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Anger management skills to help reduce the stress anger causes
By David Leonhardt

The other night I ate at a real family restaurant. Every table had an argument going.

One of the biggest obstacles to personal and career success is anger. When we fail to control our anger, we suffer several blows:

  • Anger impedes our ability to be happy, because anger and happiness are incompatible.
  • Anger sends marriages and other family relationships off-course.
  • Anger reduces our social skills, compromising other relationships, too
  • Anger means lost business, because it destroys relationships.
  • Anger also means losing business that you could have won in a more gracious mood.
  • Anger leads to increased stress (ironic, since stress often increases anger).
  • We make mistakes when we are angry, because anger makes it harder to process information.
People are beginning to wake up to the dangers of anger and the need for anger management skills and strategies. Many people find anger easy to control. Yes, they do get angry. Everybody does. But some people find anger easier to manage than others. More people need to develop anger management skills.

Develop your anger management skills
For those who have a tough time controlling their anger, an anger management plan might help. Think of this as your emotional control class, and try these self-help anger management tips:

Ask yourself this question: "Will the object of my anger matter ten years from now?" Chances are, you will see things from a calmer perspective.

Ask yourself: "What is the worst consequence of the object of my anger?" If someone cut in front of you at the book store check-out, you will probably find that three minutes is not such a big deal.

Imagine yourself doing the same thing. Come on, admit that you sometimes cut in front of another driver, too ... sometimes by accident. Do you get angry at yourself?

Ask yourself this question: "Did that person do this to me on purpose?" In many cases, you will see that they were just careless or in a rush, and really did not mean you any harm.

Try counting to ten before saying anything. This may not address the anger directly, but it can minimize the damage you will do while angry.

Try some "new and improved" variations of counting to ten. For instance, try counting to ten with a deep slow breathe in between each number. Deep breathing -- from your diaphragm -- helps people relax.

Or try pacing your numbers as you count. The old "one-steamboat-two-steamboat, etc." trick seems kind of lame to me. Steamboats are not the best devices to reduce your steam. How about "One-chocolate-ice-cream-two-chocolate-ice-cream", or use something else that you find either pleasant or humorous.

Visualize a relaxing experience. Close your eyes, and travel there in your mind. Make it your stress-free oasis.

One thing I do not recommend is "venting" your anger. Sure, a couple swift blows to your pillow might make you feel better (better, at least, than the same blows to the door!), but research shows that "venting" anger only increases it. In fact, speaking or acting with any emotion simply rehearses, practices and builds that emotion.

If these tips do not help and you still feel you lack sufficient anger management skills, you might need some professional help, either in the form of a therapist specializing in anger management or a coach with a strong background in psychology.


Thanks for that.

The problem is, when you're in a rage, or when I'm in a rage at least, the last thing I feel like doing is say "One chocolate ice cream, 2 chocolate ice cream" etc...

These tips would probably be helpful more - before I get into a rage...

And from experience I agree that venting doesn't help, but can make it worse.


Try some "new and improved" variations of counting to ten. For instance, try counting to ten with a deep slow breathe in between each number. Deep breathing -- from your diaphragm -- helps people relax.

I do something a lot like this that works to calm me and my heartrate down.? It's the same except I count all the way to 10 while I breathe in and then count again to 10 as I breathe out...and I keep doing that until I calm down.? It seems to really work well.? Actually, it's the best thing I've found so far.


i agree the tips wud work more before the agression began cause when im in agression i tend to loose focus and its like somebody else is controlling me.
zak would it help to leave when you feel the rage coming on? i know the rage can be very frightening and that it feels like it has a life of its own. i've been through it myself. when it happened to me i just tried to walk away before i would say things i knew i would regret later. physically walk away from the situation and try to calm yourself down. stay away until you feel like you have control again.

i think you need professional help with this. it is a very frightening feeling to be losing control like this. i think this is something you cannot easily fix on your own.
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