Anger Management

30 April 2024

We’ve ALL been there.  Sometimes things are going along just fine and then bam! Some jerk maneuvers his or her vehicle stupidly and you get so angry you want to bash his or her fender, or more.  Someone knows just how to push your buttons and you feel like you want to explode.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, can solve your problems and you really want to lash out at almost anything or anyone.

Anger is one of our strongest emotions and it is generally difficult to keep in check.  If left untethered, it can cause damage and even lead to criminal charges.  Some people are more likely to become enraged more quickly than others.  Help is available.  Here are some exercises to try.

Just Breathe

Sounds trite and lame.  However, it has some practicality.  First, it will redirect your attention.  Second, by taking deep breaths from the belly and slowly out the nose, you will change the rhythm from shallow to deep which will slow your heart rate and oxygenate your brain.  You will be able to think more clearly and have less of a tendency to simply react.

Muscle Relaxation

If you are alone, especially at night when you are trying to sleep but keep replaying issues, muscles will tense and sleep will be even more elusive.  Try progressive muscle relaxation where you focus your attention on one muscle group at at time.  Starting at the toes, tense and then relax.  This technique can also work during the day if you can get to a place where you can be alone, like a park bench, closed door conference room, or some other quiet location.


While sitting in a quiet, comfortable space, choose a memory of a place where you are relaxed and happy.  Imagine all the details, the sights, sounds, temperature, smells, anything.  Remembering how calm you were at that point should help reduce the immediate stress.

anger management

Move Around

Studies show that regular physical exercise are an effective measure to help with stress and anger issues.  Don’t think you need to go punch a bag or kickbox.  It is just as good to go to a dance class.  Just a walk around the office building or block can help on a particularly bad day.

Identify Triggers

Figure out what sets you off.  Then find ways to avoid it or a work-around of some sort.  It won’t be easy but there are some coping techniques that may be able to provide enough relief that you can move away from the situation or person.

Truly Listen

As your temper flares it is easy to stop listening.  Try to slow yourself down and truly listen and absorb the words.  As calmly and non-confrontationally as possible, ask for clarification, i.e. “Let me understand.  Did you say…?”  Try to keep a balance and avoid feeling as though everything and everyone is against you.  Don’t dwell on the conversation or actions.  See if you can’t move on to something else or the positive parts of what happened.

Body Reactions

As anger builds, so does blood pressure, breathing, and even your temperature.  These are signs that you may be spiraling out of control.  Try to calm those overacting hormones to control the stress.  Find relaxation techniques that work for you.

Find a Resource

There are toll-free numbers to call to blow off steam.  See if they can direct you to a support group or discussion group that will help you deal with the issues you are facing.  Work with your health care team to find a therapist that can provide counseling and even medication.

If you opt for a therapist, to narrow down your decision consider asking some of these questions:

  • Are you licensed in my state?
  • Have you worked with people who have anger issues?
  • What types of therapy do you generally recommend for this situation?
  • How long before I can sense a change?
  • Do you accept my insurance? What is the cost?

Anger is an emotion we each feel, but if the frequency or intensity increases, it can become a problem for you as well as everyone around you.  There are exercises that can help as well as support groups and professionals to help resolve these issues.

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