The term anger management commonly refers to a system of psychological therapeutic techniques and exercises by which someone with excessive or uncontrollable anger & aggression can control or reduce the triggers, degrees, and effects of an angered emotional state. In some countries, courses in anger management may be mandated by their legal system.
One strategy for controlling anger is finding agreement with another person rather than conflict. The use of deep breathing and meditation can be used as a means of relaxation. Other interventions include learning empathy, stress management skills, forgiveness, changing how you speak about yourself or others and improving optimism. Other approaches emphasize experiential exercises that enable changes in attitude reducing the tendency toward anger. As the issue of anger varies from person to person, solutions need to respect and build upon each individual's life experience.
Some psychologists recommend a balanced approach to anger that controls the emotion and allows the emotion to express itself in a healthy way. Some descriptions of actions of anger management are:
- Direct: This includes making behavior visible and making communication clear. The end result is to not become resentful but, rather, be honest about the feeling of anger and what is causing it.
- Honorable: This includes identifying the moral basis for the anger and being willing to dialog around the reason for the anger. In short, this includes taking responsibility for actions.
- Focused: This means staying with the issue of concern and not bringing up irrelevant material.
- Courageous: This implies careful and thoughtful self-examination. Additionally, this means being willing to admit when one is wrong or when a reaction is inappropriate.
- Humility: This means seeking the truth instead of being defensive and self-justifying.
- Forgiveness: This means acknowledging the wrong in someone else's behavior or words and then letting go of bitterness and resentment associated with that wrong.
- Listen: This means hearing the other person out and asking questions around their feelings and their reasons for their action.
- Thankfulness: This means finding elements related to the situation where one is genuinely appreciative and expressing that.
A common skill used in most anger management programs is learning assertive communication techniques. Assertive communication is the appropriate use of expressing feelings and needs without offending or taking away the rights of others. It is typically started with the use of "I" statements followed by a need statement. For example, "I feel upset when you don't take my feelings into consideration when you talk about your past relationships. I hope you can be more thoughtful and know what you should and should not say the next time."