• Anger Management Strategies

    Anger management can be defined as a system of exercises or strategies which can help an individual prone to excessive anger reduce the degree, intensity, and duration of an anger response. Learning to manage anger can help that person demonstrate his or her feelings or point of view in an appropriate way.

    Anger management exercises and strategies include:

    • Deep Breathing: a simple, but effective technique that can be used alone or in tandem with other relaxation techniques. Simply take several slow deep breaths, imagining yourself calming down or becoming less stressed with every deep breath.
    • Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR): When angry or stressed, your body and muscles get rigid and tense, specifically certain areas. PMR encourages a person to be mindful of the areas of the body that are tense. Begin by tensing the muscles in that area very tightly for a few seconds. Then release the pressure and feel that particular muscle relax. Continue by thinking about this area and attempt to relax this muscle even further. An individual can also use this technique to relax his or her whole body by starting at the head or feet and working each muscle group separately, continuing on to the other end of the body. Deep breathing exercise can also be used in conjunction with this technique.
    • Imagery: Get comfortable, close your eyes, and take a couple of relaxing deep breaths. Imagine yourself at your “happy place,” whether it be on the beach or in the country, or wherever. Use all of the senses in your imagery—see the sights, smell the scents, hear the sounds, feel the surroundings. The more you can concentrate on your senses at your happy place, the more you will relax. Begin to breath deeply, relaxing yourself more and more with each additional breath. Stay at your ‘happy place’ until you feel relaxed, and less stressed and angry.

    Other Suggestions for Good Anger Management

    • Focus only on the issue you are discussing. Do not bring up irrelevant issues or issues from the past that are not relevant to the present issue.
    • Be able to listen to others' points of view with an open mind.
    • Listen to all of what the other person is saying, not just the parts that are negative or contrary to your beliefs.
    • Use your intelligence, rather than anger or intimidation, to make your point.
    • Use “I feel” statements (ie, I feel upset with what you said because ...). This allows the person to understand how you feel without becoming defensive.

    Additional Information about anger may be found on our Web-based Resources page.