Anger Management Exercises

Although reaction to anger is often characterized as "boiling over", "exploding", or "losing your cool", intense anger reactions vary from violent physical displays to depression. Along with punching and smashing, angry people also "lose control" and yell, curse, make sarcastic comments, become depressed, shake, feel nauseous, feel dizzy, get headaches, and cry.

The anger management exercise below will help you find your anger triggers, evaluate, and change your reactions to anger.

1. Think of five things that always make you angry or annoy you. These are anger triggers and they can range from small annoyances to volcanic events. For instance, an anger trigger may be a finger-drumming acquaintance, a neighborhood barking dog, a driver who cuts you off in traffic, or just the stop-go frustration of rush hour on an Interstate highway.

2. Rate the five triggers from one to five as to how much they irritate you.

3. How do you react to each trigger? Some negative reactions are in the list below:

    A. Do you get into physical fights with others?
    B. Do you punch, hit, or kick inanimate objects or pets?

Getting physical is never a long-term solution to problems. If either A or B is a common reaction to anger, consider finding help in an anger management class, a support group, or through private counseling.

    C. Do you frequently slam doors, sometimes to the point of damaging them?
    D. Do you throw, break, or destroy objects to relieve your anger?
    E. Do you stomp your feet in anger?

Although none of these solves the problems that made us angry, you can adapt them to help relieve some of the adrenaline that makes anger erupt. Find a safe place and tantrum away! After you're calm again, examine what happened and use anger management strategies and anger management techniques to keep it from happening again.

    F. Do you yell until you're hoarse? Do you often say things that you regret later?
    G. Do you face confrontation with sarcasm?
    H. Do you often say things that you later regret?

If you answered yes to F, G, or H you're probably finding that none solves the problems that stir up your anger. Brainstorm to find better avenues of communication. Then use anger management strategies and anger management techniques to help you resolve your anger triggers.

    I. Do you shy away from confrontation? Do you keep your feelings to yourself?
    J. Do you brood over the unfairness or hopelessness of situations?
    K. Do you say, "We'll talk about it later" and never do?

Internalized anger can lead to both physical health problems (such as nausea, dizziness, indigestion) and mental health problems like depression. If your response to I, J, or K was "yes", consider taking an anger management class, some assertiveness training, or finding help through private counseling.

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