Anger Management and Conflict Resolution

Anger itself isn't a problem - it's how you handle it. Consider the nature of anger, how to manage anger, and what to do when confronted by someone whose anger is out of control.

What is anger?

Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. Like other emotions, physiological and biological changes accompany anger. For instance, your heart rate and blood pressure go up when you get angry, as do your energy hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline levels.

Both external and internal events can cause anger. You could be angry at a specific person (such as a coworker or supervisor) or event (a traffic jam, a canceled flight) or caused by worrying about personal problems. Memories of traumatic or enraging events can also trigger angry feelings.

Anger management

Anger management helps you recognize frustrations early and resolve them in a way that allows you to express your needs - and keeps you calm and in control.

Some signs that you need help controlling your anger include:

  • The regular feeling that you have to hold in your anger
  • Constant cynical, irritated, impatient, critical or hostile feelings
  • Frequent arguments with your partner, children or coworkers that escalate frustrations
  • Physical violence, such as hitting your partner or children or starting fights
  • Threats of violence against people or property
  • Out-of-control or frightening behavior, such as breaking things or driving recklessly
  • Anxiety or depression about anger so that you withdraw

Conflict resolution

Conflict is a normal part of any healthy relationship. After all, two people can't always agree on everything, all the time.

Learning how to deal with conflict - rather than avoiding it - is crucial. Mismanaged conflict can cause significant harm to a relationship. Still, when handled in a respectful, positive way, conflict provides an opportunity to strengthen the bond between two people.

By learning these skills for conflict resolution, you can keep your personal and professional relationships strong and growing.

If your conflict with someone feels too overwhelming, try completing the conflict resolution worksheet or come in to talk with a MCC counselor.

Adapted from: The Mayo Clinic - Anger Management: Your questions answered and American Psychological Association - Controlling anger before it controls you