Top menu -- click here or use links at bottom of page

Home -- click here!

 
About Staff About Services About Alt Psych About Guidelines About Resources Opt's for Relationships Opt's for Parenting Opt's for Men Opt's for Grief Alt's to Depression Alt's to Anxiety Alt's to Anger Alt's to Addiction Alt's to Abuse
   
   
Alternatives to
Anger
 


Laughing children
Laughing children
 
Basic Information about Anger

Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion.(1) It's the violent expression of anger that is disrespectful and harmful to others and unhealthy and even addictive for the person who is frequently angry.

The key to the management of anger is self-awareness. Most people do not "blow up" about a minor event, for example, unless the minor event acts as a trigger to set off a reaction that actually relates to a separate, often unrelated concern.(2)

Awareness of what's going on around us can help us make better-informed decisions about life and how we want to respond. Often the person or situation we've gotten angry about, upon reflection, does not warrant an angry response after all. Becoming more aware of who or what angers you, when and with what frequency you feel angry, is the beginning of taking your life back from Anger.

Anger usually results from feeling threatened or frustrated in some way. It can also be a reflection of our fundamental, underlying beliefs about the way the world ought to be ~ our sense of justice. And anger is an effective way of creating distance between others and ourselves

One of the first steps in dealing with anger is simply to acknowledge that you've been hurt, frustrated, or threatened.(3) This can be difficult for anyone taught to value the stoic acceptance or even denial of pain.

If you're unclear about your anger, ask yourself these questions and write down your answers:

 
 
 
  • How am I feeling right now?
  • What happened to make me angry?
  • Who am I angry at?
  • How did the situation make me feel besides angry?
  • What about that angers me the most?
  • Now, what about that angers me the MOST?(4)

Standing up to our anger is often easier when we calm ourselves. Anger releases strong chemicals such as adrenaline into our bloodstream and draws blood away from the brain. Changing our patterns is more difficult when we're primed for fight or flight.

For help in calming ourselves, remember that "Count to 10" is still good advice. After you take a 10-second break, slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as "relax" or "take it easy." Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply.(1) Give yourself (or the angry person) plenty of time and space to cool down. Wait until the next day and then ask if the two of you can take some time to talk about it.(5)

The goal or ideal is not to suppress anger but to express it in non-aggressive ways. Blaming, accusations, threats and name-calling are aggressive responses. Calmly and assertively stating your thoughts and feelings about a situation, without blaming, is a far more powerful way to respond in the midst of conflict.(6)

Of course, hopefully rarely, we may sometimes have to act violently in self-defense. Care should be taken to study one's motives, though, when anticipating violence ~ a peaceful attitude may play an important role in resolving conflict. Consider some of the ideas of Aikido in this regard.

 
 
 
 

(8)

 
 
NOTE: If at any time while answering these questions you feel faint or are unable to continue, put them aside until you feel okay.
   
 

1. ARE YOU CONTENT WITH WHEN AND HOW YOU EXPRESS ANGER? IF SO, STOP HERE ~ THESE QUESTIONS ARE NOT FOR YOU.
   
 

2. ARE YOU READY TO THINK ABOUT YOUR ANGER RIGHT NOW? IF NOT, STOP HERE ~ THESE QUESTIONS ARE NOT FOR YOU.

   
 

3. WHAT OR WHOM HAVE YOU BEEN ANGRY WITH? WHO HAS BEEN ANGRY WITH YOU? HOW HAS EACH PERSON INVOLVED, INCLUDING YOURSELF, BEEN BEHAVING?

   
 

4. DO YOU WANT TO FEEL OR BEHAVE THIS WAY TOWARDS THIS PERSON OR SITUATION? DO YOU WANT THEM TO FEEL OR BEHAVE THAT WAY TOWARDS YOU? IF SO, STOP HERE ~ THESE QUESTIONS ARE NOT FOR YOU.

   
 

5. HOW WOULD YOU RATHER FEEL OR BEHAVE? HOW WOULD YOU LIKE OTHERS TO FEEL AND BEHAVE TOWARDS YOU? WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE IF PEOPLE BEHAVED TOWARDS EACH OTHER MORE RESPECTFULLY?

   
 

6. HOW HAVE THE ATTEMPTS YOU'VE MADE TO MAKE YOURSELF AND OTHERS FEEL AND BEHAVE DIFFERENTLY BEEN WORKING OUT FOR YOU? IF THEY'VE BEEN WORKING OUT JUST FINE, STOP HERE ~ THESE QUESTIONS ARE NOT FOR YOU.

   
 

7. HAVE YOUR EFFORTS OVER TIME PRODUCED MORE OF THE KINDS OF FEELINGS AND BEHAVIORS YOU WANT OR LESS? HAS THERE BEEN MORE RESPECT OR LESS?

   
 

8. IF THINGS CONTINUE ALONG AS THEY'VE BEEN , HOW WILL YOU AND OTHERS BE FEELING AND BEHAVING IN THE DAYS AND WEEKS AHEAD? IS THAT HOW YOU WANT THINGS TO TURN OUT?

   
 

9. WHAT GETS IN THE WAY OF FEELING AND BEHAVING THE WAY YOU WANT TO? FOR YOU AND FOR OTHERS? HOW IS IT THAT PEOPLE RESOLVE TO ACT ONE WAY BUT INSTEAD ACT ANOTHER?

