More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Anger management: How angry are you?

Anger is natural, but it can be destructive when expressed inappropriately. Learning to gauge your anger level and identifying constructive outlets can help you keep your cool.

Do you slam down the phone when faced with endless computerized voice prompts? Have you gotten into a shouting match with a stranger over a parking space at the mall? Ever put your fist through the wall after an argument with your spouse?

Although anger is a natural emotion, it may be getting the best of you. Instead of expressing your anger in a healthy and assertive way, you may be expressing it in a hostile, aggressive manner ? a manner that could lead to violence.

Here are some points to consider when assessing whether you express your anger in a healthy or unhealthy manner.

Determine your level of anger
Anger itself isn't bad. Expressed appropriately, anger can be healthy. It can help protect you from dangerous situations, energize you to resolve problems or lead to sociocultural reforms, for instance.

Sure, everyday frustrations, impatience and resentment can all cause your temper to flare. For many people, these are fleeting moments. They're able to take these moments in stride and quickly return to a sense of calm without exploding.

But if your blood boils after minor irritations ? such as losing that coveted parking space ? or you're constantly seething, you may need to get your anger under control. Anger that's out of control can be destructive, leading to problems in your relationships, at work, in your general enjoyment of life and with your health. You may even be arrested or face other legal problems.

Just how angry are you? Study this chart to determine a barometer of your anger. See if the words describe your behavior or thoughts over the past week. Then rate each word on this scale:

0 = Not at all accurate
1 = Somewhat accurate
2 = Moderately accurate
3 = Very accurate
4 = Extremely accurate

Determining your level of anger
Your rating​
Ready to fight

If you have several 2, 3 and 4 ratings, you may need professional help in learning to handle anger in a healthier way. Talk to your health care providers about resources, such as counseling or anger management classes.

Examine your anger patterns
Anger responses can become habitual. That is, you may respond automatically to a situation that makes you angry, with little pause to think about your reactions. You may even surprise yourself by the intensity of your reactions.

How do you express your anger? Consider these questions to assess your anger responses:

  • Do you express anger in a way that overwhelms you and others?
  • Do you get angry more often than most people you know?
  • Do you get angrier than is necessary?
  • Do you use threatening language or gestures?
  • Do you get angry enough to hit, throw or kick things or living beings?
  • Do you stay angry for hours?
  • Do you hide angry feelings from others or try to suppress your feelings?
  • Do you use alcohol or drugs to calm your rage?
  • Do you experience physical reactions such as muscle tension or a racing heart when you get angry?
  • Does expressing your anger usually leave you feeling better about yourself and the person who angered you?
  • Identify the ways you express anger to help you determine if you need to change the ways you respond to upsetting situations. You may react too aggressively or even too passively. In either case, you can learn new anger patterns to replace old, unhealthy habits. If your level of anger is high or you tend to express anger in an unhealthy way, make plans to deal with your anger.
Aim for constructive expressions of your anger
Anger management is not about stopping you from expressing your anger entirely. It's OK to feel angry. In fact, trying to suppress or deny your anger can lead to a host of physical complaints, such as headaches, depression, stress, and sleeping or eating difficulties. It can also lead you to erupt into violent behavior if your anger has been simmering without an outlet.

The key, though, is to express your anger in an assertive, controlled way. Managing anger effectively can benefit you and those around you. Your health may improve, you'll feel better about yourself, and your relationships with others may improve. So get your anger under control, before it controls you.

Anger management: Recognize and understand unhealthy behaviors
very interesting piece,, I find by getting angry you get get somewhere especially when complaining to companies and such like, my anger the other week got me ?20 compensation, I always feel good when I get angry, but one thing someone told me ages ago is to only get angry at the person/persons who has made you angry and not to take it out on others. I feel if you sit back and be passive you get nowhere, being assertive dont always work either, if your in a shop and you complain but do it assertively they take no notice but if you get angry and start threatening to go to the local paper or get solictors it works!! Id never hit anyone or anything like that its not in my nature, but I do swear alot when angry:) just my thoughts on the subject:)
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