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Take a deep breath and count to ten. We all get angry, whether it be at a delayed train that makes you late for a meeting, a friend or relative who just doesn’t get that the world doesn’t revolve around them, or a robotic cold calling service that always rings just as you are stepping out the front door (grrr). However, when anger becomes a problem and begins to have a severely negative impact on your day-to-day life, it may be time to seek help.
The first step towards managing anger levels that have got out of control is a visit to your GP. Before your appointment, make a note of what has happened in the recent past to trigger your anger and what may have raised it to problem levels in the first place (an incident when you were younger, an unexpected life event or a troubled relationship with someone in your life where communication has broken down).
Your doctor will probably guide you through some self help techniques to try out before they decide whether or not to refer you to specialist anger management groups, and these may include lifestyle changes, stress management and relaxation techniques. Following this, if you do get referred, there are several types of anger management training you are likely to undergo:
Anger Management Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT
CBT is designed to change the way you think about situations and your behaviour in response to them. By making you consciously think about normally unconscious thoughts and actions, it is meant to help improve your self esteem and confidence in the present rather than looking to the past for answers. A series of weekly sessions is usually recommended.
Anger Management Programmes
If your anger has manifested as violence on occasion, then the one-on-one counselling and group advice sessions provided by specialist anger management courses may be of help. These teach you how to express your anger calmly and in a non-destructive way and can take place over the course of a day, several weeks or may run for months at a time.
Despite the name suggesting forcefulness, assertiveness training is meant to help you to stay calm and consider your emotions before expressing them in a constructive way that doesn’t adversely affect the people around you. If your anger is a result of an inability to form an emotional outlet any other way, this might be the solution for you.
If you feel your anger has gone beyond controllable frustration or every day events leave your blood boiling in a disproportionate way, then it may be worth your while considering anger management therapy. Do not confuse getting annoyed every now and then with a situation that has got out of hand though. Find a way to laugh it off, or invest time in a creative or otherwise pleasurable activity that helps you let off some steam and escape from sources of stress (such as exercise, a calming bath or playing a musical instrument).
More than 1 in 10 people in the UK say that they have trouble controlling their own anger but fewer than one in seven (13%) of those people have sought help for their anger problems.