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ACA Counseling Corner Blog

We all face daily challenges in today's complicated and demanding world. ACA’s Counseling Corner Blog offers thoughtful ideas, suggestions, and strategies for helping you to live a happier and healthier life.

Columns can be reprinted in full or in part with attribution to the American Counseling Association’s Counseling Corner Blog.


Oct 7, 2019

Don't Let Anger Get The Best Of You

In today's world, high levels of stress and anxiety seem to be the norm.  We face daily news reports of economic woes, political fights, weather disasters and international threats. And even if we choose to ignore this news, there are still many problems of daily life.  Whether it's work pressures, financial worries, or normal family and personal issues, it seems there's always something that adds anxiety to our lives.

One unfortunate side effect of all this stress is that sometimes we can reach a point where all it takes is a small incident to unleash an outpouring of rage and anger.  This is never a good thing.

When someone isn't able to manage and control their anger, the outcome is usually negative for both professional and personal relationships. Experts say anger is the most poorly-managed emotion in our society. It's estimated that one in five Americans have an anger control problem.

Is out of control anger, a sudden explosion of emotion and possibly action, a problem you may face? It isn't difficult to judge if unchecked anger might be an issue. Do you have frequent arguments with others? During an argument have you ever found yourself shouting? Have you broken something; pushed, slapped or physically hurt someone; embarrassed yourself or felt out of control? If any of these apply, consider some actions you can take to better control your anger:

  • Start by accepting responsibility for your anger. Although someone or something else may have triggered your outburst, you are the one who lets it happen and grow out of control.
  • Recognize the beginning signs of your rage. Anger is easier to control while emotions are still low.
  • Try to identify the source of your anger. It usually isn't another person, but something within you, emotional or psychological from your past, that may be the real source of your becoming upset.
  • Learn to focus on the situation or behavior making you angry, not the other person. Criticizing or name-calling only escalates the situation. Use "I" statements to talk about what you're feeling and experiencing
  • Take time to listen and communicate more effectively.

Anger should never control you. If your anger is sometimes out of control, consider an anger management course through your local hospital or mental health agency, or contact a professional counselor trained to help with anger management issues.

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