Cognitive Restructuring
for Anger Management

This page discusses managing anger through a technique called "Cognitive Restructuring."

Anger is not limited to any one age bracket of human beings.

Small kids are known to throw tantrums, teenagers show anger at the slightest provocation, young men and women are known to throw a fit, middle-aged people lose their cool easily, old people express anger about their physical and emotional upsets and helplessness.

So, to put it briefly, all of us are prone to get incensed for various reasons and our age has nothing to do with it, though experience and saner behavior probably help us to think with clarity and regain composure soon enough. 

Now, it’s not uncommon to get angry. 

Different people get angry for different reasons and it does not always have to be for a selfish reason. 

Perceived injustice to self or others can make some equally enraged and such people tend to show their resentment and fury instantly.

They are not looked upon kindly by observers and are mindlessly labeled as hot-tempered and hypersensitive, which is akin to “rubbing salt in their wounds”.

However you might view a person’s anger – whether justified or unjustified - the fact remains that extreme anger does no good to anyone.

 If a person’s anger manifests itself into some reckless action, it could easily hurt the person as well as the people around.

No amount of repentance or atonement later can remedy the situation.

Studies have revealed that extreme anger can harm your health greatly, sometimes irreversibly.

Short-tempered persons or those with a short fuse are known to develop serious cardiac problems, hypertension, sleep apnea, digestive issues and/or recurring headaches.

Learning to control or rein in your anger could definitely improve your personality, your attitude towards life and people and have a positive effect on your health too.

Simple relaxation techniques have helped many in anger management. They are:

  •  breathing deeply,
  • uttering soothing or calming words to self (positive self-talk), 
  • meditation,
  • recalling pleasant memories,
  • exercises involving guided imagery, and
  • performing yoga or taking a walk in a garden.

In some other cases, listening to uplifiting music or doing something enjoyable – like cooking, reading or gardening – are also seen to help to a great extent and are endorsed by those that have been cured of this malady called anger.

In very severe cases, a proven technique called “cognitive restructuring“ seems to have worked effectively in anger management.

In layman words, cognitive restructuring could be defined as changing the way we think.

In other words, when you are angry, you must try to control your knee-jerk, automatic reaction and calm your mind and tell yourself that things could have been far worse than what they are.

Once you are calm, you might discover that your impulsive actions could have caused more damage than what originally triggered your anger.

Some of the strategies under cognitive restructuring given below go a long way in anger management.

Avoid Uttering Negative Terms

You must consciously try to avoid such words that show a thing in negative light like "no", "never", "always", etc., whether you are referring to yourself or others.

Sentences like “It has never worked and will not either”, “This is no good” and “He has always been careless” will show that you are vindicating your anger and you are almost sure that there is no solution at all.

By displaying such an attitude, you are distancing yourself from people who might be keen to help you with your problem.

Look To Concentrate On Your Goals

You must always look at the larger picture and not lose your cool over petty issues.

Let us assume you are working on a joint project with somebody and that person is as not as punctual as you are.

Instead of venting out your anger, try to impress upon him or her importance of putting in more working hours into the task.

If your words yield no result, devise some other strategy like staying late or skipping the break hour, which will surely have the desired effect.

By looking for an alternate solution, you have succeeded in retaining the friendship and working on the "cognitive restructuring project" too.

Logical Thinking Is Essential...

There are times when you cannot feel anything but angry, especially when there is considerable damage done.

Even during such times, if you think hard and logically, you will know that your anger was out of context.

In any case, if you had remained calm, the world would not have come to an end and you have not averted any calamity by losing your temper.

You may have lost a few years from your life span by flying off the handle in the situation.

Tell this to yourself every time you are faced with an exasperating situation and you may have more control of your nerves.

Do Not Expect Or Demand, But Request...

When you are demanding by nature, you fail to be polite or gentle.

You might be right or justified in your demand, but your tone is not.

When the demand is not met, you are angry, hurt or frustrated. We again express anger to conceal our hurt.

Instead, learn to convert your demand into a request and notice the difference.

A request is more fruitful than a demand any day of the year.

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