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Anger management tips and techniques: triggers and hot buttons

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The biggest issue with anger management is to know where to start, so I am going to take you through a couple things I have found most effective over the last few years working with hundreds of angry people who want to control their temper.

The first thing to look at is to recognise that we all have 'hot buttons' or 'triggers' that make us angry. Sometimes one word can trigger us into a huge rage. This gives other people huge power over us. I particularly dislike 'wind-up merchants' these are people who delight in getting others wound up

The consequences are often that we end up excluded in trouble, or injured. Some people may use these triggers to 'wind us up' deliberately and enjoy seeing us get angry. You are not a sideshow or an exhibit, so don't give them the satisfaction. If you can somehow free yourself from these triggers, you will be making a big step in starting to manage your anger.

Ways to try and manage your triggers and hot buttons

There are a number of ways you can learn to recognise and manage your triggers to help you start controlling your anger. These can include:

  • Recognising that some people and some places increase the likelihood of this trigger being pulled (or the button being pressed). You could try to avoid these people and places.
  • Recognising the anger building up in you. Make a sharp and powerful exit or tell the person 'I am not going to give you the satisfaction of seeing me get angry, you're not worth it'.
  • Using humour, such as 'that old one' 'I love you too' 'yeah, yeah'. They won't get so much fun out of winding you up if there is no reaction.
  • Speak to friends to gain their support. Ask them to intervene before you lose it or help you walk away.

Remember: it is more powerful to not show or have a big reaction.

Dealing with pent-up anger

Some people are left with a lot of anger inside themselves. I have known people punch walls and even self-harm as a result. This is often because the anger is frequently held inside. One of the best ways to deal with this is to do something physical. This could be a fast walk and run, a bike ride, swimming, press ups, hitting a punching bag or something similar. For others, they need to run for an hour, others get away with squeezing a stress ball.

Some people get a great benefit from working one to one or as part of a group with a counsellor because there is something going on for them that is causing them to be angry. The counsellor can give them time and space and talk about this, help them learn to recognise the signs of their anger and become more aware of their feelings, as well as explore managing their anger. 

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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