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Anger is one way the body tells us to take action. It happens when our expectations about something or someone aren’t being met or when we feel hurt by another person’s actions. It can be a great source of energy that motivates us to solve problems, get over obstacles and get things accomplished. Think about times when you’ve received a poor grade on a test and it’s invigorated you to study harder for the next test. Or when you’ve been passed over for a promotion at work and it’s made you look for a better, more fulfilling job outside the company. In contrast, it can also be an extremely debilitating emotion when we respond by thinking, feeling or acting in an unrealistic or unsafe way. Our anger towards unmet goals can cause us to blame others and direct our aggression at them instead of using learned skills to overcome the feeling ourselves.

Anger management is generally something that we learn growing up. How did your parents react to situations they weren’t happy about? Did they pull out the belt or scream and lobby hurtful comments? Or, did take they calmly take time to respond after thinking things over and coming up with a reasonable solution? The role models you grew up with have a big part in how you manage your anger today. If you are ready to tame your temper, you must resolve to learn the appropriate techniques to manage it. Anger is a choice and saying that you can’t control yourself when you are mad is a poor excuse.

Learning anger management skills either in a classroom setting, online or with one-to-one therapy is about understanding how anger affects you, what triggers the emotions, increasing empathy, better communication and listening, having a more positive outlook and improving problem solving abilities.

Everyone has to face problems in life. When you have good judgment and problem-solving skills you are better able to manage the situation by evaluating the information at hand and considering different, appropriate ways to resolve it.

Some basic problem solving steps include:

1. Determine the problem.

2. Define it.

3. Look at various ways to fix it. Avoid guessing.

4. Make a plan, either on your own or in negotiation with the other party.

5. Analyze the consequences.

6. Check your progress.

6. Reconvene to make adjustments or move on.

The goal of problem solving isn’t necessarily to determine who is right and who is wrong. It’s to find a solution that the people involved can live with. When you’re angry you are looking for people to hear what you are saying. Screaming, yelling or using physical force usually sends people in the other direction. Instead, consider making an effort to calm down before responding. Communication with an open, clear and respectful conversation is essential so everyone involved feels safe and like their opinion counts. The collaborative approach can be insightful and inspiring. Learning to manage your anger will enhance every aspect of life from work to family to friendships.

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