Anger management is one of the hallmarks of strong Emotional Intelligence or EQ. In Daniel Goleman's book Emotional Intelligence, he addresses being able to handle one's anger as a sign of high EQ. We know, from physiology, that within less than seconds of becoming angry our brain and body are flooded with internal chemical changes. When this occurs, we operate from our brain stem. Our brain stem is the most primitive portion of our brain. It's responsible for the fight or flight response and our autonomic nervous system (breathing, heart rate, body temperature etc.). When we are in this mode, we bypass our rational portion of the brain. This spells trouble because the neo-cortex is our thinking, rational portion of our brain.

I'm sure you've noticed that when you are really angry, you can't think clearly. Again, the reason for that is that you are not using your logical, rational portion of your brain. It takes a minimum of about 20 minutes for your brain chemicals to go back to normal and to think clearly again.

It's time to take a look at your situation with anger. Answer the following questions. Take an honest look, don't sugar coat how you handle anger. Even if you are not angry often, please read some of the strategies that follow these questions. The strategies can help in all of our relationships.

When was the last time you were really angry? What was the situation that created your feelings of anger?

How frequently do you feel angry?

Do you have a short or long fuse?

Do you frequently become verbally abusive when you're angry? Do you call the person demeaning names, cuss at them, call them stupid, fat, lazy or use racial slurs?

Have you ever become violent when you're angry? "Just once" is still too often. Violence includes: slapping, hitting, throwing things, hurting animals, punching walls or destroying property. List any violent acts you've done and who they were against.

Are people afraid of you when you're angry?

Do you need to learn to express your anger in more productive ways?

Do you need to control your anger? Is anger/rage destroying your relationships?


There are warning signs that your rage is getting out of hand and you need professional help. If you are violent, verbally abusive and anger is destroying your relationships it will take some massive action on your part to stop this cycle. You need to call your local counseling center or social service agency and ask to participate in Anger Management sessions. It is NOT ok to continue this way. The price others have paid to be around you is far too high. The price you will pay, if you insist on continuing will be high also. Stop reading this now. Go to your phone with your phone book, look in the yellow pages under Counseling and call now. You can look for counseling centers that are United Way funded or connected with your local university. These centers offer free or low cost counseling. You can also contact your child's school counselor and they will be able to give you local resources. Continue to call until you reach a service that will help you. No excuses. Just do it.


Most people can use several more strategies in how to handle their anger []. Even if you are not frequently an angry person these steps can be helpful in deepening your relationships. If you are an angry person, then these tools will be essential to help you with handling your anger more productively. (Again, if you have been violent you will need to work with a counselor or psychologist to develop long lasting strategies).

1. Stop arguing. When you continue to argue, you DON'T LISTEN and it just feeds the anger cycle.

2. Set some "good fight" rules.

• NEVER say something that you know will hurt that person or relationship for a lifetime. It's cruel and unnecessary and you know it. The person can forgive you, but they won't likely forget or trust you.

• Have a signal for pause. A simple phrase like, "I'm just too angry and upset to talk right now. This is important, so let's get back together and talk in a few minutes when we're both more calm."

• Make it ok to separate and cool down. Men more than women will leave the scene when there's extreme anger. I know this frustrates women. However, men leave because they have a sense that anger is overtaking them and they fear they will harm the woman or children they love. Do not take this personally; it's a good thing. They can come back when they have calmed down.

3. Learn excellent communication skills. Every community has adult learning, continuing education and excellent workshops on communication. Make a commitment to attend one of these trainings within the next 3 months. This training will enrich your life and make all your relationships easier including work, children and home. One simple strategy I can give you now is: Don't blame the other person for your reaction. A simple phrase of - I feel______________, when you_____________. In the future I would like or I expect_________________. This simple communication tools gets you to the heart of anger, which almost always is hurt. It is assertive, helps get your needs met, yet does not attack or provoke the listener.

4. Do NOT mentally rehearse the anger situation over and over again. When you picture the situation and possible ugly comebacks you only prolong your anger. It's a form of self-abuse and "justifies" and even uglier reaction to that person the next time you see them. Mentally rehearse an easy flow of conversation. Feel what it would be like to REALLY understand and be understood by that person. Positive mental rehearsal will help get you back into your rational brain.

(Disclaimer: This article is not written for therapeutic purposes and is not a substitute for medical, psychological, or legal intervention).

Copyright 2011 reprint rights granted with author credit and all links kept intact. Iris Fanning is a Nationally recognized counselor and Success Coach. Individual and group coaching is available. Free Newsletter with up to the minute coaching on business, networking, marketing, self empowerment and successful living. Visit: []

Author's Bio: 

Iris Fanning is a Nationally recognized counselor with over 25 years of experience counseling thousands of people of all ages and Success Coach in business since 2001. Iris is a graduate of Coach University, M.A. degree in Psychology, Counseling & Guidance and a B.S. degree in Psychology. Additionally Iris is the self published author of "Change Your Life Right Now" c 2006 and "Do What You Love & Get Rich" c 2006. Iris is also an in demand public speaker. Individual and group coaching is available at various levels and price ranges. Visit Now at: