How to Make Anger Your Ally

Part of the Anger Management For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Believe it or not there is a positive side to anger. You can use anger constructively to lead a happier, healthier, and more productive life by using these techniques:

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

  • Acknowledge your anger. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying, “I am angry.”

  • Focus your anger on the problem, not the person. Try not to personalize your anger (by saying something like, “That idiot!”). Stick to the issue that triggered the emotion: “He doesn’t return my e-mails and I have a deadline.”

  • 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, your inability to forgive, and so on.

  • Accept that all problems can be solved. Most people use anger to try and “fix” other people. Try fixing 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 subjective. Maybe if you looked at things from the other person’s viewpoint, you wouldn’t get so mad.

  • Co-op the person with whom you’re angry. Ask the other person, “What can we do about my anger?” Or, better yet, “What can we do about solving this problem so I don’t have to get angry?”

  • Keep a civil tone 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, cussing, lecturing, or sighing.

  • Make anger a two-way conversation. Don’t just be angry at someone — be angry with them. That means letting him have a say as well. Ask him how he feels about your anger — does he think it’s justified?

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Anger Management For Dummies Cheat Sheet