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Anger Manangement

Understanding Anger Management

Overcome Anger With The Power Of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy:


Understanding Anger

Anger is a common, normal healthy human emotion state that can range from mild irritation or annoyance to intense fury rage and is typically experienced by everyone.  Feeling angry is not necessarily a bad thing -It is sometimes appropriate to be angry, and mild anger can occasionally be useful to express strong feelings and deal with situations. Just like any other emotion anger is accompanied by bodily reactions. Anger doesn’t feel very good. It’s pretty gross, when you get angry stress hormones are released this increase your blood pressure and heart rate rise. This will create angry feelings such as becoming tenseness, agitation, shaking, become hot and sweaty and feel out of control. When people have angry feelings, they often behave in angry ways too. Angry behaviours include yelling, throwing things, criticising, ignoring, storming out and sometimes withdrawing and doing nothing.

Anger can be a destructive emotion when accompanied by strong feelings stated above, it can often lead to violence if not properly controlled and some people use anger as an excuse for being abusive towards others. Violence and abusive behaviour gives someone power and control over another person usually through creating fear. When anger is exaggerated, uncontrolled, or linked with dysfunctional behaviour, it becomes a problem that can affect all areas of life. Frequent or inappropriate anger can hurt our reputations, destroy our relationships, limit our opportunities, and even damage our health. The endless doses of stress hormones and the associated chemical reactions that go with recurrent unmanaged anger can eventually cause harm to many different systems of the body. Being angry is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.


Knowing trigger Thoughts Can Prevent An Anger Outburst (Identify the Root Cause of Anger)

People experience anger in different ways and for different reasons. Something that makes you furious may only mildly irritate someone else. As we go about our lives, we are constantly weighing up situations and deciding what to think or believe about them: good or bad, or neither good nor bad, safe or unsafe etc. The way we make sense of our world, things, situations and others influences how we feel about them. If we think we are in danger, we feel afraid. If we feel we have been wronged, we feel angry. These feelings determine how we react to the situation. We translate meanings into feelings very fast. With anger, that speed sometimes means that we react in ways we later regret. This subjectivity can make anger difficult to understand and manage. It also highlights that your response to anger is up to you.


What Is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy And How It Helps To Get Rid Of Dysfunctional anger?

At Steps To rational Living we offer Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of treatment that is based firmly on research findings.  We know for fact that angry behaviour patterns are habits that are learned, developed, repeated, and reinforced over a lifetime. Fortunately, these habits can be changed. CBT helps us to gain an insight understanding how unhelpful anger reactions get acquired, maintained and changed.

Automatic negative thoughts: Automatic negative thoughts are a stream of words, phrases and statements our conscious mind automatically tells us when we become aware of something. These thoughts are irrational, reflex and uncontrollable; they just appear without us putting any effort. They are distorted, and they are not based on facts or reality. We may not always be fully aware of them, but our body responds as if the negative thought indicates a real threat, loss, etc. Automatic, negative thoughts may lead us to respond as though people are deliberately hurting, demeaning or threatening us. This can lower the threshold (increase the likelihood) of an anger response.
Initially, negative thoughts help us to explain our negative feelings. Unchallenged, they heighten and entrench unwarranted negative feelings. If they become numerous and frequent, they can negatively impact our, self-concept, worldview, stress level, well-being and threshold for fear, depression and anger.

Automatic negative thoughts are empowered by certain mental mistakes. These habitual thinking mistakes include:

  1. Fallacy of Fairness: You feel resentful because you think you know what is fair but other people won't agree with you. Fairness is a subjective assessment of how much of what you expected, was provided by the other person.  These expectations are often biased and self-serving, and each person gets locked into his or her own point of view.  It is tempting to make assumptions about how things would change if people were only fair or really valued you. But the other person hardly ever sees it that way and you end up causing yourself a lot of pain.


  1. Preoccupation with Right and Wrong and Perceived Injustice: Blaming others is a way of life for some people. If you hear yourself continually saying, 'It's not fair!' then you are focusing on the negative instead of going into problem solving. Much of life really isn't fair! So what? Keeping score of slights from others and dwelling on them creates a climate of hurt and suspicion. Having a list of 'shoulds' for others, which are inconsistent their personality, will undermine relationships. Focusing on unfairness keep you caught up in anger mode, resentment and grudges. Bear in mind that normally life is unfair, but focusing on it only makes you more miserable.
  1. Personalisation. Taking things personally is a guaranteed ticket to a life of misery. Hypersensitive people generally have a big pool of hurt inside. If you figure out that you are a very sensitive person, get into therapy to find out why and what to do to toughen up. Suffering in silence or saying 'You make me feel....' is the most common error here. No one can make you feel anything. Your feelings are entirely your own.


  1. Commanding: This irrational way of thinking is strongly tied to the demanding mentality. These ways of thinking are interlocked with our must, ought and shoulds beliefs about how other people should think, feel and behave. These ideas initially start as sincere personal preferences before turned into commandments and demands. Having a well-developed sense of values is healthy. However, when your values become moral dictates for others, problems with anger will arise. Anger can be triggered when you judge others by a set of dictates about how they should behave. A common theme involves fairness is another important theme in demanding and commanding. Statements such as “that’s not fair” are indications of a commanding stance.

Thoughts to Challenge Demanding and Commanding:
What are the facts and what are my interpretations?
Is this situation really as important as I’m making it out to be?”
Just because there is something that I’m not happy with, does that mean that it’s totally no good?
So what if I don’t get what I want or treated the way I want. The world won’t end. I can live with this.

