Breaking the Anger Habit

Posted by: Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, Psy.D., ABPP

Breaking the Anger Habit

Becoming Aware of Anger: When you get angry, it is because an event has provoked your anger. To break your anger habit, you must develop an awareness of the events, circumstances, and behaviors of others that “trigger” your anger. This awareness also involves understanding the negative consequences that result from your anger.

Many times, specific events touch on sensitive areas of your life which refer to long-standing issues that can easily lead to anger. This may trigger your anger as you feel you are being criticized or judged. In addition to these events, you may also recall an event from the past that made you angry. Here are some examples of events or issues that can trigger anger:

  • Long waits to see your doctor, traffic congestion, a friend joking about a sensitive subject, being wrongly accused, being given wrong directions, and having money or property stolen from you.

Strategies for Controlling Anger: In addition to becoming aware of your anger, you need to develop strategies to effectively manage it. These strategies can be used to stop the escalation of anger before you lose control and experience negative consequences. Effective strategies for controlling your anger should include both immediate and preventative strategies.

  • Immediate strategies: taking a time out, deep-breathing exercises, and thought stopping.
  • Preventative strategies: developing an exercise program and challenging your irrational beliefs.

Lets use the timeout anger management strategy as an example: What if you are a passenger on a crowded bus and become angry because you perceive that people are deliberately bumping into you. In this situation, you can simply get off the bus and wait for a less crowded bus. The timeout method can be used both formally and informally.

This section is a preview of the rich information included in our Fully Online Anger Management Level 1 and Level 2 Online Courses. Both courses are full of valuable strategies for breaking the anger habit.