Stress and Anger Management

On Sat, 26 the Employment Services Networking Club discussed stress and anger management.  Anger is a normal human emotion, and can range from mild irritation to an intense rage or fury. Anger is stressful. Learning to manage stress doesn't mean a stress-free life, but you may enjoy life more with simple techniques that can slow down the stressors in your life.

Triggers and Early Warning Signs
One of the first steps in managing your anger is to identify what types of situations usually trigger your anger. Stress often increases when we experience one or more of the following:

  • short on sleep

  • been eating lousy

  • working too much

  • multi-tasking

  • too much caffeine

  • heavy traffic conditions

  • jobs that are tedious

  • jobs requiring extreme attention concentration

  • have too many things to do in a day

  • certain people create stress for you

  • violent movies

  • horror movies

  • certain kinds of music

    Some situations you may be able to avoid, such as planning ahead to avoid running late. Other situations are less in your control, such as being cut off in traffic, but you can control what your response will be.

    When you realize you’re angry, it’s good to know why you’re feeling angry, and acknowledge it. It’s also important to know how to move past the anger so you don’t respond in a way that is out of proportion or taking out the anger on the wrong person.

    There are a number of techniques you can use to move past your anger:

    Time Out: Remove yourself from the situation for a period of time, to give yourself a chance to ‘cool down’ and think things through before you act.

    Distraction: If you cannot change the situation, it can help to distract yourself from whatever is making you angry by:

  • counting to ten

  • listening to music

  • calling a friend to chat

  • doing housework

Stop and Breathe: From the lower abdomen, breath in slowly and deeply through the nose, hold a few seconds. Slowly exhale through the mouth; blow out of the mouth as if blowing out a candle. Repeat at least 10 times.

Humor: While it is not always possible to just ‘laugh your problems away,’ you can often use humor to help you to take a step back from your anger. Imagine or draw someone dressed in a clown suit with big shoes and a red nose. If you picture this image every time, it will be much easier to keep things in perspective.  Figure out what makes you laugh and keep it on hand for when you’re upset.

Relaxation: Relaxation techniques such as listening to music, practicing yoga, progressively tensing and relaxing each of your muscle groups, prayer, meditation or visualizing calm (a beautiful beach, mountain with snowflakes fluttering to the ground, a butterfly) can help reduce anger.

Self-talk and Helpful Thinking: How you’re thinking affects how you’re feeling, so focusing on negative thoughts such as ‘this is so unfair’ will maintain the angry feeling. Instead try repeating a calming word or phrase such as ‘relax’ or ‘take it easy’ or ‘it’s not as bad as it seems’ or ‘I can get through this’ or ‘this too shall pass.’

Because anger is often an automatic response, all of these techniques require practice. Remember to take it one step at a time. The more you practice, the easier the process gets. For additional ideas you can also print out the 101 stress reliever pdf at

If you continue to feel overwhelmed, consult with a psychologist or other licensed health professional who can help you learn how to control your anger.


Saturday, May 31, 2014: Networking Club Topic

Not all goals are the same. BUT - anyone who sets goals has an edge and people with an edge will achieve their goals more consistently! They gain more experience and confidence than those who choose to not set goals and look at their personal motivations. This workshop will help you set goals, make a plan and bring your thought into action!