   
 

10. ARE YOU LIKELY TO STAND UP TO EMOTIONS LIKE ANGER AND ACT MORE RESPECTFULLY, OR ARE YOU MORE LIKELY TO GIVE IN TO ANGER?

   
 

11. ARE YOU READY TO BEHAVE DIFFERENTLY WITH THIS PERSON OR SITUATION? OR DO YOU NEED MORE TIME TO FEEL AND BEHAVE THE WAY YOU'VE BEEN? HOW MUCH LONGER?

   
 

12. SHOULD ANGER DECIDE YOUR BEHAVIOR OR YOU? WHAT SIGNS WILL YOU WATCH FOR THAT TELL YOU IT'S TIME TO EXIT FROM AN ARGUMENT? DO YOU THINK YOU SHOULD WAIT TO LEAVE UNTIL YOUR ANGER IS TAKING CONTROL OF YOU OR EXIT AN ARGUMENT WHILE YOU'RE STILL IN CONTROL?

   
 

13. CAN YOU TREAT PEOPLE WITH RESPECT EVEN WHEN ANGER IS PRESENT? HOW CAN YOU SHOW MORE RESPECT FOR THE PEOPLE YOU'VE BEEN DISRESPECTFUL TO, IN SUCH A WAY THAT THEY FEEL IT? HOW WILL THEY KNOW THAT YOU'RE BEING MORE RESPECTFUL?
   
 

14. IN WHAT OTHER WAYS CAN YOU SHOW THAT YOU'RE MORE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ANGER AND LESS PUSHED AROUND BY IT? WHAT THINGS SHOULD YOU AVOID DOING OR SAYING IF YOU'RE BEING MORE RESPONSIBLE AND RESPECTFUL?

   
 

15. HOW ARE YOU ABLE TO STAND UP TO YOUR ANGER AND BEHAVE THE WAY YOU WANT TO IN SPITE OF SUCH STRONG FEELINGS? WHAT PART OF YOU IS HELPING YOU TO STAND UP TO ANGER AND BEHAVE MORE RESPECTFULLY TOWARDS PEOPLE? WHO IN YOUR LIFE IS NOT SURPRISED BY YOUR ABILITY TO STAND UP TO ANGER?

 
 
 
back to top Ways to Heal(7)
 
 
  • Awareness. Develop awareness of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Use tools such as yoga, meditation or therapy to learn more about yourself. Learn to develop a neutral viewpoint, witnessing what you experience (including judging) without judging.
  • Responsibility. Take responsibility for your emotions and responses; whenever you say or think, "I felt this" or "I did that", you take back power over your life and regain a sense of "agency" ~ your hands are on the steering wheel of your life again.
  • Self-care. People who take care of themselves feel better about who they are, have more energy, and are more likely to be happy.
  • Resources. Develop resources and a support system that encourages the positive changes in you and in your life that you seek. Notice who in your life offers encouragement (including those who helpfully criticize you) and who seem to bring out the best in you ~ spend more time with those people.
  • Let Go. Don't take responsibility for people and anything else in life that you don't have any control over. You have enough to worry about, anyway.
  • Positive Attitude. Your attitude will greatly influence your chances for success or failure. A positive attitude leads to positive results.
  • Self-talk. What you think and say to yourself will influence how you think and feel. You have a choice to tell yourself only part of the story, or tell yourself the full truth about yourself and your life. Consider whether self-fulfilling prophecies about your propensity for failure are more or less encouraging to you than affirmations and a "solution orientation".
  • Self-esteem. Develop positive self-esteem by honestly inventorying your skills and achievements and doing what you're good at. This also applies to who we spend time with ~ our self-esteem increases when we spend more time with people who respect and appreciate us for who we are, not for who we could be if only we were the way they wished we were.
  • Alternatives. Develop positive habits of respectful behavior towards self and others to counter the older anger-oriented responses to "triggers" in your environment.
  • Track It. Practice your new responses to life. Keep a journal to track and reinforce change. A journal will also clarify issues which require further problem solving, or dysfunctional patterns which are keeping you from the progress and change that you desire.
back to top  
 
   
Sources:
1. "Controlling Anger Before It Controls You", 2002, Amer. Psychological Assn., http://www.apa.org/pubinfo/anger.html
2. "Anger Management", 2001, Partner Therapy Group, http://www.partnertherapy.com/PartnerTherapy/178
3. "The Psychology of Anger", 2001, R. Richmond, http://members.aol.com/avpsyrich/anger.htm
4. "Anger Toolkit", 2001, L. Ingram, http://www.angermgmt.com/measure.html
5. "Relationships", 2001, N. Hightower, http://www.angerbusters.com/coaching.htm
6. "Coping With Anger", 2000, D. Schilling, http://www.womensmedia.com/seminar-anger.html
7. Adapted from "Therapist's Guide to Clinical Intervention: The 1-2-3's of Treatment Planning", S. Johnson. 1997. San Diego (Academic Press). p203.
8. Questions Inspired by "Invitations to Responsibility", A. Jenkins, 1990, Dulwich Centre Publications, Adelaide, S. Australia.
 

Terms of Use
All content property of the respective owners ~ Website 2016 Therapy Alternatives
 
Click here Click here Click here