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5 Step Approach to Managing Anger

If something happens that makes you feel angry (like not being allowed to go to a play until you clean your room), this approach can help you manage your reaction.It is called a problem-solving approach because you start with the problem you are mad about. Then you weigh your choices and decide what you will do.
Each step involves asking yourself a couple of questions, then answering them based on your particular situation. Let us take the example from the start of this article: Your mom has just told you to clean your room or stay home. You really want to go to that play. The red-hot anger starts building. Here is what to do:

1) Tune in to your feelings (self-awareness). Start by noticing what you are angry about and why. Put into words what is making you upset so you can act rather than react.

Ask yourself: What is got me angry? What am I feeling and why? You can do this either in your mind or out loud, but it needs to be clear and specific. For example: "I am really angry at Mom because she wont let me go to play until I clean my room. It is not fair!" Your feeling is anger, and you are feeling angry because you might not get to go to play.

Notice that this is not the same as saying, "Mom is so unfair to me." That statement does not identify the specific problem (that you can not go to the play until you clean your room) and it does not say how you are feeling (angry).

2) Stop and think (self-control). This is where you stop for a minute to give yourself time to manage your anger. It is also where you start thinking of how you might react - but without reacting yet.

Ask yourself: What can I do? Think of at least three things. For example, in this situation you might think:

(a) I could yell at Mom and throw a fit.
(b) I could clean my room and then ask if I could go to the play.
(c) I could sneak out to the play anyway.

3) Consider your options (think it through). This is where you think about what is likely to result from each of the different reactions you came up with.

Ask yourself: What will happen for each one of these options? For example:

(a) Yelling at your mom may get you in worse trouble or even grounded.

(b) Cleaning your room takes work and you may get to the play late (but hey, arriving late may add to your mystique). With this option, you get to go to the play and your room is clean so you don not have to worry about it for a while.
(c) Sneaking out may seem like a real option in the heat of anger. But when you really think it through, it is pretty unlikely you would get away with being gone for hours with no one noticing. And when you do get caught - look out!

4) Make a decision (pick one of your options). This is where you take action by choosing one of the three things you could do. Look at the list and pick the one that is likely to be most effective.

Ask yourself: What is my best choice? By the time you have thought it through, you are probably past yelling at your mom, which is a knee-jerk response. You may have also decided that sneaking out is too risky. Neither of these options is likely to get you to the play. So option (b) probably seems like the best choice.

Once you choose your solution, then it is time to act.

5) Check your progress. After you have acted and the situation is over, spend some time thinking about how it went.

Ask yourself: How did I do? Did things work out as I expected? If not, why not? Am I satisfied with the choice I made? Taking some time to reflect on how things worked out after it is all over is a very important step. It helps you learn about yourself and it allows you to test which problem-solving approaches work best in different situations.

Give yourself a pat on the back if the solution you chose worked out well. If it did not, go back through the five steps and see if you can figure out why.

These five steps are pretty simple when you are calm, but are much tougher to work through when you are angry or sad (kind of like in basketball practice when making baskets is much easier than in a real game when the pressure is on!). So it helps to practice over and over again.

About The Author:Alim has been writing articles online for nearly 3 years. Not only does this author specialize in technical writing, but you can also check out his latest website on conference room table which reviews and lists best conference room furniture, includes used conference table 



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