“Anybody can become angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not easy.” – Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics. This quote was said by Aristotle. In fact, this is the starting paragraph of one of the best anger management books ‘Emotional Intelligence’ by Daniel Goldman.
Feeling angry is one of the fundamental emotions that you experience to deal with the challenges of life. Although anger is one of the primary negative emotions, it helps you as a human in your survival.
For instance, you express your negative feelings through anger. Likewise, since feeling angry is an automatic response to danger, it pushes you to protect yourself from any external attack. Also, it allows you to come up with solutions when in a problem.
Thus, it is normal to be feeling angry.
When Does Anger Become Problematic?
Anger is also one of the emotions you feel. However, the problem arises when you attain a state of uncontrollable anger.
This is because you behave irrationally, make poor decisions, harm your personal and professional relationships, and take a toll on your health.
Thus, you must understand what is anger, how anger builds up, and what are the various tips that can help you in controlling anger.
So to help you deal with anger effectively, we have come up with a list of the best anger management books guiding you on how to manage this emotion.
Some of these best anger management books give you amazing insights on how anger works and how in its extreme form can lead to insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
One of the amazing revelations that we learned from these best anger management books is that getting angry is a signal. Yes, it’s a sign of something going severely wrong which needs to be dealt with. Let’s have a look at some of the best anger management books to help you and your loved ones deal with anger effectively.
Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman is one of the best anger management books that give you amazing insights on what are emotions including anger and how emotional hijacking works.
That is, how do emotions like anger trigger your emotional side, overpower your brain, and make you their slave.
He explains in detail why you are unable to think or reason when you are overwhelmed by emotions like anger and fear.
The in-depth research on the qualities of emotions and their neural circuitry helps you to identify and become aware of emotions like anger and fear quite early in the cycle of these emotions.
Such an awareness early on in the loop of these emotions helps you deal with them appropriately.
For instance, when you know that you are getting angry quite early in the anger cycle, you will start taking steps to not allow it to take over your reasoning ability.
Further, Daniel Goleman explains the importance of emotional intelligence through various real-life situations.
For instance, he clarifies why marriages fail due to a lack of emotional intelligence, how emotional misattunement is responsible for unhealthy relationships, how teams fail pathetically as their managers lack the art of criticism, and how unchecked emotions can cause anxiety, stress, and depression.
The best part about the book is when he compares IQ Vs EQ and gives you solid evidence on why EQ matters more than IQ.
We highly recommend this book for those people who want to understand how emotions work and what they can do to keep them in check when they go off-balance.
Quote From Emotional Intelligence
“People who are emotionally adept – who know and manage their feelings well, and who read and deal with other people’s feelings – are at an advantage in any domain of life, whether romance and intimate relationships or picking up the unspoken rules that govern success in organizational politics”.
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The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships by Harriet Lerner, Ph. D
Another book that makes it to the list of best anger management books is “The Dance of Anger” by Harriet Lerner.
In this book, Harriet Lerner beautifully explains how anger is a sign that something is off-balance in your life, that your rights are not being protected, that you are compromising way beyond your capacity in your relationship, or people are doing way too much for you which acts as a drag on your personal development and growth.
Lerner further explains how women are not motivated to become aware and express anger. Those women who express anger, especially at men, are considered unfeminine, sexually unattractive, and are labeled as ‘bitches’ or ‘man-haters’.
However, men, on the other hand, have the complete right to show anger and fight for the things they believe in.
Likewise, till the time women are self-questioning or depressed, all is well. This is because such women do not take action against anyone apart from themselves. Further, they do not fight for bringing about a personal or social change.
But, angry women are prospects of personal and social change. They challenge the systems and stereotypes and thus sort to bring about change.
And as we know, any change makes people anxious for it is difficult to change, both for the person seeking such a change and the rest of the public.
Thus, women begin to fear their anger, not only because angry women are looked down upon, but also because it requires them to change, which comes the harder way.
In this book, Harriet Lerner answers the questions like what are you angry about, what is your problem, and whose problem is it, how can you know who is responsible for what, etc.
Quote From The Dance of Anger
“Anger is something we feel. It exists for a reason and always deserves our respect and attention. We all have a right to everything we feel – and certainly, our anger is no exception.”
The book starts with a contemporary Zen parable (a short story with a moral lesson) – The Cow in the Parking Lot. You may wonder how a cow and parking lot can help you deal with anger?
Well, authors Leonard Scheff and Susan Edmiston explain that imagine you are at the opening of a new shopping mall. Since you need to park your car, you are looking for a parking space in the parking lot for the past ten minutes.
Finally, you see a car pulling out from a spot. So, you push your turn signal and wait as the car pulls back.
Immediately then, you see a Jeep coming from the other side and pulling itself into that parking space that you were planning to park the car at.
Not only this, the moment you honk, the Jeep driver comes out, smiles in a silly way, and gives you a finger. Needless to say, you get angry at this.
