Most anger management courses should probably more accurately called aggression management classes. This is because anger and aggression are not the same thing. Anger may lead to aggression, but it is something entirely different.

If you ask most people what the goal of anger management is they will more than likely say something along the lines of " to get rid of anger". Anger is an emotion and while its effects can be lessened through anger management, its not something that's going to go away. You simply can't go through life without getting angry anymore than you eliminate any other emotion be it happiness, sadness or fear. Its part of being human.

What most of us think of as anger management problems - getting a certain look on your face, yelling, throwing things, losing control, becoming violent, etc...are actually acts of aggression.

You can be angry without being aggressive. You will probably be able to think of times where you felt angry at someone, say a policeman who pulled you over, but didn't show that anger in an aggressive way because you knew that the price of becoming aggressive (i.e. going to jail) was much greater than the satisfaction you might get from acting out. So you use some anger management skills, force some sort of reasonably polite response out and go off on your way.

The emotion of anger is a warning signal that something is wrong. Use that signal the right way and it can be your friend. Use it the wrong way and...well you may end up in anger management.

It takes an enormous amount of energy to hold anger inside and it could eventually lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, gastric reflux, heart disease, cancer and a whole bunch of other things you probably don't want to have. So, its good to find some way to release your anger, just not in an aggressive way.

Believe it or not, if you use anger the right way, you may find that you have happier and healthier relationships. Positive use of anger can also build self-esteem. If you are able to tell someone your feelings instead of keeping them inside (notice - I said "tell" not "yell"), you are saying to them and to yourself, "I am a valuable person and I expect to be treated as such."

An example of a positive expression of anger might be that You have a friend that is constantly late. This is very upsetting to you, but you do saying anything? If you don't one of two things will probably happen. You will either stuff and stuff and stuff until you blow up at her or you will start to get passive aggressive and begin to make excuses to avoid her. Either way you may lose a friend.

On the other hand, If you are able to tell your friend that being late is difficult for you and makes you feel unimportant, she may actually listen, apologize, and begin to arrive on time. You may actually end up closer than you were to start with.

Now its true that she may also may get angry at you or ignore you, but we will talk about how to deal with that later in the course. Right now I just want you to remember that anger is a warning sign that something is wrong and that there are other ways to deal with it besides acting out.

The problem for most people in need of anger management is that they get angry and instead of using it as a warning sign to slow down, use it as a way to floor it and drive right off the cliff into the aggression land.

The choice of how you react to people or situations lies within you (remember my earlier example about staying cool with your boss). If your anger truly was effective people or situations would change and we wouldn't keep getting pissed off at them. You can't control other people, the only thing that you can control is how you deal with and express your anger.

The Difference between Anger and Aggression

Now these things may seem obvious to you, but lets take a second and look at what I mean when I am talking about aggressive behavior.

1) Deliberate intent to harm, attack, injure, hurt or control
2) Actions that harm or hurt others (e.g. hitting, shoving, punching, using words to belittle) or oneself (e.g. punching the wall, destroying something important to you).
3) Starting fights or arguments
4) Being pushy
5) Bullying
6) Dangerous driving (aka road rage)
7) Making threats
8) Making insults

Author's Bio: 

For more free information on anger management visit

Dr. Joe James is a psychologist who is the developer of several online anger management classes.