Anger Management

Understanding Anger and How to Get Help

There are times when we all feel angry, but if you feel anger too much, too intensely or in an inappropriate manner, it can strain your body, mind and negatively affect your life and your loved ones in a myriad of ways.

Below you will find tips found within The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s helpful guide on Anger Management. You may download the SAMHSA guide here.

What exactly is anger?

In the most general sense, anger is a feeling or emotion that ranges from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. Many people often confuse anger with aggression. Aggression is behavior that is intended to cause harm or injury to another person or damage to property.

Hostility, on the other hand, refers to a set of attitudes and judgments that motivate aggressive behaviors.

Myths About Anger

Anger Is Inherited. One misconception or myth about anger is that the way people express anger is inherited and cannot be changed. Evidence from research studies, however, indicates that people are not born with set and specific ways of expressing anger. Rather, these studies show that the expression of anger is learned behavior and that more appropriate ways of expressing anger can also be learned.

Anger Automatically Leads to Aggression. A related myth involves the misconception that the only effective way to express anger is through aggression. There are other more constructive and assertive ways, however, to express anger. Effective anger management involves controlling the escalation of anger by learning assertiveness skills, changing negative and hostile “self­-talk,” challenging irrational beliefs, and employing a variety of behavioral strategies.

You Must Be Aggressive To Get What You Want. Many people confuse assertiveness with aggression. The goal of aggression is to dominate, intimidate, harm, or injure another person—to win at any cost. Conversely, the goal of assertiveness is to express feelings of anger in a way that is respectful of other people. Expressing yourself in an assertive manner does not blame or threaten other people and minimizes the chance of emotional harm.

Venting Anger Is Always Desirable. For many years, there was a popular belief that the aggressive expression of anger, such as screaming or beating on pillows, was therapeutic and healthy. Research studies have found, however, that people who vent their anger aggressively simply get better at being angry. In other words, venting anger in an aggressive manner reinforces aggressive behavior.

Cues to Anger

An important way to monitor anger is to identify the cues that occur in response to the anger-­provoking event. These cues serve as warning signs that you have become angry and that your anger is escalating.

Cues can be broken down into four cue categories:

1. Physical Cues (how your body responds; e.g., with an increased heart rate, tightness in the chest, feeling hot or flushed)
2. Behavioral Cues (what you do; e.g., clench your fists, raise your voice, stare at others)
3. Emotional Cues (other feelings that may occur along with anger; e.g., fear, hurt, jealousy, disrespect)
4. Cognitive (or Thought) Cues (what you think about in response to the event; e.g., hostile self­-talk, images of aggression and revenge)

Conflict Resolution

The Conflict Resolution Model is one method you can use to act assertively. It involves five steps that can easily be memorized.

1. Identifying the Problem. This step involves identifying the specific problem causing the conflict (e.g., a friend’s not being on time when you come to pick him or her up).
2. Identifying the Feelings. In this step, you identify the feelings associated with the conflict (e.g., frustration, hurt, or annoyance).
3. Identifying the Specific Impact. This step involves identifying the specific impact or outcome of the problem that is causing the conflict (e.g., being late for the meeting that you and your friend plan to attend).
4. Deciding Whether To Resolve the Conflict. This step involves deciding whether to resolve the conflict or let it go. Is the conflict important enough to bring up?
5. Addressing and Resolving the Conflict. In this step, you set up a time to address the conflict, describe how you perceive it, express your feelings about it, and discuss how it can be resolved.

Support Group

Come join us

We offer Anger Management support groups at our peer­-run drop-­in centers in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

We can help you reduce instances of conflict, aggression, and anger if you are having difficulty with anger management and conflict resolution issues.

Tulsa: 6 pm Wednesdays at our peer-­run drop-in center, Denver House, located at 252 West 17th Place in Tulsa. For more information, call 918.585.1213 or email info@mhaok.org.

Oklahoma City: 3 pm Wednesdays at our peer-­run drop­-in center, Lottie House, located at 1311 North Lottie Avenue in Oklahoma City. For more information, call 405.943.3700 or email info@mhaok.org.

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