getting angry really going to change anything?” Anger is a powerful emotion. When you become angry, you may notice yourself getting a headache, feeling a knot develop in your stomach, or your shoulders tightening. Visualization techniques and deep breathing can help to counteract some of the physical symptoms of anger you may experience.
  • Modify your environment. In some instances, it may be necessary to make changes to avoid frustration and anger. This can be helpful when there is something in your life you are able to change. For instance, if you find yourself becoming stressed during the daily commute, consider finding an alternate route. Do you feel yourself becoming stressed out when talking about finances with your spouse at the end of the day? Consider setting aside a time during which you can discuss money issues when you are not as likely to become upset.

Getting Help: Control Anger, Prevent Rage

If you or someone close to you is struggling with anger issues, help is available. It does take practice and skills to learn how to manage anger, but with professional help, it can be done. Obtaining help from a professional therapist can give you the skills you need while improving the quality of your life.

If you find you relate to the information in this article and would like some help, please contact Rita with Sioux Falls Wellness Counseling at (605) 610-9228.