Practising Healthy Ways to Make Your Anger Work for You

Part of the Managing Anger with CBT For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

Studies in managing anger with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) show that letting anger take over your thoughts and actions every time you feel it trains your anger to become stronger. However, with some CBT tips and techniques you can learn to:

  • Keep your reactions in proportion to triggers: Rage about missing a train means you can’t react much more strongly to something really awful.

  • Choose actions instead of just reacting: Using angry feelings as a warning that you need to discuss a problem or make some changes, instead of getting your own back on the quiet or boiling over.

  • Let anger go as soon as you’ve got the message that there may be a problem: Living without suppressing anger (‘I don’t want to talk about it’), denying it (‘I’m not angry at all – really’), or throwing your weight around (‘I’ll show you’).

  • Learn to accept and forgive: Life isn’t perfect, and neither are people. No matter how much you want life to go well or believe it should be fair, getting wound up by problems rarely helps you to find the best answers.

  • Spot unhelpful beliefs which turn irritation into fury: Teach yourself to see every situation in life as having positives as well as negatives.

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