Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Anger Management [7 CBT Exercises]

cbt exercises for anger management

How Does CBT For Anger Work?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a technique that is used to alleviate many different mental health issues, life stressors, and problems like anger management.

When you apply CBT strategies to anger management issues, you learn to identify the thoughts, situations, or stressors that trigger your anger. Typically, these circumstances lead you to respond in negative, unhealthy, or even dangerous ways, jeopardizing your relationships with others and resulting in other serious consequences that will affect your happiness, your wellbeing, and your quality of life.

You might feel like you can’t control your anger once you are triggered or you might find it very difficult to control it. CBT helps you regain this control and develop greater confidence in yourself and your ability to cope.

Once you identify your triggers, CBT provides specific strategies to help you avoid triggers or learn to respond to your anger triggers in a healthier and more adaptive way. This isn’t about trying to convince yourself to believe something completely unrealistic about your anger or your triggers.

CBT actually works to help you see alternatives and better options when you confront any circumstance that typically leads to your difficulty with anger control.

CBT also teaches you to shift your thoughts and beliefs about situations that fuel your anger. It essentially provides strategies to help you retrain your brain to interpret stressors and situations differently.

With CBT, you can discover a very powerful method of shifting your mindset, challenging and changing your thoughts and beliefs, and implementing positive behaviors that will motivate and inspire you to progress on a self-development journey.

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Here are 7 CBT exercises for anger that you will find in Anger Management Journal.

Identifying Triggers

Your anger triggers are any thought, situation, stressor, person, comments, or conversations that make it difficult for you to respond in a healthy and adaptive manner.

These circumstances may lead you to become frustrated, irritable, or may incite your anger to the point that you may be unable to control your overt reactions.

Your overt reactions are the way you express your anger. For some people, this could include yelling, making threats, confronting another person, using curse words, making critical or inappropriate comments, or becoming physically aggressive.

Considering Consequences

The next exercise involves considering the consequences of your behavioral responses. This means that you’re going to evaluate the result or the outcome of your response to triggers. Consequences can be personal, affecting you directly, and/or interpersonal, involving consequences to other people.

Replacing Negative Behaviors

Oftentimes, managing your anger comes down to learning new, more effective, and healthier ways of expressing yourself while keeping the consequences of your negative responses in mind.

In other words, it’s important to learn positive replacement behaviors so that you and those around you don’t suffer preventable consequences. It’s critical to plan—ahead of time—for the possibility that if you are in a situation where you become angry, you’ll have various go-to coping methods or positive responses that you can use in these situations.

Reframing and Replacing Negative Thoughts and Beliefs

Negative thoughts are often at the source of not only triggering your anger, but also your decision-making and actions once you are triggered.

This means that negative thoughts and beliefs can lead to some of the serious consequences of your anger—those reactions and responses that you can’t take back and can often be damaging to your relationships and your life.

If you practice identifying the negative thoughts and beliefs that fuel and maintain your anger, you can begin the important process of challenging and reframing or replacing those thoughts.

Avoiding Triggers

Sometimes, there are triggers that you simply cannot avoid; therefore, developing ways to replace negative behaviors is critical so you can manage and take control of your anger reactions and responses.

However, there are likely many triggers you can avoid. It’s important to identify the people, places, and things that trigger your anger and that could realistically be avoided without disrupting your life or holding you back from important activities.

Effective Communication of Emotions

Healthy communication is an excellent prevention strategy for poor anger management. If you felt heard and understood by others, such as your family members, spouse or romantic partner, friends, or co-workers, do you think your anger would escalate and get out of control?

What if others listened to your wants and desires? Do you think you would have the need to respond with anger or aggression?

The Power of “Letting It Go”

Being able to let certain situations, remarks, and other triggering circumstances “go” is a very powerful skill and ability. It is a mindfulness exercise that takes some practice and some self-control, but mostly just your willingness to be accepting and nonjudgmental of your own thoughts and of the situations you’re in.

If you want to learn more about cognitive behavioral therapy for anger management then check out Anger Management Journal.

You may also be interested in: 

1. Learn How to Control Anger With Anger Management Workbook

2. Guided Meditation to Release Anger

3. How to Ground Yourself as an Empath For Peace & Balance

4. Talk to Yourself Like You Would to Someone You Love

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