Generally speaking, individuals do not walk through their day planning to become angry. We don’t pencil an anger episode into our schedule, and we certainly do not expect anger to become a regular part of our routine. Becoming angry is often the result of something triggering us in our minds. It can be something as simple as a word, or it can be more complex like someone not really engaging in a conversation with you.

Knowing your anger triggers is they key in preventing anger outburst.

Follow these steps to determine your anger triggers:

  1. Make a short list of your most recent anger episodes.
  2. Think through these experiences and take notes on the important details. (i.e. people involved, breathing patterns, body temperature rising, etc.)
  3. Be sure to note any similarities among the episodes.
  4. Go through each episode and define the problem. (i.e. What was your initial expectation with this encounter? and How was is not met?)
  5. Notice the patterns that you find during the episodes.

Anger is often triggers by three things: unmet expectations, an unspoken word, or a throtted intention.

Unmet Expectations

This means that your anger could be the result of expectations that are not met. For example, you expected another person to be on time for a meeting, and when they are late, you become angry. Being angry is very normal in this situation; however, you have to choose how you will express your anger. Often, we do not make very thoughtful decisions when expressing our anger, which is why something as simple as lateness can turn into a fist fight or us saying something very hurtful to the other person. These types of behavior do not give you what you want, and they often make the problem worse.

Unspoken Word

Communication can often lead us to anger, and one of the ways is through an unspoken word. Wrongful assumptions about how another person views you can make you angry. Maybe they never said that thought you weren’t very smart, but you make an assumption based on an unspoken word (body language) which causes you to become angry. Again, anger is a normal emotional response to this situation, but how are you going to fix this now that you are angry? Are you going to become passive aggressive? Or will you address the issue head on with that individual? The choice is yours, and you must take the time to choose your approach.

Throtted Intention

In life, you will come across individuals who seek to push your buttons, or make you angry. Often times, these people are very successful in provoking others to anger. However, it’s in that moment of recognizing your anger that you can choose to either give them what they want (a negative response) or model out appropriate anger expression. This doesn’t mean backing down or cowering away. Instead, it means to man up and have control over your anger instead of allowing someone to manipulate your emotions with wrongful intentions.

Now that you are more away of the anger triggers, you can have power of your anger by recognizing the trigger and choosing how to respond before falling into the cycle or an outburst. Knowing your triggers and how you typically respond in anger episodes is the key to changing your behavior and expressing anger in a more assertive and healthy way.


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