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Sandy Garrett State Superintendent of Public Instruction Oklahoma State Department of Education. “COMBUSTIBLE PERSONALITIES” Extinguishing the Flames of Anger. Gayle Robertson Jones Co-Director, Comprehensive Health Safe and Drug-Free Schools Oklahoma State Department of Education

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sandy garrett state superintendent of public instruction oklahoma state department of education
Sandy GarrettState Superintendent of Public InstructionOklahoma State Department of Education


Extinguishing the Flames of Anger

Gayle Robertson Jones

Co-Director, Comprehensive Health

Safe and Drug-Free Schools

Oklahoma State Department of Education

(405) 521-2107

what is anger
What Is Anger?
  • Anger is an emotion or a response of strong feeling we have when we identify a threat to our safety. It can be a combination of discomfort, tenseness, resentment and frustration. It can result from direct physical or verbal threats or perceived harm.
  • The consequences of our angry behavior can be painful emotionally and physically. Anger is one of the most difficult emotions to control.
the anger iceberg theory
The Anger Iceberg Theory

Used with permission

Gordon Training International

anger management
Anger Management
  • Anger management is expressing angry feelings in an appropriate way.
  • Anger management has to do with impulse control.
  • Anger control is keeping expressions of anger at a manageable and non-destructive level.
the sequence of anger
The Sequence of Anger
  • Triggers: Something unpleasant happens.

Our buttons get pushed by external or internal triggers.

  • Thoughts: We evaluate by thinking to ourselves.

(Example: This is unfair!)

  • Feelings: Then we feel the way we think.
  • Behaviors: We act out our feelings.

(Example: Run, cry, fight, attack, take revenge)

  • Consequences: Negative consequences escalate our anger.

(Example: You are grounded. You are suspended).

Source: Anger Management for Youth: Stemming Aggression and Violence

By: Dr. Leona Eggert

body signals of anger
Body Signals of Anger
  • Heart rate increases
  • Face feels hot or flushed
  • Ears pound
  • Breathing changes
  • Fist or jaw clenches
  • Voice rises and tone changes
  • Muscles tense
reasons why we choose anger
Reasons Why We Choose Anger
  • To manipulate or bully those who may be afraid of you
  • To make an excuse
  • To get your way
  • To avoid intimacy
  • To break down communication when you feel threatened

Paraphrased from: Anger Management for Youth: Stemming Aggression and Violence

By: Dr. Leona Eggert

reasons why we choose anger8
Reasons Why We Choose Anger
  • To get attention
  • To feel important and noticed
  • To avoid thinking things through
  • To excuse poor performance or losing
  • To direct responsibility to someone else rather

than yourself

  • To feel self pity
  • To influence others with guilt
  • To divert attention off yourself and avoid

self- improvement

anger styles
Anger Styles
  • Blockers

They do not recognize their anger and are not willing to deal with upsetting emotions. They may develop headaches, stomachaches and depression. Sometimes they overindulge to escape their unexpressed feelings.

  • Blamers

They accuse other people of causing their problems. They believe they are never wrong or at fault. They think their anger is always justified.

Source: Exploring the Issues: Promoting Peace and Prevention Violence

Lions Club International and National Youth Leadership Council

anger styles10
Anger Styles
  • Avoiders

They acknowledge their anger but do not want to deal with the cause. In a conflict, they tend to look the other way, walk out of the room, change the subject or deny there is a problem, even when they know one exists. They may express their anger indirectly, telling everyone about the problem except the person they are angry with. Other times, they may act out their anger by poor performance, avoiding responsibilities or showing up late.

Source: Exploring the Issues: Promoting Peace and Preventing Violence

Lions Club International and National Youth Leadership Council

anger styles continued
Anger Styles continued
  • Aggressors

They express anger through intimidation, bullying, sarcasm, and ridicule. Winning an argument is more important than solving a problem or reaching an agreement. Their insensitivity to others may strain relationships and cause others to avoid them.

  • Problem Solvers

They recognize when they feel angry, notice what the cause is, and work to solve the conflict. They try to think positively and act constructively. If the problem is beyond their control, they express feelings in a positive manner, seek help and move on.

Source: Exploring the Issues: Promoting the Peace and Preventing Violence

Lions Club International and National Youth Leadership Council

where does anger come from
Where Does Anger Come From?

Sources of Conflict

Limited Resources




Unmet Basic Needs





Different Values





Responses To Conflict













control diagram




Other’s words

Other’s actions






I CHOOSE how I want to think, feel and act.




stress triggers

Friends, family,

co-workers, teachers, bosses, neighbors


How I look or act

What I am accomplishing

What my future holds


Loss of a relative, friend, privileges, job


New job, new school


Money worries

Family or friend in


Learning, skill problems

what annoys you
What Annoys You?
  • Does this sound familiar?

