Coping skills

7 Strategies Anger Management

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Katie Donahoo

Anger is a natural human emotion that can be difficult to manage, especially when it gets out of control. Many people struggle with angry outbursts, which can lead to conflicts and damage relationships. Learning how to manage anger effectively is crucial for personal and professional success, as well as maintaining healthy relationships.

Here are some tips for managing anger:

  1. Recognize the signs of anger

The first step in managing anger is to be aware of it. This means paying attention to your body and noticing the physical signs of anger, such as tense muscles, rapid breathing, and an increased heart rate. You may also notice that your thoughts become more negative and critical, or that you feel a strong desire to react aggressively.

  1. Identify the root cause of your anger

Anger is often a secondary emotion, meaning that it is usually a response to something else. For example, you may be feeling angry because you are frustrated, hurt, or scared. By identifying the root cause of your anger, you can better understand why you are feeling this way and take steps to address the underlying issue.

  1. Practice relaxation techniques

When you are feeling angry, it is important to find ways to calm down. This can help you think more clearly and make better decisions. Some relaxation techniques that may be helpful include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation.

  1. Use healthy coping mechanisms

There are many healthy ways to cope with anger, such as talking to a trusted friend or family member, writing in a journal, or engaging in physical activity. These activities can help you process your emotions and find more constructive ways to deal with your anger.

  1. Communicate effectively

Effective communication is key to managing anger. When you are feeling angry, it is important to express your feelings in a clear and respectful way. Avoid using aggressive or threatening language, and try to stay calm and focused on the issue at hand.

  1. Set boundaries

Boundaries are an important part of managing anger. By setting limits and boundaries, you can protect yourself and your relationships. For example, you might set a boundary around how much time you are willing to spend with someone who regularly triggers your anger.

  1. Seek help if needed

Sometimes, anger can become overwhelming and difficult to manage on your own. If you find that your anger is causing problems in your relationships or leading to destructive behaviors, it may be helpful to seek the help of a mental health professional.

Managing anger is a skill that takes practice. By recognizing the signs of anger, identifying the root cause, and using healthy coping mechanisms, you can learn to control your anger and improve your relationships and overall well-being.

Coping skills

How To Control Your Anger in 4 Steps

By Katie Donahoo

Photo by Vera Arsic on

Do you lose your temper easily? Have people close to you said you have an anger problem? Is it just too easy for you to scream, yell, and in general lose your cool? Then this article is for you. Anger is a universal emotion experienced by all people at one time or another. Some people are able to grit their teeth a bear it, others lose their shit at the slightest provocation. So what stops some people from flying off the handle while others struggle to control themselves? 

First, it helps to have an understanding of anger. Anger is a normal human emotion experienced by all people. Anger in humans is complex as we experience anger in response to a wide variety of stimuli: thoughts, experiences, events. And, as humans, we can get angry at ourselves over our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This self directed anger is different than what you would in any animal. You would never see an animal get angry at themself for napping when they should be working. 

To better understand anger think of a tree: deep roots, a tall trunk, and a wide breadth of leaves. The tall trunk and the breadth of leaves represent the observable parts of anger such as screaming, cursing, breaking things, verbal and physical aggression, and so on. In children you might see crying, biting, or temper tantrums. However, beneath the surface lies the true roots of anger: fear and pain. Think of these terms in the most broad sense. Fear for safety and physical pain can be included but we are talking about the psychological and emotional sense as well. Consider fears around loss of esteem or regard, losing face or embarrassment, the fear of abandonment. Do the same for pain. Consider the pain caused by other peoples words and actions, the unfairness of life, the loss of a loved one, or your own anxious or depressed thinking patterns, the ending of a significant relationship or career. 

Think back to the last time you were angry and ask yourself the following questions. What was causing me pain in that moment? What was I most afraid of in that moment? Was there another root emotion I was feeling? Have I felt these pains or fears before? 

These questions can be difficult to answer but I’m betting you will see the root of your anger in a new light. Understanding the root of your anger is the first step in controlling your anger. When we know what our fears and pain points are we can better identify our triggers for anger and, therefore, control our responses by managing our emotions more effectively. The goal should not be to never feel anger. Anger is a part of the human experience. A better goal would be to increase your control over your anger so your anger can no longer control you. 

