How CBT helps with anger.

CBT Guide To Manage Anger

Anger is a perfectly normal and healthy emotion that we all experience from time to time. Mild frustration to a sense of rage is usually proportionate to the given situation where we think we have been let down or violate. However, in hindsight, we all know that sometimes our threshold to events can be too sensitively triggered that ordinarily would not affect us.  It is when we start to experience frequent bouts of persistent and uncontrollable anger that it starts to have negative repercussions on our lives and mental health.

Understanding the trigger behind our angry emotions can be the key to taking control of our feelings and ensuring we positively process these feelings.

Anger is often triggered when we appraise situations that we have been:

– Attacked

– Blindsided

– Unequal or unfairly treated

– Frustrated

– Deceived

In certain situations, anger can be positive and propel us to act in cases where we may previously not have. It can drive healthy competition, compel us to defend loved ones or motivate us to fight for a cause or injustice.

When addressing our issues with anger, CBT helps us to filter what situation we need to act and those that are oversensitive reactions.  When it is appropriate to be angry, CBT teaches us to adopt healthier behavioural habits and thought processes to communicate our emotions in a healthier way – making our anger constructive.

Anger generally becomes a problem when it starts to interfere with our ability to maintain our relationships, go about our daily activities or becomes harmful to ourselves or others.

But how do you know when your anger is unhelpful?

Explosions of anger can be demonstrated in different ways but typically, unhelpful anger take three different forms:

1) External aggression and violence – Shouting, swearing, throwing of objects or being physically violent to others

2) Internal aggression and violence – Negative self-talk, depriving yourself of basic human requirements such as food or things that bring you joy, self-harm.

3) Non-violent passive-aggressive behaviour – ignoring others or avoiding direct communication, sabotaging others chance of success or use of sarcasm to avoid engaging in meaningful conversations.


How can CBT help with my anger?

CBT teaches us that our behaviour when we’re angry is dependent on our ability to manage our feelings and express our emotions.  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, in particular, is a great way to help address your issues with anger.

Here at Onebright, we believe that CBT should be a collaborative process between you and your therapist. That is why, when you decide to get CBT, you will work with your therapist to help identify the personal triggers for your anger. You will also learn how to change negative thinking and behavioural patterns that potentially exasperate your feelings of anger.

Your sessions will equip you with the tools and coping mechanisms required to make sure that you go on to build positive cognitive patterns. CBT will also teach you how to adopt a more balanced thinking approach. We have put together some of the key ways CBT helps with anger issues:

1)    Helps you identify your triggers and situations that elicit an angry reaction – When it comes to anger, everyone’s triggers are different. Some people are set off by the thought of being disrespected, while others get angry when they feel shamed or ridiculed. Whatever your trigger may be, CBT will help you understand some of the underlying reasons why you react the way you do when you start to feel frustrated. CBT will also help you anticipate situations where you may get angry and teach you new behavioural and thinking processes.

2)    Teaches you new behavioural strategies to prevent angry reactions. Once you have identified some of your key triggers, your therapist will work with you to develop new strategies that will aim to reduce your levels of irritability, anger and frustration. Part of this may involve learning to accept that some of these frustrations are part of daily life.

3)    Equips you with new emotional control techniques to manage angry feelings – One thing CBT teaches us is that although we can’t radically alter our emotions, we are able to regulate them by actively focusing on improving our thoughts and behaviour. When we become angry, our perception of situations becomes too sensitive and sometimes even distorted. However, by adopting some cognitive restructuring techniques, we can learn to develop more realistic perceptions. For example, the next time you find yourself getting angry and thinking, “everything is ruined”, replace that thought with “Although this is annoying that this has happened, it is not the end of the world.”  CBT helps us to learn how we get to our balanced perceptions of situations, that are helpful and realistic.

Are you struggling to control your anger and looking to seek help? If so, we can help. Our BABCP accredited CBT therapists can help you develop a more balanced view when it comes to processing your emotions.


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