Now, the authors ask you to imagine a cow coming from the other side and sitting in the parking lot.
She moos when you honk, but doesn’t move. Would you get angry? The answer that most of us would give is a ‘No’. Instead of getting angry, most of us would get amazed to see the cow not moving.
Humans Can Do Without Anger
The authors explain that we are conditioned to use anger as a tool to get what we want. And anger is an emotion that comes naturally to us, so it cannot be eliminated.
However, the Buddhist values outlay that we humans can do without anger. Although this notion seems opposite to what we are conditioned for, the fact is that anger is a quick but poor response to events based on the notion that we have in our minds.
We, humans, are conditioned to believe that certain things will make us happy. When we don’t get them, we become angry.
Similarly, we are conditioned to use anger as a tool for getting what we want. But, Buddhist techniques, as revealed by the authors, help in overcoming this conditioning.
The authors further talk about the four types of unmet demands that make us angry. Once we understand them, we can deal with anger. Likewise, if we understand our “buttons”, we can alter what happens the moment these buttons are pushed.
It’s an interactive book with exercises for the readers, which will make them laugh at themselves. This would further help them to alter their angry behavior.
” A fair summary of this book is: you are hitting your hand with a hammer. If you stop, you will feel better.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, in his book Anger: Buddhist Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, talks about Buddhist ways of cooling anger and transforming anger to reduce suffering.
Thich says that when one is angry, one is suffering deeply. To be happy, one needs to suffer less. And that can happen only when one has freedom – freedom from the mental creations of jealousy, anger, and despair.
You attain this freedom with practice. This is because anger is one of the most difficult emotions to control.
Similarly, one can soothe someone’s anger by adopting one of the Buddhist teachings of compassionate listening. That is, listening not with the intent to blame and judge. But to listen with your full heart, mind, and attention.
Also, Thich explains that you have to keep a check on what you eat. If you eat the eggs or the flesh of an angry hen, you will express anger.
Likewise, much like food, you also need to see what you are consuming through other senses like eyes, ears, and consciousness. If you consume anger and frustration, you will take out anger and frustration on people.
Thus, citing beautiful stories, Anger: Buddhist Wisdom for Cooling the Flames helps you to transform anger, one of the most difficult emotions, into peace and guides you to maintain peace in all aspects of life that are impacted by anger.
“When you get angry, go back to yourself and take very good care of your anger. And when someone makes you suffer, go back and take care of your suffering, your anger. Do not say or do anything. Whatever you say or do in the state of anger may cause more damage to your relationship.”
Anger Management Workbook for Men: Take Control of Your Anger and Master Your Emotions By Aaron Karmin LCPC
Clinical therapist Aaron Karmin, in his book Anger Management Workbook for Men, provides amazing insights on why men get angry and how they can understand the fundamental reasons for their anger.
Through advice on anger, various assessments to gauge one’s anger, and examples of effectively expressing and managing anger, Karmin puts together useful tools to help you deal with one of the most difficult emotions – anger.
“When they were children they were showered with toys, fed whatever they wanted whenever they wanted it, and provided with entertainment instead of having to look for it. They didn’t have to wait for, earn, or create the things they wanted, and they didn’t have to find alternatives if those things weren’t available. What happened to some of those children? They grew up to be men with serious impulse control and self-regulation issues. When they don’t get the things they feel entitled to, they perceive themselves as being treated unfairly, and that perception triggers exaggerated outbursts of anger.”
Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion is another one of the best anger management books that helps you build a fresh perspective on anger, understand, and deal with anger.
The book begins by explaining where anger comes from. Anger builds when you are hurt, rejected, embarrassed, or wrongly treated by others.
While the anger is building up, there are a lot of physical changes that take place in the body simultaneously.
This hormonal rush leads to an uptick in your heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, and tension in muscles, which further gives you energy when in the grip of anger.
As a result, you feel overwhelmed, lose control, and respond unreasonably.
Likewise, Chapman discusses important things about anger. For instance, when is anger good, when are you angry for a good reason, when is anger bad and how to handle it, what can you do when you’re angry with your spouse, how can you deal with anger in your kids, etc.
Chapman cites the Bible in every chapter to illustrate why we all have anger as an emotion and how to regulate this powerful emotion divinely.
“Knowing the detrimental effects of man’s sin, God’s anger is stirred. It is God’s concern for justice and righteousness that stimulate God’s anger. This, when God sees evil, he experiences anger. Anger is his logical response to injustice and unrighteousness”.
Rage: A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Explosive Anger is another gem that offers effective help in managing anger.
Ronald in his book reveals that rage is a significant problem in America as well as other countries across the world.
Many people experience excessive rage. This is a situation in which you experience too much anger and as a result, you burst out.
Not only this, when you are in its grip, you lose your consciousness, sense of self, and control over your behavior.
Ronald further explains that various dangers or threats act as triggers for rage.