  1. Blaming: This irrational way of thinking goes hand in hand with anger and resentment. Some of us spend our entire lives blaming others for our own unhappiness. It is the most self-destructive and damaging way of thinking. The mistaken belief that underlies blaming is that other people are doing bad things to you, usually on purpose, and they aren’t going to get away with it. By blaming others, you overlook ways that you might be contributing to the problem. This can make you feel better at times, but it leaves you helpless, powerless and out of control as well. When you demand others to change you give up the power to change the situation that is causing you pain. This way of thinking leads people to kill others or themselves because we do not have the power to change others. It is useful to remember that people are usually doing the best they can. Everyone (including you) tends to behave in ways that meet their own needs. The people you are blaming are most likely just doing what they can to take care of themselves as best they know how.

Thoughts to Challenge Blaming: I know that blaming makes me helpless, so what can I do to change the situation?
I can make a plan to care for myself. I don’t like what they are doing but I know they are just doing their best. I’m not helpless. I can take care of this situation.

  1. Being Right: Being wrong is unthinkable and you will go to any lengths to demonstrate your rightness. The need to prove that your opinions and actions are correct can make you temporarily deaf and thereby isolate those close to you.  See if you can catch yourself "being right" during a disagreement with a significant other, then ask yourself: "Would I rather be right or happy?"
  2. Catastrophizing/Magnifying the Situation: This is more than just making a mountain out of a molehill or making things worse than they already are; it’s the tendency to take something bad and really run with it, extrapolating a bad situation into the worst possible scenario. By magnifying events and thinking of them as awful, terrible, or horrendous, you set yourself up to respond in an angry or hostile manner. You may behave as though your distorted or exaggerated view of the situation were actual fact. Luckily there are things you can do to control this tendency. First, make a realistic assessment. Ask yourself:“

How bad is it really?” Make every effort to answer honestly and realistically. Look at the whole picture, not just the annoyance. Every situation has its positive and negative aspects. By focusing on the positive, you can neutralize your anger.
Thoughts to Combat Catastrophizing: Yes, this is frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world. This is really no big deal. I don’t like it but I can handle it. I’ll get through this. This situation is a problem but I’ll do the best I can and not make it worse.

  1. Inflammatory Global Labelling: When we use label, we might call other people names. Instead of being specific—for example, saying, “that was not a nice thing to do’. We make sweeping negative judgments about people whose behaviour we don’t like. Instead of focusing on the behaviour, the label tends to upset the person as being totally wrong, bad, and worthless. This is accomplished by one-word descriptions like “loser”, “idiot”, “a mug” and many others. Global labels tend to fuel your anger by turning the person whose behaviour you don’t like into a worthless object. The best way to combat a tendency toward global labelling is to be specific. Focus on the annoying behaviour and describe it with precision. What happened? When did it happen? How often? How did it really impact you? Notice that this does not involve making judgments about the other person or making derogatory comments about them.

Thoughts to Challenge Global Inflammatory Labelling:
I feel frustrated but I can cope with this situation. It’s nothing more than a problem. I don’t have to make them into a wicked person. What is really bothering me? Stick to the facts. There is no reason they should do it my way.

  1. Black an White thinking: This way of thinking is interconnected to exaggeration way of thinking: When we think in black and white terms we tend to exaggerate the frequency of negative things in our life, like mistakes, disapproval and failures. Typically you might think to yourself: ‘People always get on my way’. ‘I always make mistakes’, or ‘everyone thinks I’m stupid’. The best antidote for black and white thinking is to make a conscious effort to look for exceptions. Realizing that people act in a variety of ways makes their behaviour less upsetting. Ideally, avoid using generalizing terms as much as possible and state clear descriptions of specific situations.

One way of dealing with black and white thinking is to get in the habit of “searching for the grey”. You can do this by using qualifying adjectives and adverbs such as “a little” “a lot”, or “somewhat”.
Another strategy is to decide to see others as complex, confusing, often contradictory beings. This is actually the truth – people are extremely complex. By looking closely at someone that you are angry with, you may be surprised to find aspects of their personality that you actually like.
Thoughts to combat black and white thinking: Try to be accurate and look for exceptions. How often does this really happen? What are the facts? What are my interpretations? Is there another way of looking at this situation/

  1. Negative hyper-focus is a strong bias towards seeing the bad in a situation. Similarly, negative forecasting refers to a pessimistic or catastrophic attitude about how things will turn out in the future. Negative projecting means believing that you know what people are thinking about you. Typically, we merely ascribe our own fears or motives to them.


CBT helps challenge the above mental mistakes that create anger management problems. CBT techniques for anger management helps to identify and challenge unhelpful, negative thinking patterns. This helps to gain a better cognitive control of anger.

Behaviour therapy strategies for anger management first focus on defining and targeting unwanted reactions and behaviours for anger control intervention. We identify anger triggers and learn productive, alternative responses. In our clinical practice of anger management, our therapists use a combination of cognitive and behavioural techniques. We often find Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, psycho educational and problem-solving coaching techniques to be the treatment of choice when used in combination and with good clinical judgment.

Created by Gean Viriri founder of Steps To Rational Living Psychotherapy


1. file Anger & Anxiety Techniques to Relax (pdf)


2. file CBT Techniques To Help Eliminate toxic Anger (pdf)


3. file Stress and Anger Management (pdf)


4. file The Irrational use of the word should, unhealthy demands and entitlement mentality (pdf)


5. file The Victim And The Blame Game Mental Mistakes (pdf)




Please note: If you are thinking about harming yourself or someone else, please call 999 for immediate assistance.