10 Tips for Anger Management

We often glorify anger in our culture and society.

Look at Charlie Sheen. His bizarre internet rants at his (now former) CBS bosses has landed him a nationwide sold-out tour. While some might argue anger is but a small part of what fuels his behavior, nonetheless, he’s angry.

Then there’s Chris Brown’s destructive behavior after an appearance on Good Morning America. After he took exception to Robin Roberts asking him about his arrest for assault on his then-girlfriend Rihanna, he stormed off the stage, skipping his final song to promote his new album which is called F.A.M.E. That stands for “Forgive All My Enemies” – hum, do you think Roberts might be one of those people he’s going to try to forgive?

He then allegedly smashed a window in his dressing room, ripped off his shirt and waded into a sea of reporters and photographers waiting outside the studio. Wow, seems he might have some things to deal with regarding his anger too, don’t cha think?

While these guys get attention and maybe even make more money from their behavior, most people won’t get away with that.

Licensed psychologist Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D. gives her 10 tips for ways “normal” folks can help control their anger and impulsive behavior. Farrell is the author of the book “How to Be Your Own Therapist: A Step-by-Step Guide to Taking Back Your Life” (McGraw-Hill, April 5, 2004, 978-0071433655).

  • Take a break. Walk away and take a deep breath. Your internal voice will help you calm down if you can just take a few before you react.
  • Express built up anger in a non-confrontational way to help relieve the situation.
  • Take 10 seconds to formulate your answer. Farrell says that is enough time to figure out the appropriate response.
  • Identify your triggers and the people who set those off to be prepared.
  • Think through solutions before they happen so you already have an idea of an appropriate response.
  • Accept that you are in control of your actions. No one “made” you do anything. You did it. Get over it.
  • Use humor, not sarcasm, to lighten the situation.
  • Learn some relaxation techniques to take the edge off such as deep breathing, positive self-talk and exercise. Take a walk.
  • Stop and ask yourself “Will I regret this?” and Farrell says to be honest with yourself. It can mean the difference between resolution and abuse, she says.
  • Do you need to take additional action such as entering an anger management program or some therapy? Think about it and again be honest.

So unlike Sheen and Brown who have publicists (sometimes), agents and other handlers, most people don’t. We have to take responsibility for our actions and here is some help.

Read more about Dr. Farrell on her website at www.drfarrell.net.

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