Someone embarrasses me.

Someone insults me or makes fun of me.

Someone criticizes me.

I do something foolish.

Someone breaks a promise.

I do not meet my own expectations.

what are your stress triggers

What Are Your Stress Triggers?



healthy ways to diffuse anger
Walk. Jog. Bike. Hit a tennis ball.

Shoot baskets. Jump Rope.

Draw. Scribble.

Shred old newspapers.

Write about what happened.

Talk to a friend or counselor or minister.

Count to 30, 50, 100.

Use yoga.

Breathe deeply. Hold the breath for 5 seconds and slowly exhale. Do this 3 times.

Listen to relaxing music.

Take a mental vacation.

Write a poem.

Journal what you are feeling.

Create a collage. Cut and paste from old magazines.

Watch a funny movie or TV show.

Use your energy to work around the house or yard or wash the car.

Pray. Meditate.

Sit outdoors. Observe nature.

Healthy Ways To Diffuse Anger
build your own anger toolkit
Build Your Own Anger Toolkit

What stress relieving tools would use? Add your own ideas to

these suggestions:

• Use self-affirming statements.

• Ride a bike.

• Talk to a friend.

• Journal your thoughts.

• Listen to relaxing music.

• Soak in a warm bath.

• Shred old newspapers.

• Take a walk.

• Sing.

• Try yoga.

self talk statements to use when angry
Self-Talk Statements To Use When Angry
  • I will stay calm.
  • As long as I keep my cool, I am in control.
  • What do I want out of this situation?
  • I do not need to prove myself to anyone.
  • There is NO point in getting mad.
  • I will look for the positives.
  • I am NOT going to let this get to me!
  • It really is a shame he/she has to act like this.
  • What he/she says really does not matter!
self talk statements to use when angry20
Self Talk Statements To Use When Angry
  • I cannot expect people to act the way I want them to all of the time.
  • My muscles feel tight. I will relax.
  • Just chill!
  • He/She would probably like to see me lose control, but he/she is going to be very disappointed.
  • I am NOT going to let this get to me!
  • I am under control.
  • I have a right to be annoyed, but I can work this out.
self talk statements do work
  • SLOW DOWN. Take a few deep breaths and chill.
  • I can reason this out. I can treat the other person with respect.
  • No one can hurt my feelings without my permission.
  • I am smart enough to use my brains instead of my fists.
  • It is time to walk away and cool off.
  • This person’s behavior is not my responsibility.
keep an anger log

Name__________________________ Date_____________________

When you find yourself in an anger-provoking situation, ask yourself these questions.

1. What is the situation? Who is involved?

2. On a scale of 1 to 5, how angry am I?

l. Irritated 4. Extremely angry

2. Ticked off 5. Major rage

3. Upset

3. How is this anger felt in my system?

(Cramped muscles, headache, tension, etc.?)

4. What will I say or do to respond?

5. Is this response appropriate? Or inappropriate? Why?

anger log continued
Anger Log continued
  • What are the possible consequences of my responses?
  • Will I end up getting what I need in this way?
  • What are some anger or stress relief methods I can use now?
a decision making model
A Decision-Making Model


S= Stop. Count to 50. Take deep breaths, exhale slowly. Do slow neck rolls.

T= Think. Self talk may say, “Acting on impulse can get me into big trouble. I can handle this in a better way.”

O= Options. Think of a positive option. Opt to toss out options which are not helpful or productive or safe.

M= Move on it. Act on the helpful option you selected. Try it. Do not just worry about it. Rehearse with a friend, beforehand if possible, to increase your chances for success.

P= Pat yourself on the back. You “STOMPED” on it. Positively reinforce yourself and the other person in the situation for giving it a try and for practicing anger control.

Source: Anger Management for Youth: Stemming Aggression and Violence

By: Dr. Leona Eggert

helping a child who is expressing anger
Helping A Child Who Is Expressing Anger
  • Listen to what the child is saying about his or her feelings.
  • Provide comfort and assurance. Tell the child you care about his or her problems. Show confidence in his ability to handle this situation.
  • Tell the child that everyone experiences anger and share how you dealt with it in an appropriate way when you felt angry.
  • Encourage the child to shift gears; to choose an activity of something they like to do. A different activity can refocus thoughts.

Source: Oklahoma Department of Mental Health

helping children with anger expression
Helping Children with Anger Expression
  • Teach basic problem-solving skills and conflict resolution skills. Walk them through possible consequences and their choices.
  • Show them a decision-making method.
  • Look at how you handle your own anger. Are you setting a good example?
  • Acknowledge good behavior and praise positive behavior.
  • Build the child’s awareness of his/her own talents and abilities.
  • Allow cool-off time.

