Anger is an emotion that is useful and necessary as well as harmful. We teach anger management skills as well as interventions for resolving the underlying reasons for an individual’s anger
IDENTIFYING AND OVERCOMING YOUR TRIGGERS
Assessing Responses to Specific Triggers
Question 1: Are you enjoying “getting off” on your anger?
Plenty of people do, of course. They feel energized and powerful when they’re angry in a way that they do not feel at any other time. You can actually become addicted to this sense of controlling others through your anger. Your answer to this question will also make a significant difference on those occasions when a little manipulation on your part will determine whether you become angry or not.
Question 2: When you are angry, do you want to be in full control of your behavior, or be spontaneous?
In other words, do you want to decide what you do with your anger or do you want to let it take you “over the falls?” Maintaining control of your anger will result in an enhanced sense of self-esteem and self-worth.
Question 3: If you want to be in full control of your behavior, are you willing to spend the energy that is required to stay ahead of the action?
This question is vitally important, because full control requires the kind of vigilance athletes maintain on the day of a game. But in the case of anger, you seldom know ahead of time when “game day” will occur. It could be anytime, so you have to stay ready all the time.
Your motivation to stay in control of your anger needs to be continually high. To maintain this required level of energy and motivation, deep breathing and progressive relaxation techniques are very useful and highly recommended. Behavioral techniques can also reduce the physiological arousal associated with anger. Practice the techniques by imagining yourself in an anger-provoking situation. Feel the arousal. Then employ both safe behavioral release and then relaxation technique, such as deep breathing. Once you master this through imagination, you will be able to apply it to real life anger-provoking situations.
Unhealthy anger behaviors can be unlearned and replaced with healthier patterns of coping. One method is called stress-inoculation, which requires mindfully assessing your triggers.
Step 1: Assess which situations are most irritating. This includes the time of day, people involved and the specific mood that may contribute to these feelings. The major coping skill at this level involves learning to avoid these triggering situations.
Step 2: Become more aware of your thinking patterns. The degree of anger we experience may be mediated by how we form our thoughts. If we can overcome our triggers by thinking through our approach to the world in a more conscious and realistic manner, we can avoid making situations worse for ourselves, which often leads to the experience of unnecessary anger.
Step 3: Shift your internal approach and situational beliefs. Changing the way you appraise certain events will help you deter your feelings of aggression. For example, instead of using the words “should” or “can’t,” perhaps begin implementing words like “would like to” or “am choosing not to,” respectively. Beliefs about a particular situation can be the fuel for success or destruction.
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