Anger Group Workshop

Anger Management Strategy - Slow Yourself Down

by James A. Baker (2010/September)


For years people have been telling me that I had an anger problem, but I always had an excuse. It took a long time for me to face the facts and admit that I was really the problem. Now, I am trying to work on it. I have started going to church again and I have stopped drinking. I think I am doing much better, and so does my wife. Man, if she only knew how much I still struggle. I feel on edge so much of the time. Sometimes I still feel like I might slip back. Is there anything I can do?

Stressed Out in Seattle

Anger Management Strategy – Slow Yourself Down

Dear Stressed Out:
First of all, congratulations for taking responsibility for your own emotions and doing something about it. That is half the battle right there. Old habits die hard, and, given the fact that anger is a normal human emotion that occurs as a part of everyday life, you can expect to face challenges every day. However, there are some tips you can follow to help take the pressure off and maybe help you avoid a destructive outburst.

Count To Ten (At Least) - For a lot of people, this really works! (We are not referring here to counting to ten in order to give the other person a head start before you catch up with them and let them have it!) If, once you notice the onset of anger symptoms, you take a deep breath and count to ten VERY slowly and quietly to yourself, you will interrupt, or at least slow down, your body's countdown for an anger eruption. In order for this to be effective, you must concentrate on counting; shift your thoughts away from whatever your were thinking and feeling that had gotten you so upset, and focus completely on the sound of your voice counting. After counting to ten once, if you don't feel completely in control of your emotions yet, take another deep breath and count to ten again, this time inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply between each number. This should help put you back into rational control of your thoughts and actions.

Anger Management Strategy – Slow Yourself Down

Take A Time Out - Sometimes, however, counting to ten – or even twenty or fifty or one hundred – is not enough to help you avoid an out-of-control anger episode. This is often the case when you are involved in a tense, heated exchange with someone who appears to be just as angry as you are, or perhaps with someone who just won't let up on you for whatever reason. At times like this it is very important to put some sort of distance between yourself and the situation. This is called taking a "time out."

Time outs are used in anger management for a slightly difference purpose than the kind you think about in sports. First of all, while a time out can be called by either person in a dispute, it is vitally important for the person who is learning better anger management strategies to recognize situations in which a time out is needed and initiate it himself. Being willing and able to call a time out at the right time is an important step forward in your battle against anger that is out of control.

For the purposes of anger control, calling a time out consists of the following steps:
Recognize that a situation is developing that could lead to an unpleasant and destructive anger event. Our previous lessons on irrational thinking and anger warning signs give you plenty to go on here.Announce to the other party (or parties) involved that you need to take a break so you can calm down and clear your head.

Anger Management Strategy – Slow Yourself Down

Then leave the room or the premises for at least an hour. Under certain circumstances, it might be best to avoid further conversations until the next day or the next week, but stick to a basic limit of at least an hour. When you announce the need for a time out, also be clear about when you will return, and stick to that timeline. If you are in a confined area – a car for instance – and you can't leave, simply announce that you must discontinue speaking for an hour.

During the time out period, don't talk to any of the parties about the conflict issues. If possible, try to clear your head and don't think about the issues yourself. Sometimes agonizing and obsessing over those things keeps your defensive anger stoked and ready to erupt when talking resumes. Time outs are not for reloading; time outs are for relaxing and decompressing.

Relaxation Exercises

Anger Management Strategy – Slow Yourself Down

During the time out period, it usually helps to use some sort of relaxation techniques to put you in control of what is going on inside of you and help your thoughts, emotions and body efficiently drain out the stress that you have been absorbing. Counting to ten is actually a very simple type of relaxation technique, but there are many other ways to combat and relieve stress.

Breathing Techniques - Practitioners of yoga have long recognized the relaxation benefits of sitting still and breathing deeply. Find a quiet place where you can be alone, reduce the lighting if possible, and find a position where you will be comfortable sitting for at least 15 minutes. Keeping your shoulders back so your lungs can fully expand, close your eyes and begin to breathe deeply in and out through your nose. Measure your breathing by counting slowly to yourself – inhale for a count of 5, hold it for a count of 5, and exhale for a count of 5. Don't think about anything but keeping your count steady. Focus on the sound of your own breathing. Most people find this breathing method so relaxing that they become drowsy before the 15 minutes have passed.

Anger Management Strategy – Slow Yourself Down

Muscle Relaxation - As we deal with the stress of daily activities, the very subtle beginnings of that fight or flight response start loading up our muscles for combat, which leaves them tight and tense, sometimes for days on end. This tension becomes so much a part of the way our bodies feel that it seems "normal" to us; we don't realize that we are absorbing tension like a sponge. The best way to begin to relax your muscles is to consciously tighten your muscle groups one by one, and then consciously relax them. You know what it feels like to make a fist and that relax your hand again. There is not much more to it than that. Lie down in a comfortable place and stretch out. Beginning with the top of your body, consciously tighten and then release your muscles. Hold each group tight for a count of ten and then release for a count of ten. Start with the muscles in your jaw and neck, move to your shoulders and upper back, then your hands and arms. Continue moving lower, first your stomach, then your hips and buttocks, your thighs and upper legs, ending with your toes and feet. As you release each group, imagine that you can feel the tension draining out of your body.

These simple, easy techniques can help you slow down your body's fight or flight response, which will help drain away the pressure so that you can discuss your anger instead of reacting to it.


The behavior of anyone who struggles with out of control anger – often referred to as anger addiction – can seriously disrupt the lives of many people. The addict, his family and friends, and his co-workers are all affected by his disorder. Even those in the helping professions can find an anger addict very frustrating to deal with. What is lacking in most cases is an accessible, powerful, simple anger management strategy to cut through the denial and help the anger addict begin to change NOW.

The Anger Management Training Institute has developed a very successful set of tools built around the principles found in James A Baker’s highly acclaimed Anger Busting Workbook. The Anger Busting program lays out an anger management strategy that is not only easy to implement, but amazingly effective, and we offer two excellent classes to help anger addicts learn to practice these principles. This course is designed to meet the needs of those required by a spouse, an employer or the court to take an anger management class. Our 24-lesson online anger management training class – at $65 for the complete package -- offers remarkable value for those needing an anger management class. This class covers all the important material from the Anger Busting Workbook, plus, students have the advantage of taking the course on their own schedule, working in the privacy of their own home. Participants in both classes receive an anger management certification diploma to present to the court when they finish the class.

For helping professionals, our Certified Anger Resolution Therapist class and our Online Certified Anger Resolution Therapist class provide training in the Anger Busting Program. Participants receive guidance in how to use the anger management strategies found in the Anger Busting Workbook, as well as Mr. Baker’s new book, the Anger Busting Workbook Counseling and Training Guide. These courses have been certified by the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors.


Welcome to the Anger Management Training Institute! We offer a variety of Court Certified Anger Management Classes which include our Anger Programs and Online Courses, Seminars, and our award winning Online Class to help people just like you overcome Anger Problems through the simple but effective Anger Management Techniques which are practiced and learned in James A. Baker’s Best Selling Book “The Anger Busting Workbook” by Bayou Publishing. Our fast and effective Anger Courses, Classes, Workshops, and Anger Management Seminars have helped over 60,000 individuals just like you resolve their anger management therapy issues and regain complete control of their lives. Get fast Anger Management Help.

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