When working on managing your emotions effectively it is helpful to consider the things that impact your daily life such as environment, physical health, attitude, and expectations. Consider, for example, the impact on your anger if you were feeling tired, in an environment that was overstimulating, if you were in an irritable mood, and if you then were let down by a co-worker who was supposed to bring the presentation you had been working on but they lost their computer. So many factors play into our everyday lives. Think about the variables listed above and where you can gain awareness around what triggers your anger. If understanding anger is step 1, then awareness around your own personal triggers is step 2. Recognizing the physical, mental, and behavioral warning signs for your anger. Do you clench your jaw or fists? What muscles tighten when you first start to feel irritated? Does your heart rate increase or your body temperature rise? Does you breathing change? Are your thoughts running a million miles per hour or circle round and round fueling your anger? 

Once you gain awareness of your triggers and warning signs you can begin to practice and implement coping strategies to help manage your emotions and self care strategies to help decrease you sensitivity to your triggers. Having a regular sleep wake routine, eating right and exercise can be helpful to maintaining emotional health. Managing expectations or avoiding specific triggering situations and help you to balance your responsibilities with unexpected triggers. For example, if you stayed up late with friends and have to work the next day you might make sure to fit in your morning work out to get your blood flowing for the day. If you are a person who doesn’t like crowds and loud sounds you may choose to walk to work or get an Uber rather ride the bus or subway. You might choose to prioritize a healthy lunch on a day when you know you have an important meeting that might run late. 

Another way to manage anger is to challenge your thinking. Is my anger justified? (Have your rights been violated or are you just disappointed?) Is my anger displaced? (Am I taking my angry feelings out one someone or something that had nothing to do with the original source of my anger?) Am I taking things personally? Am I over reatcting to something that is outside of my control? Am I expecting too much of others or myself? Who can I talk to about my anger?

Anger has a way keeping you stuck in your problem and making if difficult to get out. Talking with a trusted friend, loved one, or a counselor can help you manage your anger more effectively. Exploring alternatives or ways you have solved issues in the past with another person can help you get un-stuck. Once you begin working on controlling your anger don’t forget to reward yourself for the small wins on this journey. 

Step 1: Understand the Root of Your Anger

Step 2: Gain Awareness of Your Triggers

Step 3: Implement Coping Strategies and Self-Care

Step 4: Reward the Small Wins


The 5 Stages of Grief and How To Cope with Loss

by: Katie Donahoo

Grief is not an emotion, it is a response to loss. When we lose someone or something we experience grief, which includes many emotions. The Kubler-Ross model, The 5 Stages of Grief, is a framework for the different emotions one experiences as they process a loss. The 5 stages of grief are not linear, meaning they do not necessarily progress from stage 1 to stage 2, etc. The stages are fluid and a person experiencing grief will ebb and flow through the stages, sometimes repeating stages, as they heal.

The 5 Stages of Grief

Denial – During this stage of grief people often feel disbelief about the loss that just occurred. They may feel numb or experience a surreal feeling. Thoughts like, “This can’t be happening.” may fill their minds.

Anger – During this stage the person grieving may experience anger towards themself, others, or the deceased (if there was a death). Resentments at self or others may be experienced in this stage. Thoughts such as, “Why is this happening to me?” are common.

Bargaining – During this stage a person may try to do whatever they can to either prevent an impending loss or get back what they have lost. Valiant efforts to find cures or re-establish relationships may occur. Thoughts of “I will do anything to change this.” mark this stage.

Depression – Overwhelming sadness is the hallmark of the depression stage. Crying, avoidance, and isolation may be seen in this stage. Thoughts of “What’s the point of going on?” may be had. This stage is often what people assume grief looks like. If this stage lasts for a long period of time or is more intense than the others it can be cause for concern. Often, once a person has experienced the depression stage they are able to move into acceptance immediately following.

Acceptance – In this stage a person has come to accept the loss as a fact and realizes they will be able to move forward, even if it’s difficult. Thoughts like, “I know it happened. I can’t change it. I need to cope now.” occur in this stage.

A person may find themselves angry one day, depressed the next, and trying to bargain the following. A person may get to acceptance within a month following a loss and six months later find themself in a depressed stage again. There is no ‘right way’ to grieve or experience the stages.

Helpful tips for coping with and processing through grief include:

*Rituals – participate in memorials, funerals, and other intentional activities to honor the loss.

*Emotional Acceptance – allow yourself to feel your emotions without stuffing them. Have a good cry or scream out loud, whatever you need to get the emotions out of you.

*Talk About It – when you can, find a loved one or trusted friend with whom to talk about your loss. Share how it has effect you and how you are feeling.

*Letter to the Lost – write a ‘goodbye’ letter to the person or thing you have lost sharing how the loss has impacted you and how you feel about going on without it/them.

While there is no official timeline for grieving, it is important to process your grief to avoid prolonged suffering or trauma. Should your symptoms be intense and last longer than 3 months OR if your symptoms are mild to moderate and last more than 6 months please seek professional help.

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