Threats That Act As Triggers for Rage
First is the type of danger that threatens your physical existence. Thus, survival rage is the kind of rage that helps you deal with situations that threaten your physical existence.
The second type of danger is the situation in which you feel you have no control over your life.
For instance, the death of a loved one, the uncertainty of losing a job, etc. So in situations like these, you feel helpless and as a result get angry, which the author calls the Impotent Rage.
The third type involves threatening situations where you feel insulted, embarrassed, or criticized. You respond strongly in such situations and experience shame-based rage.
The last type of danger that acts as a trigger involves situations where you cannot take the feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and insecurity. For instance, wanting your partner to be back, but knowing that he or she loves someone else.
Apart from this, the author talks about triggers that cause rage and how it would feel to be living your life without rage.
This book helps to understand situations that make you angry and what you can do to not let anger overpower you.
“The scariest part of a rage episode, at least for bystanders, is that ragers may appear to lose control over their actions. At worst, ragers can and do kill people while raging. They also destroy precious objects, both their own and others.”
Anger Management Workbook for Women: A 5 Step Guide to Managing Your Emotions and Breaking the Cycle of Anger by Julie Catalano
Are you the kind of woman who feels ashamed of your anger feelings? Are you the woman who suppresses anger to keep your relationships, family, or job in place?
If yes, this book is a must for you. Author Julie Catalano in her anger management workbook offers various tools for women who want to deal with anger differently.
Narrating the anger management stories of various women, she gives you proven tools to manage your anger. She reveals that anger today is not a forbidden issue for women. Likewise, no one asks women to suppress anger to match the feminine beliefs.
However, women still deal with challenges like lack of equality in relationships and workplace respect which feed anger.
Similarly, some women suppress the feeling of anger, leaving the issue unresolved and eventually leading to challenges like migraines, gastric issues, etc.
Julie further reveals that women feel disappointed about their anger behaviors like yelling, crying, screaming, etc.
In addition to this, their anger feelings are mostly fed by hurt, embarrassment, shame, and regret.
Further, contrary to the common belief, women are certainly aware when they are angry and get angry for sound reasons.
In this book, the author talks directly with women giving them motivations, useful tools like self-assessment tools, and strategies to cope with anger.
Making use of the FADE application, she urges women to Feel Better about Managing Anger, Appear Differently to Others, Do Things Differently, and be Empowered When Managing Anger.
“A woman’s decision to make changes about how she manages and expresses her anger often comes after a long and confusing struggle to right the wrongs in her life.”
The Anger Trap is yet another self-help resource that makes to the list of the best anger management books. Dr. Les Carter does an outstanding job of explaining how one you angry and the various ways in which you express anger.
For instance, there are mainly three ways in which we express our anger. We can either be:
- Suppressors – the ones who assimilate and do not show their anger. These people act as if nothing affects them.
- Passive Aggressors – those who turn their backs on people when in the grip of anger and are up for silent revenge.
- Active Aggressors – much like what conventional anger looks like – angry facial expressions, raised voice, violent behavior, etc.
Many think that suppressing anger is not a form of an anger issue. But Carter explains that anger suppression is a kind of mismanaged anger. And mismanaged anger is harmful, for it leads to emotional imbalance.
Anger is a natural response to situations that threaten our survival, beliefs, values, and things that are important to us in life.
Anger is good as it helps to protect ourselves from physical dangers. But, it is dangerous when it becomes uncontrollable. This is because it creates havoc not only for the one who is in its grip. But also for the one who is the target.
Carter further reveals healthy ways in which we can express our anger with assertiveness and kindness. He also gives real-life examples of people who have dealt with anger. This gives you a perspective on how various people have dealt with anger.
“Angry people may appear strong, willful, or certain, but be assured that beneath the veneer are fear and loneliness and insecurity and pain. Especially, there is pain.”
The Anger Workbook is another masterpiece in the list of best anger management books.
The authors Les Carter and Frank Minirth communicate with the readers and cite real-life cases to make readers understand anger issues, how to identify anger, what feeds anger, and ways in which you can manage anger.
The workbook has four parts. Each part provides space for the readers to write down their answers to various anger-related questions posed by the authors.
The book begins with a thirteen-step process for anger management. These thirteen steps make the four different parts of the book.
The first part is about identifying anger. This is where authors define what is anger and various ways to manage anger.
The second is about the fact that anger thrives in various unmet needs. For instance, you expect someone to love you, you feel controlled, your myths that feed anger, and self-inflicted anger.
The third part is how various emotions like pride, fear, loneliness, and feeling of inferiority breeds anger.
Lastly, in the fourth part, the authors provide you with recent insights that help in reducing anger and the treatments that are available to manage anger.
With real-life cases, direct communication with the authors, and simultaneously learning and writing your anger patterns, this book makes a great resource to manage your anger issues.
“As we come to know and understand our anger, its management is far less daunting.”
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