What Are the 7 Steps of Anger Management?

Medically Reviewed on 10/6/2022
What Are the 7 Steps of Anger Management
Learning how to control your anger before it turns into rage or resentment can help you improve your mental and physical health

We all get angry sometimes—it is a natural and sometimes even healthy emotion. However, learning how to control your anger before it turns into rage or resentment can help you improve your mental and physical health.

Here are 7 anger management strategies that can help you identify your triggers and learn how to cope with your feelings in a positive way.

7 steps of anger management

1. Identify your triggers

Make note of situations or things that tend to trigger your anger. For example, you may notice that you get angry whenever you have to deal with long lines or traffic or that you feel especially cranky when you are tired.

Noticing a pattern can help you recognize the dangers and plan ahead to avoid them whenever possible. If you are not able to avoid the situation, you may be able to practice some anger management techniques so that you are prepared to cope with the problem when it confronts you.

2. Understand the root of the emotion

Understanding why anger occurs is an important step in controlling it. Many people use anger to mask other feelings, such as fear, vulnerability, or humiliation. This may be especially true for adults who were not encouraged to express their feelings as children.

When you feel yourself getting angry, try to analyze where the emotion is coming from so that you can address the underlying issue if applicable.

3. Take a moment to pause before acting

If your anger begins to spin out of control, take a few deep breaths and remove yourself from the situation for a few minutes or as long as it takes you to calm down.

Taking a moment and pausing before acting can help you clear your mind and help you avoid reacting or lashing out in a way that you will regret later.

4. Think about the consequences

Anger can impair your judgment and divert your attention away from the long-term effects of your actions. In a fit of rage, you may do or say things that you will be embarrassed about or ashamed of in the future.

Consider the consequences of an angry reaction and analyze how it could affect your family or your job. 

5. Learn how to calm yourself down

Researchers have identified several effective ways to control anger through techniques such as deep breathing, centering, or mindfulness.

Centering involves consciously relaxing your body and breathing in order to shift your attention away from the situation that has triggered the anger. You can also practice mindfulness by taking a step back and observing your thoughts and feelings, then reevaluating the situation from the other person’s point of view. This can help you let go of tension and help your anger subside.

6. Find healthy ways to express your anger

If you have concluded that the situation is worth getting angry about, the key is to express your emotions in a healthy way. Learning how to express your anger in a calm and rational manner while not hurting those around you or yourself can help improve both your relationships and your overall health. 

7. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Controlling any emotion is easier when you are mentally and physically fit.

When you are angry, your body releases chemicals cortisol and adrenaline. With regular exercise, your body learns how to manage and regulate these chemicals and releases higher levels of endorphins, which make you feel good.

Sleep is also an important aspect of health. When you get proper sleep, your body and mind relax and repair damaged cells and neural pathways. This may make you less prone to anger.

Why is it important to manage your anger?

Researchers have found that anger can have long-term harmful effects on heart health.

If left uncontrolled or suppressed in unhealthy ways, anger can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Learning the principles of anger management can improve your mood, reduce your risk of chronic diseases, and help you maintain positive relationships.

Medically Reviewed on 10/6/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Performance Strategies: Five Steps to Managing Anger. https://www.hprc-online.org/social-fitness/relationship-building/performance-strategies-five-steps-managing-anger

Anger Management. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/anger-management.htm