Anger management is a term used to describe the skills you need to recognize that you, or someone else, is becoming angry and take appropriate action to deal with the situation in a positive way.

Anger management does not mean internalizing or suppressing anger.

Anger is a perfectly normal human emotion and, when dealt with appropriately, can even be considered a healthy emotion.  We all feel angry from time to time, yet this feeling can lead us to say or do things that we later regret. Anger can reduce our inhibitions and make us act inappropriately.

Anger management concerns recognizing the triggers for anger as early as possible and expressing these feelings and frustrations in a cool, calm and collected way.

We often have learnt-behaviors as to how to deal with strong emotions, so anger management is about unlearning ineffective coping mechanisms and re-learning more positive ways to deal with the problems and frustrations associated with anger.

There are many anger management techniques that you can learn and practice by yourself or teach to others. However if you, or someone you know, experiences a lot of regular anger or very strong anger (rage) then seeking help, usually in the form of a counsellor, can be more effective.

You should seek professional help if anger is having a long-term negative impact on your relationships, is making you unhappy, or is resulting in any dangerous or violent behavior.

Signs and Symptoms

If your anger becomes violent or abusive, then much of your life can be affected. This destructive behaviour can affect your career and relationships, and be very damaging for those around you. Talking to a professional can help – you can learn how to cope with your anger, but also how to rebuild any damaged relationships.

It is important to recognise the signs, as being aware of your feelings can help you manage your anger in future situations. When you sense aggression, you may feel a rush of adrenaline through your body – this is why you may react quickly, without control. With adrenaline, you may notice your breath quicken, your heart beating faster and your body becoming tense. Recognising these signs gives you the opportunity to stop and think about how you want to react to a situation.

Signs of an anger problem may include:

  • Explosive outbursts and breaking things.
  • Getting involved in physical violence.
  • Arguing with people around you.
  • Losing your temper quickly (for example, road rage).
  • A constant desire to lash out physically or verbally.