Source: Oklahoma Department of Mental Health

student behavior contract
Student Behavior Contract


Dates of Contract: From_______________________ to _____________________

The inappropriate behavior I will work on is:_______________________________


I will change my behavior by:

____ Counting to 20 before I say anything.

____ Thinking about the consequences of my behavior.

____ Walking away from the situation

____ Refusing to take matters into my own hands. I will seek adult assistance.

____ Telling the person I am angry.

____ Requesting a peer mediation session.

____ Asking an adult to listen.

____ Keeping my hands and my feet to myself.

____ Other _________________________________________________________

____ Other _________________________________________________________

student behavior contract28
Student Behavior Contract

The person(s) I am going to practice controlling my anger or misbehavior with is/are:


The reward I want to receive for controlling my behavior is:_____________________________________________


The penalty/consequence for using angry, hurtful behavior is:_____________________________________________

Agreed to by: (student)___________ and (staff)_________

signs of a troubled teen
Sudden changes in personality

Sudden changes in eating or sleeping habits

Lack of interest in or withdrawal from planned activities

Persistent boredom

Severe depression that lasts a week or longer

Withdrawal from family and friends; self-imposed isolation

Inability to have fun

Concealed or direct suicide threats

Running away from home, family, school


Source: Perfectionism: What’s Bad About Feeling Good,

By: Miriam Adderholdt, Ph.D. and Jan Goldberg

Loss of interest in personal grooming

An illness that has no apparent physical cause

Preoccupation with death and death-related themes

Giving away prized possessions to family and friends

Saying goodbye to family and friends

Difficulty concentrating

An unexplained decline in school work

A recent suicide or death of a friend or relative

Talking about suicide, either jokingly or seriously

Indications of drug use

Signs of a Troubled Teen
resources for stress and anger management
Resources for Stress and Anger Management

Controlling Anger

National Mental Health Association Fact Sheets

American Psychological Association

How Can I Deal With My Anger?

What You Can Do For Yourself Fact Sheet

Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance

Abuse Resource Center

(405) 522-8310

books for anger management
Anger Kills

By: Redford Williams, M.D. and

Virginia Williams, Ph.D.

Anger Management For Youth:

Stemming Aggression and Violence

By: Dr. Leona L. Eggert

Angry All The Time

By: Ron Potter –Efron, M.S.W.

Kidstress: What It Is, How It Feels,

And How To Help (For Parents)

By: Dr. Georgia Witkin

Perfectionism: What’s Bad About

Feeling Too Good? (High School Level)

By: Miriam Aderholdt, Ph.D. and Jan


Power Struggles

Successful Techniques for Educators

By: Allen N. Mendler, Ph.D.

The Anger Workbook

By: Lorrainne Bilodeau, M.S.

When Anger Hurts: Quieting the Storm Within

By: Matthew McKay, Ph.D., Peter Rogers, Ph.D. and Judith McKay, R.N.

Fighting Invisible Tigers

A Stress Management Guide for Teens

By: Connie Schmitz, Ph.D., with Earl Hipp

Breaking Down the Walls of Anger

A 5th-8th Grade Management Guide

By: Ester Williams, M.Ed., L.P.C.

Books For Anger Management
research based prevention program curriculum sites
Research-based Prevention Program Curriculum Sites

Research-based, prevention programs are listed by these agencies on the following websites:

  • U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools

  •  National Research-based Effective Prevention Programs

  •  Center for Substance Abuse Prevention

research based prevention program sites
Research-based prevention program sites
  • National Institute for Drug Abuse

  • Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

what students need
What Students Need

Every Student Must Be Given:

  • Respect. We must model what we preach and teach.
  • Clear boundaries. Show and tell them what is expected of them.
  • Logical, just consequences. Discuss choices. Follow through. Be fair. Be firm. Be consistent.
what students need35
What Students Need

Students need to be given:

  • Opportunities to be creative. Award and affirm students for their creative expression. Give freedom to express their own uniqueness and talent.
  • Opportunities to set their own personal goals. Provide skills and resources necessary for reachable goals and include community service components.
  • Skills to succeed. Self care, communication skills, study skills, conflict resolution, problem solving skills, harassment information, interpersonal relationship skills, decision-making steps, time and money management tips.
wise reminders
Wise Reminders

“We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“Every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says,

‘Make me feel important.’ If you can do that, you will be a success not

only in business but in life as well.”

Mary Kay Ash

“I am also reassured that no matter how many negative forces are at work

in someone’s life, it sometimes takes no more than one person, one act of

love or acceptance or encouragement to make a difference.”

Jane Bluestein, Author

Mentors, Masters and Mrs. MacGregor


“Even on your worst day,

You are some student’s

best hope.”

Larry Bell