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Cheat Sheet

Anger Management For Dummies

While working to improve your anger management skills, having some key information to hand can be invaluable. Print out and pin up these useful reminders and guidelines to assist you in learning how to successfully manage your anger.

How to Keep Your Cool When Angry

When you find yourself getting angry, it’s time to take immediate action. It only takes 90 seconds to defuse your anger if you take the following steps:

  1. Score your anger out of 10. A rating of 1 to 3 means you’re irritated, 4 to 7 means you’re angry, and 8 to 10 means you’re in a rage.

  2. Stop yourself reacting immediately. Reacting in anger is what gets you in trouble. What’s the rush? What do you want to happen? Try to put your message across clearly, while you keep control of your behaviour.

  3. Give your feelings time. Emotions are temporary. They will pass even if you don’t act on them. Time is on your side. You don’t have to let your anger out, it evaporates.

  4. Relax. Take a deep breath. Focus on the tension levels in your body. Count to ten while you focus on relaxing, becoming calmer.

  5. Analyze your anger. Who are you angry at? Why are you angry? Do you really want to lose your cool? Is the cause really worth your anger?

  6. Give yourself three choices (and consider the consequences of each): Let it pass; respond with a vengeance; or walk away initially but return later to discuss why you were angry.

  7. Now respond. You’ve taken a moment to stay cool. Now make your response, keeping cool.

  8. Reward yourself for exercising self-control. Kept your cool and made your point? Congratulate yourself – control takes effort.

Manage Anger to Live Better

Anger management can help you to build a happier, healthier and more productive life. To manage your anger, all you have to do is follow these steps:

  • Decide how you want to feel after you express your anger. Do you want to feel ashamed or frustrated later? Or do you want to have a better understanding of how to deal with the person you were angry at?

  • Acknowledge your anger. Nothing’s wrong with saying, ‘I am angry.’ Focus your anger on the problem, not the person. Try not to personalise your anger (say ‘You dropped my coffee mug’ rather than ‘You idiot’!) Stick to the issue that triggered the emotion: ‘I don’t feel you take care of my things’.

  • Identify the source of your anger. This is the most important step of all. The source of your anger is always you. It has to do with the way you think, how stressed you are, how much sleep you’ve had, an inability to forgive, and so on.

  • Accept that most problems can be solved. Most people use anger to try to control life or other people. Try controlling problems instead and life will be a lot less emotional.

  • Try to see things from the other person’s perspective. Like all emotions, anger is personal to you. Maybe if you looked at things from the other person’s viewpoint, you wouldn’t get so angry.

  • Cooperate with the person you’re angry at. Ask the other person, ‘What can we do about solving this problem so I don’t feel angry?’

  • Stay polite throughout. Nobody likes to be shouted at and, besides, the message gets lost when the volume goes up.

  • Be respectful. No rolling of your eyes, finger pointing, swearing, lecturing or sighing.

  • Make anger a two-way conversation. Don’t just be angry at someone – be angry with them. That means letting them have a say as well. Ask them how they feel about your anger – can they see your point too?

When You're Angry: Aggression Do’s and Don’ts

When you are trying to manage your anger and aggression, consider these do’s and don’ts for getting what you want while still keeping your cool.

Anger Do’s:

  • Do be competitive. All successful people are competitive. The trick is to know when and how to compete, and when to cooperate to succeed.

  • Do be forceful in pursing goals. Passion and drive are what fuel success. It’s not enough to wish; you have to be achievement-driven in what you do. Anger is an energy.

  • Do be persistent in getting what you want out of life. When you start something, stick with it. Don’t allow anger to distract you from your objective or cause you to give up prematurely.

  • Do be direct in your communication. Let people know how you feel about things – big and little. Don’t leave it up to them to figure out if you’re angry and why. Most importantly, don’t say you’re fine when you’re not.

  • Do be a determined person. That means having resolve and being unwavering in what you say and do. Determination is a trait people admire.

Anger Don’ts:

  • Don’t be confrontational. You won’t accomplish everything you want in life with a hostile, in-your-face attitude. People typically avoid confrontation, so they end up avoiding you.

  • Don’t be too intense. Don’t overpower those around you. It’s exhausting – for you and for them.

  • Don’t be impatient. Give people a chance to work with you on solving a problem. When you set off on a track, you may be first to come up with an idea, but you’re also first up a dead end. Never be afraid to step away from a challenge in order to see it more clearly.

  • Don’t be demanding. People are more cooperative and less defensive if you ask them to do something instead of ordering them around.

  • Don’t be domineering. Don’t beat others over the head with your opinions and ideas. Don’t always think you have to have the last word. Stop interrupting and try being more of an active listener.

Anger Management at Work: How to Be a Less Disgruntled Employee

If you’re tired and fed up of being disgruntled, dissatisfied and disheartened at work, here are some things you can do to remedy the problem and manage your anger:

  • Accept the reality of your situation. You can’t change everything in the workplace. Stop focusing on how things ‘should’ be and instead deal with them as they are.

  • Stop personalising the issue. Just because you didn’t get the pay rise you wanted or you’re on the wrong end of some company policy, doesn’t mean that everyone is out to get you. It’s not all about you!

  • Write down how you feel. Take a few minutes each day and jot down all the negative emotions – including anger – you have at work. It’ll keep things from building up to the point where you feel like exploding.

  • *Pull back. Stop giving 120 percent at work. The most you can get back is 100 percent! Set some healthy limits on the energy you expend on the job – save some for other things like family, friends, relaxation or a spiritual life.

  • Mull over the positives. Instead of thinking so much about all the things you don’t like about work, think about something positive instead – something you have control over, some part of life where you don’t feel like a victim.

  • Find some benefit in what you do at work. No job is all bad. What’s the silver lining in the way you make a living? What is there about work that you’re grateful for?

  • Get some exercise. Regular, moderate exercise is a way of detoxifying your anger after work. Those 45 minutes of exercise on the way home can make all the difference to how your evening goes.

  • Be forgiving. No job is perfect. It’s important to forgive your employer for that! And forgive yourself for being employed in a situation that can be difficult and frustrating.

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