Most anger management classes don't work. Why is that? It's usually because they approach the problem from only one angle. You are probably familiar with some of these tactics - count to ten, take a step back and think about things, try to see things from the other person's point of view.
These are important skills to learn and should be part of any anger management program. The problem is that they are only one angle of the problem. But to really solve an anger problem you have to first understand what it is that makes people angry.
After years of research and working with over a thousand clients I have come to believe that there are four factors that go into creating an effective anger management class. I call these factors "The Four Horsemen of Anger". In my experience the only way to effectively address an anger problem is to learn how to deal with all Four Horsemen.
1) Biology: There are parts of our brains whose job is to determine if a situation is dangerous or threatening. Many people who struggle with anger have an overly sensitive "threat filter" which puts them on high alert before they have had a chance to really think a situation through.
There are two approaches to dealing with biology that, when used in combination, are very effective. The first is to learn the early warning signs of and then use some very simple acupressure techniques that can not only calm one down in a matter of minutes but keep you in there for as long as several hours. The second approach involves using herbal supplements such as SAM-e, Vitamin D, Fish Oil and Valerian Root. All of these supplements are available over the counter at your local drug or health food store and work to put reset your threat filter to a normal level. In my experience, these supplements are oftentimes more effective than prescription medications without all the side effects and cost that come with prescribed drugs.
2) Triggers: Why is it that something is very upsetting to one person but not another? Oftentimes it is related to our history. Through experience, each of us has learned to perceive certain situations as threatening or triggering. Since we have all had different life experiences we each see different things as upsetting. An effective anger management course should a) develop a comprehensive list of triggers; b) try to trace back where those trigger come from and c) develop new ways to view the triggers. Sometimes just recognizing that a trigger has more to do with the past than the present can take away much of its power.
3) Shortcuts: Ever get angry about something only to learn later that you read the situation or other person wrong? Did you know that much of the time we use mental shortcuts to figure out what is going on around us? Usually, these shortcuts are very efficient ways of dealing with life. After all, if we really thought in depth about everything going on around us our brains would very quickly become overwhelmed. The problem with mental shortcuts in those who struggle with anger is that they lead you to either misperceive a situation or they give you tunnel vision and limit your ability to think through all of your options. An important part of any anger management course should involve teaching you to identify your mental shortcuts and show you how to avoid using them in the future.
4) Behavior: Insight and self management skills are important, but only half the battle. You can use the first three horsemen to keep yourself cool, but that still doesn't help you in dealing with difficult people in non-confrontational ways. How do you ask somebody to change an annoying behavior without provoking a fight? How do you gracefully exit a tense situation? How do you offer or receive criticism in a way that's not going to escalate? A good anger management course should provide you with some very easy to learn tools to help you deal with those difficult people that all of us are going to run into in life.
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Visit AngerManagement.net for anger management courses designed to make the most of your valuable time and money. What separates this course from others you may have taken is that we are going to cover anger from all angles - what I call "The Four Horsemen of Anger." Visit online today.
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