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Anger management techniques 

Dr Elizma van der Smit 2023  

 

See the following breathing technique, a thinking exercise as well as a grounding exercise:

 

The 7/11 technique 

In the heat of the moment, it can be helpful for clients to reach for a tried-and-tested anger management breathing technique to help them relax, clear their mind, and activate their parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) nervous system (Tyrrell, 2018).

  • Stop and focus on your breath
  • Breathe in for a quick count of 7
  • Breathe out for a quick count of 11
  • Keep going for at least 1 minute
  • Reflect on the consequences of responding from this more relaxed place (Tyrrell, 2018)

The “should” rule 

 

Step 1: What “should” rule is broken? 

Anger is triggered when one of our “should” rules is broken; for example, “They should be honest with me” or “He should return my call.” Acknowledging which rule is broken gives you the choice to accept what’s happened or continue to fight against it.

Step 2: What is hurtful or scary about this rule being broken? 

Step 3: “Hot thoughts” 

Identify thoughts that are very “hot” or emotional and try to change reactive thoughts; for example, change “He’s an idiot” to the more reflective thought, “He made an honest mistake” (Cotterell, 2021).

Step 4: Anger 

Learning to manage the arousal associated with anger can be done with classic relaxation practices, such as visualizations and progressive muscle relaxation.

Step 5: Moral Disengagement 

These rationalizations essentially make us feel better about doing bad things.

Step 6: Aggression 

You can empathize with people who make you feel angry. Why could they be acting that way? This is a perspective-taking exercise to help you manage your anger, the anger of others, and increase opportunities for constructive communication (Cotterell, 2021).

Step 7: Outcome 

Decrease feelings of guilt and understand that if you experience anger episodes again, you are not a failure. Each time this happens is an opportunity to learn and to disrupt the anger cycle with the strategies and skills. (Cotterell, 2021).

Countdown to Calmness  

When we ground ourselves, we are more able to use our wise mind to radically accept things as they are, rather than desperately trying to change them.

This exercise combines counting down from 5 while using your senses in a mindful way. Write your observations in the spaces provided below:

1. Acknowledge 5 things you see around you.

2. Acknowledge 4 things you can touch/feel around you.

3. Acknowledge 3 sounds around you.

4. Acknowledge 2 things you can smell around you.

 

Resources 

https://positivepsychology.com/anger-management-therapy/

This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy. This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393. 

This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.