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Anger Management & Conflict Resolution

Instructor: Millicent Kelly

Millicent has been teaching at the university level since 2004. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Human Resources.

This lesson will provide information on how to deal with anger and conflict by offering anger management and conflict resolution techniques and strategies. The terms anger and conflict will also be defined.

Anger Issues

Since he was a teenager, John has been known by his friends as someone who has problems dealing with anger. John is easily provoked by situations that wouldn't cause much trouble for other people. For example, when he struck out in a baseball game during his senior year in high school, John reacted by violently tossing his bat into the air without regard for other players who were standing nearby.

John's angry overreactions ultimately resulted in legal issues. One day someone cut John off in traffic while he was driving to work. Instead of handling the situation logically he pursued the vehicle, and when they stopped at a red light he approached the driver, opened his car door, and grabbed him by the throat. John was arrested on a road rage charge and ordered to perform community service and complete an anger management class.

What is Anger?

It is important to remember that situations don't always need to escalate the way John's did in order for it to be helpful to learn anger management and conflict resolution skills.

Anger is a normal emotion that exists within all of us. It is a feeling that can range from minor irritation to full-blown hostility and rage. Anger can be provoked by personal issues or by events we experience in the world. It can be expressed towards oneself, other people, situations, or world events and issues. The expression of anger can be therapeutic when managed effectively. However, when anger turns into full-blown rage it can be destructive and lead to serious problems, like John's legal problems following his road rage incident. Our instinct is to respond aggressively to situations that anger us, so it's important that we learn how to manage our anger constructively.

Anger Management Techniques

Some people get angry more easily than others. They tend to be like John and have a lower level of frustration tolerance. Frustration tolerance is the ability people have to deal with situations that are stressful. There are several strategies that can be adopted to deal with anger more effectively. These include:

  • Relaxation techniques - deep breathing exercises, visualization techniques, yoga, and meditation.
  • Changing your thoughts - replacing negative and irrational thoughts with positive ones.
  • Facing your problems - when anger is caused or directed by personal problems, facing the problem and making a plan to solve it can help to address it.
  • Communication - sometime anger arises out of misunderstandings. Learning how to communicate more clearly is an important anger management strategy.
  • Use humor - try to manage anger through humor by imagining yourself to be someone completely different, such as a superhero tackling an issue.
  • Leave the situation - removing yourself temporarily from a situation that makes you angry--by going for a walk or run, for example--will give you an opportunity to calm down and put things in perspective before tackling the issue.

What is Conflict?

While anger is an emotion that can be sparked by many factors, conflict generally occurs between people as a result of a disagreement or argument. Like anger, conflict can be constructive when handled effectively. Because two people can't always agree on everything, conflict often occurs in relationships. In order for relationships to stay healthy, it is important to learn conflict management skills.

Conflict Resolution Techniques

Conflict can spark anger so utilizing some of the anger management skills listed above, combined with effective conflict resolution techniques, can help to diffuse heated situations. Effective conflict resolution skills include:

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