Anger Management Tips
Anger Management Tips
by Dr. Lyle Becourtney
April Fools' Day is a day marked by the carrying out of
practical jokes of varying degree on friends, enemies,
colleagues, and neighbors. While most April Fools' Day
pranks are taken in stride, there will always be some that
elicit very strong emotional reactions. Feelings of shame
and embarrassment can in some cases lead to explosive
outbursts of anger.
So what can you do to avoid coming unglued as the result
of an embarrassing April Fools' Day prank? As the saying
goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Follow these Anger Management Tips.
Anger Management Tip #1
Rather than wait for a prank to occur, give yourself a
stress inoculation prior to April Fools' Day. By mentally
preparing for a potential stressor or anger trigger, you will
be ready to handle whatever comes your way.
Take some time before April 1st to imagine some worst-
case scenarios regarding possible pranks and rehearse
your response. Then step back and analyze how you
appear. Are you comfortable with your reaction? Do you
feel that your response will be well received by others?
Will it result in greater understanding and empathy or
might it make matters worse? If in doubt, now is the time to
modify your response. Use this opportunity, while calm
and relaxed, to prepare and practice how you will respond.
Keep rehearsing and critically examining your own reaction
until it feels right.
While your stress inoculation, if performed correctly,
should prepare you well, there is always the chance of
getting caught off-guard by an embarrassing practical
joke. In such a case, the emotional part of your brain will
likely activate before the thinking part does and put you at
risk of overreacting and lashing out inappropriately. Thus,
in the heat of the moment, you will be more apt to act on
impulse than to think things through about the
consequences of your actions. Although you may be
completely justified in how you feel, it is imperative that you
find a way to allow the thinking part of your brain to catch
up to the emotional part. Otherwise you risk acting upon
your aggressive impulses and possibly saying or doing
something that you will later regret.
Anger Management Tip #2
So one of the first things that you need to do is to remove
yourself from the situation and take a personal time-out. It
is amazing what even just a few minutes can do to help
clear your mind. Use your time wisely by working on your
breathing and trying to modify your thoughts. Breathe
deeply into your abdomen and then pause before
exhaling. Repeat this several times and as your breathing
slows, you will notice your mind and body beginning to
Anger Management Tip #3
Further relaxation can be achieved by replacing your
angry thoughts or images with those that are peaceful and
tranquil. Use your imagination and let it take you to a
happier time in your life or a more peaceful setting. Allow
yourself to relive a proud moment from your childhood or
to visually experience the vacation of your dreams.
Whether you are hitting the game-winning home run in little
league or lying on the most beautiful beach in the world, it
is extremely difficult to feel angry while feeling so at peace.
Anger Management Tip #4
Another very powerful anger management technique is
to change the inner conversation that you have with
yourself (also known as self-talk). It is a very normal daily
occurrence for people to have an inner dialogue that can
either get them more worked up (e.g., “If he even looks at
me the wrong way, I’m going to explode”) or put them in a
calmer frame of mind (e.g., “Relax, stay calm, I can get
through this”). The words we say to ourselves are very
powerful and can definitely influence how we feel and how
we subsequently behave.
Even saying a phrase like “Serenity Now,” popularized by
Frank Costanza on the classic sitcom Seinfeld, can actually
have a positive impact on how you feel. Since our
emotions are influenced by our thoughts, any words that
can conjure up peaceful images can put us in a better
emotional frame of mind. Thus by repeating a pleasant
phrase or mantra, we can shift from feeling angry to feeling
relaxed. The key is that relaxation and anger are
So whether it is April Fools' Day coming up or you are
planning to get together with your prankster buddies, give
yourself a stress inoculation and don't forget to bring your
other anger control tools. After all, you never know when
you might need them.
Anger Management Tips by
Dr. Lyle Becourtney, a New York State Licensed
Psychologist and Certified Anger Management
Professional, has a private office in Blauvelt, NY in
Rockland County. His anger management programs
provide an excellent opportunity for teens and adults to
learn new anger management skills and techniques.
In addition to weekly
anger management classes and
individual and couples therapy, Dr. Becourtney trains other
mental health professionals and parents on how to
implement a positive parenting program in the home.
Visit Dr. Becourtney's online anger management store
where you can sign up for a 10-hour online anger
management course or purchase other great anger
management products including books, home study
courses, CDs, and DVDs.
Copyright © 2008 Dr. Lyle Becourtney,
All Rights Reserved. Permission granted to reprint this
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