Anger:An emotion like love, fear or joy.

A feeling that affects the way you experience life.

A communication that sends information to others.

A cause that produces specific effects and results.

A sign telling us something is wrong in our environment or in the way we experience it.


[toggle title=”The Basics of Anger”]



Extreme stress

Feeling put down

Fear of rejection

Someone hurts you



Physiological—changes in body like sweating, increased heart-rate, quickened breathing, trembling, facial flushing.

Feeling—changes in affect, tense, emotional, depressed thinking, “fight, flight or freeze” response.

Expressive—violent outbursts, physical violence, threats of violence (slamming doors) or creative expression in art, music, writing, sports etc.



Degree of arousal, awareness—“when I get ramped up…I’m more likely to….”

Past learning—“when I get angry ….typically happens.”

Past experiences—“anger does or does not get me what I really want”

Interpretation of the situation and the arousal caused by it

Temperament, personality




Different past experiences

Focus on different situational cues

Label feelings differently

Different personalities



Positive—motivate and energize behavior; creative expressions in art, music or sports.

Negative—physical problems, illness; mental and emotional problems; lowered self-esteem; work problems; relationship problems; behavioral problems like violence.



[toggle title=”Anger Management Strategies”]


1)      Counting Strategies – Try counting from 1 to 10 or 1 to 100; or try counting from 1 to 30 by 3’s; start at 100 and count backwards by 3’s; start at a large number (example – 954) and count backwards by 7’s or 9’s. This helps us regain self control!


2)      Use reminders—things we tell ourselves to regain control and perspective. They allow us to be successful in difficult situations by not escalating. Write down the 5 most important things in your life that you’ll likely hurt or lose if you explode. Keep this list near by at all times (e.g., in wallet, cargo pocket, inside Kevlar).


3)      Deep breathing strategies—one of the quickest ways to calm down. (Say to self “1..2” on the inhalation and “3…4” on the exhalation. Do this to 50. You WILL feel calmer and better able to make smart decisions.


4)      Relaxing phrases—say a prayer, mentally recite a favorite poem.


5)      Imagine your favorite song being played—hear it, and see the musicians.


6)      Imagine relaxing scenes or scenes from your past that were pleasant—e.g., thatFloridavacation, hunting back home, playing high school sports, Christmas with family.


7)      Think of a color, and the memorable places where you have seen it.


8)      Do some tension-release exercises on your jaw (open your mouth wide or press your upper and lower teeth together tightly); this can also be done with your fist. Over 5 minutes or so, this can be done with all the muscle groups in your body.


9)      Humor (think of the person naked in a vat of peanut butter, or your favorite limerick, or how Chris Rock would see this situation etc.)


10)   Bite your lip or press the flesh between your thumb and index finger to distract yourself.


11)   Try to cool off your face. This is tough…and it will distract you.


12)   Leave the situation (“I’m so angry now that I’m going to leave rather than do or say  something that I know I’ll regret later.”)  This is often the best response when things get  really heated. Let the person know you’ll return to address the issue later.


13)  Hold an ice cube. This will focus your attention on something neutral in a way that does not harm you or someone else. Think of the ice cooling your temper. Return to the situation afterward, when some perspective about things is gained.


14)  Thinking ahead is another way to control our actions to situations that we let anger us. This helps us consider short and long term consequences of our actions—e.g., “If I do this now, then this will probably happen later….”



[toggle title=”Innoculation Training- Anger Rehersal”]

1) Preparing for a Provocation

What is it that I have to do?

I can work out a plan to handle this. Take out those index cards; that’s what they’re there for.

I can manage this situation. I know how to regulate my anger.

If I find myself getting upset, I’ll know what to do.

There won’t be any need for an argument.

Time for a few deep breaths of relaxation.  Feel comfortable, relaxed and at ease.


2) Confronting the Provocation

Stay calm.  Just continue to relax.

As long as I keep my cool, I’m in control here.

Don’t take it personally.

Don’t get all bent out of shape; just think of what to do here.

I don’t need to prove myself.

There is no point in getting mad.

I’m not going to let him get to me.

Don’t assume the worst or jump to conclusions.  Look for the positives.

It’s really a shame that this person is acting the way she is.

For a person to be that irritable, he must be awfully unhappy.

If I start to get mad, I’ll just be banging my head against the wall. So why not just relax.

There’s no need to doubt myself. What he says doesn’t matter.


3) Coping with Arousal and Agitation

My muscles are starting to feel tight. Time to relax and slow things down.

Getting upset won’t help.

It’s just not worth it to get so angry.

I’ll let him make a fool of himself.

It’s reasonable to get annoyed, but let’s keep the lid on.

Time to take a deep breath.

My anger is a signal of what I need to do. Time to talk to myself.

I’m not going to get pushed around but I’m not going to go haywire either.

Try a cooperative approach. Maybe we’re both right.

He’d probably like me to get really angry. Well, I’m going to disappoint him.

I can’t expect people to act the way I want them to.


4) Self-Reward

It worked!

That wasn’t as hard as I thought.

I could have gotten more upset than it was worth.

My ego can sure get me in trouble but when I watch that ego stuff I’m better off.

I’m doing better at this all the time.

I actually got through that without getting angry.

Guess I’ve been getting upset for too long when it wasn’t even necessary.


If you were not successful, still reward yourself:

That didn’t work as well as I’d have liked, but at least I tried.

That didn’t go perfect, but next time I’ll know what not to try.

It’s just as important to find out what doesn’t work, as it is to find out what does.