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People get angry everyday. It can be about the kids leaving a mess, or someone driving too slowly in the fast lane, a girlfriend that cheats on you or somebody who cuts in front of you in the movie or supermarket line. Especially infuriating can be when you’ve worked really hard and a colleague gets the promotion you were vying for. Anger generally stems from the feeling of being mistreated and results in blaming someone or something else for the perceived treatment. Many people have the skills to turn their anger into a positive experience by using it to start a good discussion with the boss about what they could improve on for their future success, or resolve an ongoing issue with a spouse by calmly communicating their feelings. It can be a positive motivator to help you get things off your chest and at least make you feel better. However, some people express their anger in high conflict and inappropriate ways that are harmful and scary to everyone involved.

People who have problems with anger control usually don’t understand that they can choose how they respond. In many cases, angry people start with the premise that they just can’t help it and expect that others will understand that they don’t really mean it. It’s all the traffic, their lack of rest, or their stress level that is making them react in such a way and others should be able to empathize with what they are going through. Angry people also believe that feelings of frustration, hurt, anxiety or fear are unacceptable instead of something they might learn from, so they stay angry to avoid the pain of the situation.

In many circumstances, people with anger management problems grew up in homes in which they witnessed their parents screaming and yelling. They may have been hit as punishment or verbally put down in front of others and this is all they know. They think that this is these are the only ways to stop a conflict, however in the end it just makes for an unhappy life. The reality is that chronic anger creates more stress in life, makes you feel unsettled and irritable and can be physically debilitating.

So how do angry people change their ways? The key is to change these assumptions and utilize anger management techniques to change your thinking. Start by owning your behavior and accept that you are in control of how you respond to things. Take a look around and look for the blessings in your life rather than focusing on the negative. When you start to feel the rage boiling, give yourself a time-out and go for a walk, count to ten or talk to someone else who can help you figure out the situation before you respond to the person you are angry with. Instead of starting an argument with demands and threats, explain calmly and clearly why you are feeling angry and then listen to the other person’s point of view. Giving the other person your complete attention will show respect and might even help you understand their behavior. Utilizing anger management skills and getting your temper under control is a New Years resolution worth enforcing now.

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