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The Easy Stuff

Managing Anger: The Easy Stuff

by Dr. Irene

Anger Management, Assertion, and Self-Control Skills

There are many excellent books on anger management. In case you want to do a search, look for the following catch phrases: "anger-management", self-control skills", "assertion skills", and "cognitive skills." Basically, these books teach:

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How to build good self-control skills so that you do not act out foolishly simply because you are mad or can't get your way. When hot under the collar, do nothing. Jog or go for a walk. Exercise helps to deplete catecholamines in your body, the chemical messengers of anger. Stay away from books that suggest you punch pillows - they will not help you learn the skills you need to manage anger effectively.  

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How to look at what made you angry once you've chilled, and how figure out how you could better handle the same situation if it were to happen again.

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How to develop anger awareness skills so that you recognize your anger while it is still little and manageable. Left unattended, anger grows and grows. It seeps out of your seams when you're not looking...and when it gets big enough, it blows! 

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How to view anger as a signal that something in your life needs attention. Anger is not a bad thing.

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How to learn the assertion skills that will help you deal with a situation or person that is bothering you. The other person can't read your mind, and you need to let them know what's wrong. "Hey! You're stepping on my toe!" or, "I don't understand what is wrong in our relationship. Why have you no interest in me physically. Is it something I'm doing? Am I making you feel like an object? Is it something else?"

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How to combat cognitive distortion. You need to examine your underlying thinking in areas where your life is not working. What are the things you are telling yourself? (You'd be surprised at some of the silly stuff you buy into!) What evidence do you have in drawing your conclusion? Can anything else explain the event? For example, let's say you felt insecure and furious that she would not have a physical relationship with you. Because you accused her of having affairs, your underlying assumptions must have been along the lines of "She doesn't love me; I am just a money-pit, and not even a good one (pity pot); if she loved me, she would want me physically; there must be someone else; I'm not good enough for her; who does she think she is!", etc., etc. Angry people are very good at personalizing stuff. What if none of the above were true? What if, maybe, she is so traumatized, she hates sex! Maybe, whatever her problem is, it has absolutely nothing to do with you, even though it affects you!

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