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Cpl. Anthony Gray practices yoga with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, April 13, 2018. Over 100 Marines and Sailors with MWHS-1 participated in this event in order to build camaraderie and unit cohesion. Gray, from Muscatine, Iowa, is an intelligence specialist with MWHS-1. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alexia Lythos)
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Anger is a feeling that can range from mild irritation to intense annoyance to rage. It may be a natural response when possible harm is anticipated or when another person has done something wrong or harmful. Unaddressed anger can lead to problems such as frequent arguments, road rage, poor thinking and decision making, and work problems. Anger at home could even evolve into domestic violence to include child abuse.

Anger, especially chronic or long-lasting anger, can lead to physical health problems, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • High cholesterol
  • Chronic pain
  • Heart disease
  • Stomach problems
  • Muscle pain and joint problems
  • Early death

Steps Towards Anger Management:

Learn the differences between anger and aggression.

People often confuse anger with aggression. Anger is an emotion, where as aggression is a behavior. It is possible for someone to experience anger without behaving aggressively. Aggressive behavior includes things like verbal threats or physical violence. Aggressive behavior tells people, "My feelings are more important than yours."

Understand the three phases of aggression.

  • The Escalation Phase: During the escalation phase, anger is building. Cues or warning signs that indicate that anger is building include; physical sensations, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • The Explosion Phase: During the explosion phase, anger is released in the form of verbal or physical aggression.
  • The Post-Explosion Phase: The post-explosion phase involves the negative outcomes that have resulted from the behavior that occurred during the explosion phase.

Having an anger control plan.

This can help you manage anger effectively by preventing the anger from reaching the explosion phase. An anger control plan includes tips and tools, such as:

  • Awareness of cues or warning signs that indicate anger is building.
  • An Anger Meter, which is to monitor anger levels with zero being calm and ten being out of control.
  • Taking a time-out until you can manage your anger.
  • Learning about and using relaxation techniques to stop and reverse the escalation of anger.
  • Talking to helpful "coaches" to share your thoughts and feelings you had when angry.

How do you know if you have anger control issues? When should you consider getting help from a health care professional?

Last Updated: December 01, 2023
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