Anger, a natural emotional response, isn’t a problem in itself. The real trouble, however, comes when you lose control of your reaction to anger and respond with over aggressive behavior when provoked. These actions can result in violent outbursts, run-ins with the law, and even abuse and addiction. When anger gets out of hand, anger management classes can help you strike a healthy balance between experiencing the intensity of your anger and quieting your emotions.
People with anger issues often try to suppress their emotions because they fear that they may overreact to certain angering situations. This habit can also lead to heightened outbursts intensify anger issues and negatively impact both your mental and physical health.
What Is Anger Management?
Anger management is about being able to recognize the signs of anger and learning to maintain control in angering situations by addressing your anger in a responsible and constructive way. In anger management classes, you will learn to identify triggers and resolve them in a productive manner. Instead of suppressing your rage, anger management strategies let you express your anger in a controlled, constructive way.
You can learn anger management techniques to mitigate your anger on your own, but attending anger management classes offers an additional added value — professional guidance.
Who Should Take Anger Management Classes?
Generally, anger management classes are recommended for people struggling with anger issues. A common assumption is anger management classes are attended only by those under court order or as an employment requirement. In reality, many attend anger management classes to find ways to cope with difficult situations in their lives that are frequently linked to anger issues.
Anger issues manifest in uncontrolled rage, erratic behavior, and in some cases, violent outbursts. These are often the result of various circumstances such as low self-esteem, underlying mental health conditions like anxiety or depression, grief, or social conditioning.
Many of us struggle with our anger. According to research, nearly 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. have impulsive anger issues. Coping with anger issues is difficult enough, but acknowledging your anger and need for treatment is a lot harder. If you have any of the following symptoms, it may be an indicator that you have anger issues:
- You threaten violence against people or their property when angry.
- You engage in physical violence or verbal abuse towards others.
- You display unsafe and irresponsible behavior, like reckless driving.
- You often get into arguments that escalate to violence.
- You dwell on negative experiences or persistent pessimistic thoughts for a long time.
- You regularly face a need to hold in your temper.
If any of these describe you, then you may have anger issues and can get help by attending anger management classes.
What To Know Before You Start Anger Management Classes
Finding the right anger management program may take some time. You can consult your medical provider or a licensed mental health professional to refer you to a suitable program or counselor. You can also search for recommendations and resources on trusted websites, blogs, online support groups, and books. Talking to someone who has attended anger management classes in the past can also give you an idea of the best option for you, as well as what you can expect from the classes.
Anger management classes are available in two settings: individual counseling sessions or group therapy; each offers slightly different benefits. Individual counseling allows you to talk about your personal issues and develop suitable strategies for coping with your anger. Group therapy, on the other hand, gives you insight into others’ experiences and coping strategies, which can help you understand your own anger better. Group therapy also provides a necessary support network, and often providers may recommend attending group anger management classes in addition to individual counseling to ensure that you get the support you need.
Apart from attending sessions in a physical location, you can opt for anger management classes online. Online anger management classes will give you access to materials and tools to help with your training from the comfort of your home.
What Happens At Anger Management Classes?
Anger management classes teach you to keep your emotions in check when you feel them getting out of control. Additionally, they can help you develop calming techniques that let you express anger in a more constructive and healthy manner. Here’s a guide of what to expect from anger management classes.
Preparing for anger management classes
When you begin anger management classes, it’s important to recognize your triggers, as well as the physical and emotional cues you experience when you start to feel angry. For instance, if your anger is triggered by financial problems or family pressure, it could help to make a note of it before you delve into anger management sessions.
Making a list of the physical signs you’re experiencing when you feel angry —such as increased heart rate, excessive pacing, or panting — is an important first step as you begin anger management classes. You should also identify the emotional signs like erratic behavior, or feeling guilty about expressing your anger.
Anger management sessions
Anger management helps individuals break down emotional barriers that prevent them from enjoying healthy relationships. The sessions also focus on teaching specific strategies to cope with anger, like: impulse control, increased self-awareness, meditation, breathing techniques, relaxation strategies, personal reflection, and emotional awareness. Anger management sessions can also help you trace the cause of your anger. Finding the source of your anger can go a long way in preventing future issues with your temper.
Anger management classes typically last between four to six weeks, although some extend beyond that period. The sessions employ different counseling techniques and therapy methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy; they are run by healthcare providers, mental health organizations, or individual counselors and therapists.
Those dealing with an underlying mental health condition like anxiety or depression are advised to seek treatment for these conditions before beginning to address the management of their anger.
Anger issues may also arise in response to traumatic events. Soldiers returning home from active service and others suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often deal with extreme anger. In these cases, it is just as imperative to identify and work through the origin of the anger as to learn how to cope with the emotional reactions. The most appropriate strategy is to incorporate anger management classes in addition to therapy.
Goals of anger management classes
Anger management classes are intended to give you the necessary knowledge and skills to live a happy and healthy life. In anger management classes you will likely learn to:
- Identify situations that upset you in advance, so you can be emotionally prepared for them
- Focus on problem-solving rather than on the problem itself
- Recognize when you aren’t thinking rationally
- Calm down when you are in an angering situation
- Communicate effectively to resolve conflicts
- Express your feelings in an appropriate, controlled, and healthy way
- Maintain a calmer, healthier lifestyle
- Prevent physical and mental problems associated with anger
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle After Anger Management Classes
The strategies and techniques taught during anger management classes are only effective when the individual is willing to learn and change, using these techniques in the appropriate context. For anger management to be effective, it’s important to create a plan and to adhere to the strategies learned during your sessions. Keeping a journal of your emotions and reactions can help you identify the anger management techniques that work for you.
You can complement your anger management efforts by abstaining from drugs and alcohol practicing meditation to stay calm, and reframing your emotions to be more constructive. To get the best results, you can also come up with quick ways to calm yourself like taking walks, listening to music, and practicing deep breathing.
Your decision to overcome anger issues and develop healthier emotional strategies is to be applauded and will help ensure that these changes are long-term and effective. For more information on anger management it may be beneficial to speak with a licensed therapist — you can get started with convenient, inexpensive online counseling today with Talkspace.
Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.
Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.
Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to in the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.