How to Control Your Anger: Learn What Makes You Mad

How to Control Your Anger: Learn What Makes You Mad

It is so easy to blame others for our emotions. Anger is something many people struggle with and is often a result of burn out.  They either are too verbally aggressive or even physically aggressive, or they may withhold their anger for fear of blowing up.  The key is to learn to express it in a healthy way, assertively.  The way to do that is to not let yourself get so aggravated to begin with.  Yes taking a few deep breaths helps. So does saying a funny word to yourself or out loud, which serves to give you a brief timeout to stop your impulsive behavior that is likely to follow.  Anger management groups are good for learning tools to use, but the benefits usually end there.  If the person with anger management problems doesn’t change the way they think about things, their anger style won’t change either.  The key is to focus on the automatic/negative thoughts that enter your mind and get control of them so you can control how you express your emotions.

Many people have certain trigger points or schemas (core beliefs that impact all beliefs) that make them angry in certain situations.  For instance someone with an inflated ego or someone who has been involved in gangs or like behavior, will be triggered by people/actions where their pride is challenged or they feel disrespected.  Knowing this about yourself will help you manage your anger.  Some people have expectations that people “should” act a certain way, usually the way they want, and get angry when they don’t.  Some things to keep in mind when challenging your angry thoughts:  Everybody thinks the world revolves around them. Everybody has a right to their opinion even if it is stupid.  People, at least most people, are not mind readers.  They might not know what you are thinking or expecting, and they might not even care.  It would be nice if people were courteous and considerate, but given the level of apathy present today, you are setting yourself up for agitation and disappointment to expect them to meet your expectations.  Another thing that might help when angry or anxious, is to ask yourself if that issue would still bother you a week, a year, ten years from now.  If the answer is no, then why get yourself so worked up? Anger that is not appropriately expressed makes us hard to be around and makes us physically sick. The biggest issue, something that usually only gets addressed in individual therapy, is being angry at yourself.  Sometimes we are angry with ourselves for choices we have made, maybe about work or in relationships.  Feeling trapped about a choice we made causes the most destructive kind of anger that we tend to displace onto others.  Anytime you find yourself getting irritable and snapping at others, ask yourself if you are angry with yourself for something.  You must learn to forgive yourself. We all have regrets and wish we made different choices.  The reality is that we made the best decisions we could at that time, and if something didn’t work out then one of two lessons needed to be learned.  One is that perhaps you needed that experience to get yourself on the path you wanted to be on.  Two, perhaps you need to hone your instincts and trust yourself more.  Both are invaluable lessons and experiences.  If you were in denial about something, know that it is better late than never.  Once you are able to see reality more clearly begin making changes rather than beating yourself up.  Begin to correct it.  We can’t change the past, however we can change our future. It is also important for both men and women to know this: anger is often a more comfortable emotion to feel, as many have the mistaken belief that showing emotions or tears are signs of weakness.  Anger can take on all emotions if you fear the others that are usually hiding behind it: sadness, anxiety, shame, guilt etc.

Quick tips for managing anger: Breathe, think before you react, who are you really angry with, forgive yourself for your regretted choices, and alter your thinking.


Dr. Umfer is a licensed clinical psychologist and forensic psychologist in Tampa Florida. She specializes in weight loss and forensic evaluations, such as sex offender risk assessments, psychological evaluations for substance abuse, competency, fitness for duty, immigration etc. She has certifications in fitness and nutrition, clinical hypnotherapy and as a meditation instructor. She identifies herself as a Forensic Evaluator and Weight Liberator and strives to help clients become "Umferized" aka empowered and fulfilled.

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