Anger is an essential, and often unavoidable, human emotion. It is a very normal emotion – there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling anger. We all feel angry from time to time. Even the calmest person sometimes feels anger. And it’s ok. Having anger isn’t an inherently bad thing. It only becomes a problem when it gets out of control. Ever heard of the phrase “too much of anything is bad”? That’s the issue with anger – it becomes a problem when it gets too much, and gets out of control. That’s where having an anger management plan comes in really handy.
Anger management plan?
So what is an anger management plan? It is a predefined set of steps that you can take when a stressful or confrontational situation comes up. Think of it like an AC – whenever you feel your anger rising up, you plug in your anger management plan to cool you down.
The goal of an anger management plan is to give you a simple plan of action that will effectively manage your anger, and stop it from getting out of hand. It’s a mechanism for dealing with your anger in a healthy way.
Anger management plans can be individualised to suit the personality of a person – so if a certain plan/parts of the plan does not work for you, it does not mean anger management plans aren’t for you. All it means is that you need to try some things out to find what works for you. Once you find techniques or coping skills that work for you, then these can be effective ways to manage your temper, and help you calm down.
That said, check out my simple anger management plan below. This will be a great place for you to start developing a plan for managing and dealing with your anger.
Note: To learn more about anger management, check out our guide: Anger Management 101 – An Essential Guide To Dealing With Your Anger.
The 5 Step Anger Management Plan (I.A.R.D.E)
These are the 5 steps of my I.A.R.D.E anger management plan:
- I – Identify
- A – Assess
- R – Reflect
- D – Decide
- E – Evaluate
Read on to learn about each step.
Step # 1 – Identify
The first step involves becoming aware of what makes you angry, i.e. identifying your anger triggers.
If you don’t already know what they are, here’s something that can help: keep a record of your thoughts when you feel angry. These can help you figure out what your triggers are.
This process of journaling your thoughts can also help you decide on how to process your emotions in a positive healthy way, rather than being angry, which will be useful for the next steps.
Become aware of what makes you angry.
Step # 2 – Assess
After identifying your anger triggers, think about your (usual) reactions.
Assess the potential fallouts from those reactions.
What will be the consequence(s) of you acting out of anger? What’s the cost to you, and others?
Think about the consequences of your actions.
Step # 3 – Reflect
Reflect on how you can deal with the situation.
What can you do, aside from becoming angry? What are your other options?
Journaling your thoughts (and the consequences of acting out of anger) will help with this.
Consider your options.
Step # 4 – Decide
The fourth step is the decision-making step.
Choose which of the option(s) you came up with in step 3 is likely to be the most effective.
Then act on that option.
If you need a hand with this, check out our guide on 3 simple anger management techniques.
Decide on the best course of action
Step # 5 – Evaluate
This last step enables you to evaluate the process, and how it worked in the situation. This helps you determine how you can improve.
After following the above steps, it is of really important to evaluate your process. The plan will only stay effective (and get better) if it evolves and improves, and that can only happen through evaluation.
So after every instance of you putting the I.A.R.D.E plan to practice, ask yourself these questions:
- How did it work?
- What worked?
- What didn’t work?
- What can I do differently, or better, next time?
Evaluate to improve.
Simple is good
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this anger management plan – just because it is simple does not mean it is not effective.
Simple usually is good.
But don’t just take my word for it – try it out yourself.
Practice is key
The best way to find out if strategies like these work for you or not is to actually put them into practice. So try it out a few times, see how it works for you. If something doesn’t work quite so well for you, tweak them – trial and error will help you create a strategy, an anger management plan, that will work for you.
Also, you can use trial and error to improve on this plan to make it even more effective for you.
Remember, when you are in a calm state of mind the steps defined above are easy to put in action. The true test comes when you are angry. Your ability to manage your anger is truly tested when you are face to face with your anger triggers and are experiencing negative thoughts and emotions.
Practice really is key for this – the more you practice your anger management plan, the better (and faster) you will get at it.
Next time something happens that makes your blood boil, stop and take a minute to think it through. Remember I.A.R.D.E (identify, assess, reflect, decide, evaluate).
Go through the 5 steps of the I.A.R.D.E anger management plan, then act accordingly.
This will give you an opportunity to think things through and come up with a healthy, and effective way to deal with the situation (as opposed to blowing up!).
One more important factor to note about anger management is the impact of self-esteem: anger often is the result of low self-esteem, so boosting your self-esteem can (and will) have a positive impact on your ability to manage your anger. Check out this guide on 6 Ways to Improve Your Self-Esteem to get started with that.
We really hope this anger management plan helps you to deal with your anger in a more healthy way.
Let us know how you get on.
What’s your experience with anger management plans – have you tried any before? Do you have any tips to share?
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