Anger Management Activities For Teens & Adults: Try Them Out

anger management activities for adults

Anger is a powerful emotion that can often leave us feeling out of control and overwhelmed. However, with the right techniques, we can learn to manage our anger more effectively.

This excerpt from an Anger Management Journal introduces two practical exercises designed to help individuals regain control over their emotional responses and stay grounded in the present moment when anger arises.

anger management workbook

Bring Yourself to the Here and Now with the Simple Act of Counting

When your anger is triggered, you might notice that your thoughts are in the past, in the future, or in both the past and future simultaneously. You might be thinking about someone who just tried to harm you moments ago or you might be anticipating that something bad will happen moments from now unless you respond with aggression and hostility.

Your anger reaction is your desire to try to make these things right, to get even, or to prevent others from trying to undermine or affect you in some way. The point is, your mind and your thoughts are all over the place, but typically, your mind and thoughts are not in the present moment.

You can test this theory out next time you become angry. Ask yourself whether you have a problem right now—right this second. Not 2 seconds ago or 10 minutes from now. Right now. The answer is typically, “No” because whatever someone did to you in the past is over now and as for the future, it’s not here yet. The future is not happening right now. Plus, we don’t really know for sure what will actually happen in the future; we can only guess and anticipate.

These ideas might sound a bit farfetched, but the reality is that you can take charge of your anger reactions by applying at least some of these concepts—by increasing the time you spend in the present moment. When you’re stuck in the past and/or the future, you will just drag your anger with you everywhereall the time.

An excellent strategy that you can apply right away to help to bring you to the here and now is counting. But, rather than the well-known “count to three” method that can be applied to prevent you from reacting impulsively, try subtracting from 2 starting with 50 (e.g., 48, 46, 44, 42, and so on).

This is a bit more challenging, takes longer to complete, and is more likely to remove your thoughts from the obsessive and impulsive anger and rage you feel as you enter—and stay in—the present moment.

learn to control your anger

Watching the Thinker

Watching the thinker is a mindfulness strategy that you can use right away to help you manage moments when your anger is triggered. This exercise is effective so long as you understand the mindfulness concept that you & your mind are two separate entities—two separate “things.”

Think of your mind as a part of your body that works a lot like a reflex reaction—like a knee jerk reaction. We have knee jerk thoughts all the time and if we allow our mind to control us, these knee jerk thoughts will lead to knee jerk reactions all the time.

This can become a major problem if you struggle with managing your anger because your knee jerk reaction will likely manifest as verbal or physical expressions of anger.

However, by watching the thinker, you practice watching your own mind—your own thoughts—like a movie. If you have any doubt that you and your mind are two separate things, consider this: The simple fact that you can watch your own thoughts—that you can observe your own thoughts—shows you that there is the thinker and then there is you.

If not, you wouldn’t be able to observe your own thoughts. Try it out right now. What are you thinking about in this moment? The fact that you can answer this question —even if the answer is, “I’m not thinking about anything” indicates that you can watch the thinker.

Practice watching your own thoughts, particularly when you become angry. Watch your thoughts in the same way you would watch a movie. Try not to judge your thoughts; just watch them. Watch the anger transpire. Watch the different things you begin to think when you’re angry. Commit to doing this activity now, ahead of time, before you find yourself in a situation when you become angry.

This way, you’re prepared to use anger triggers as your opportunity to just watch rather than react. Right now, you and the thinker might be meshed into one being because whenever you think of something that gets you angry, you react and lash out.

The more you watch the thinker, the more you will be able to separate yourself—you, the person, the body—from your mind and your thoughts.

fun mindfulness activities for adults

The counting backwards and watching the thinker exercises outlined here are just two of several useful anger management activities you can find in an anger management journal.

Maintaining such a journal and regularly logging your anger triggers, reactions, and management strategies can be an effective way to gain control over outbursts. The act of writing helps process emotions, and reviewing past entries tracks your progress.

Over time, journaling builds self-awareness and skills for staying present and calm when faced with frustrating situations. Commit to an anger management journaling practice along with these introductory counting and mindfulness methods.

The combined approach will equip you to handle anger in healthy ways, prevent impulsive responses, and live with greater emotional balance.

By consistently practicing these techniques and recording your experiences, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of your anger patterns and more effective ways to manage them. Remember, the goal isn’t to eliminate anger entirely, but to respond to it in constructive ways that align with your values and goals.

You may also be interested in: 

1. Learn to Control Your Anger With Anger Management Workbook

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Anger Management
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