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Anger Triggers

If you want to start to change or control agressive reactions that you have a tendency towards when you are angry, it can be helpful to identify the types of situation that seem to act as a trigger to your anger.

Identifying What Triggers You to be Angry

What makes one person angry may not make another person angry, so it is important to be aware of what you personally tend to find makes you angry. Have a look through the following checklist and decide which if any of these types of situation are possible anger triggers for you. If there are situations not listed there, then add them at the end of the list:

Situation
How likely on a Scale of 1-10 is this type of situation to make you angry?
Perceiving something as unjust or unfair  
Being thwarted in your wishes  
Being ordered to do something  
Being verbally insulted  
Being laughed at  
Failing in an attempt to do something  
Being treated without respect  
Someone disagreeing with you  
Being disappointed by something  
Not being able to control a situation  
Someone threatening you  
Thinking someone else is lying or deceiving you  
Other (Specify your own additional triggers)  

 

Identify People Who Make You Angry?

It may be that certain people you know have a way of getting under your skin and making you feel angry. Be aware of who these people are so that you can consciously plan or adjust your reactions appropriately when you are tempted to react in unproductive ways in their company.

Which are the Most Serious of these Triggers

Now that you have identified potential trigger situations and people, assess which of these are most problematic or serious for you. In other words, which of them are most likely to prompt you to react aggressively or in a way which you later regret. These are the situations or people that it is probably worth focusing particular effort on changing your reaction towards.

Create a Plan for Dealing with your most Serious Triggers

Having identified your most serious trigger situations and people, make a note of what you can try doing differently to prepare for encountering them and to act differently when you do encounter them.

Example:

Trigger
Plan to Manage Anger
My partner acting in a way that I've asked them not to.
  • Acknowledge to myself that this could potentially lead me to shout at my partner
  • Remind myself that shouting at my partner doesn't seem to improve the situation, it just makes it worse
  • Commit to trying not to shout the next time it happens but just to express my view calmly
My boss ordering me about
  • Recognise that I am likely to get annoyed and fester or mouth off to my friends about it
  • Remind myself that whilst that reaction is not disastrous it can fuel my stress
  • Decide to try and occupy myself by doing something else next time it happens, to help me 'let go' and not dwell on it.

 

Now try to identify your own triggers and create a simple plan for reacting to them in a different way.

 

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