Anger Management

Reasons for out-of-control anger may include one having trouble expressing him or herself or being exposed to traumatic events or high levels of stress.

For help finding anger management programs in your local community, contact the Army Community Service (ACS), Soldier and Family Assistance Center (SFAC), or call Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647.

Anger is a perfectly normal human emotion. Everyone has experienced it - from the typical feeling of annoyance when you’re stuck in traffic to the fury you might feel when something happens to hurt you deeply. The most important thing to understand about anger is that there is a difference between feeling anger and expressing anger. People who have a problem with anger usually don’t know how to express it in appropriate and constructive ways.

The healthiest way to express anger is in a calm and assertive, not aggressive, manner. To be able to do this, you have to know how to describe your feelings to yourself and others and make clear what you need without being hostile or demanding. If you have a problem with anger, you can learn how to express it in constructive ways and get it under control. When you do, you’ll find that you are better at solving problems and your interactions with those around you are more positive and satisfying. Here are some healthy approaches to managing anger:

Learn and Practice Anger Management Techniques

It's easy to find books, articles and websites devoted to tips and techniques for managing anger. Some common anger management techniques include:

  • Relaxation Tools – use deep breathing and relaxing imagery to help calm down angry feelings.
  • Take a timeout. There's nothing wrong with stopping to count to 10 or say a prayer to calm yourself.
  • Take a break by going for a walk or listening to music. If you're involved in a conflict with another person, be sure to make it clear that you'll return after you calm down.

Take an Anger Management Class

Anger management courses and groups can help you learn and practice anger management skills with others who have similar stories to tell. They also provide the opportunity to get feedback from an anger management specialist. Programs are widely available on military installations and in civilian communities. For help identifying an anger management class, contact the Soldier and Family Assistance Centers (SFAC). You can also call Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647 for help finding anger management programs in your local community.

Work with a Counselor

If you feel that your anger is becoming a problem or is out of control, you might consider getting professional help. By working with a counselor, you can learn better ways to communicate your feelings and explore the events and feelings behind your anger. WTB social workers and nurse case managers can assist you in finding an appropriate counselor.

Anger Management Resources

For additional information on anger management, including understanding and finding ways to control your anger, the following resources can provide additional information:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can exposure to traumatic events and high levels of stress cause one to get angry?
What are some warning signs that I have an anger problem?
I find holding in my anger as a good approach to handling my anger. Is this recommended?
I think I have issues dealing with my anger and it is impacting my ability to heal and transition. How can I get help?

Can exposure to traumatic events and high levels of stress cause one to get angry?

Yes. Anger is a common reaction after being in a situation that causes feelings of fear or loss of control. It can be greatly intensified for people who have experienced extremely traumatic events or have been exposed to intense stress for long periods of time. That’s why out-of-control anger can be a very real problem for service members returning from deployment in a war zone.

What are some warning signs that I have an anger problem?

Sometimes it’s not easy to know if you have a problem with anger; however, the following signs may indicate that anger is becoming a problem for you:

  • You often feel angry about something.
  • The intensity of your anger is out of proportion to its cause. For example, you get furious if someone cuts you off in traffic; or you come home from a bad day at work and blow up at your spouse over the slightest thing.
  • Anger lasts longer than it should. People who hold anger in have a hard time getting rid of it, because the feelings are not being addressed.

I find holding in my anger as a good approach to handling my anger. Is this recommended?

No. Holding anger in means that you’ve pushed it down and are trying not to think about it, or you’ve walked away from a conflict without saying anything, causing you to seethe inside. The problem with this approach is that the anger can, over time, turn into resentment, and you won’t have solved any of the issues that caused it in the first place. Bottled-up anger may lead to depression, anxiety and physical problems such as high blood pressure.

I think I have issues dealing with my anger and it is impacting my ability to heal and transition. How can I get help?

Within Warrior Transition Units (WTUs) there are a number of staff members that can assist you as you transition and heal. Your squad leader, nurse case manager or WTU social worker can all assist you in pursuing help for issues with anger. Anger management is a key to healing and improving one’s quality of life.

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