12 Ways to Manage Anger

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A common issue I deal with in my school counseling program is assisting students with anger management difficulties.  I discuss this issue with all students, Kindergarten through fifth grade.  I know you have all heard different anger management tips and have shared them with your students.  As I prepare for my anger management groups for next year, I wanted to also think about an activity I can do with individuals who are referred to me out of the blue.

I made a puzzle using our schools VariQuest cutout maker which can cut just about any shape you can imagine.  As I was looking through some of the cutout options one afternoon, I came across a puzzle template and cut it out. Since there were twelve puzzle pieces, I decided to put an anger management strategy on each piece.  I didn’t want the puzzle to be difficult, so it is not hard to figure out by any means.  I only want it to be a tool to share with individuals or small groups to spark discussion.


 After we discuss the strategies on each puzzle piece while putting the puzzle together, I will have the student(s) make this anger management flip book foldable.  Once completed, the student(s) will have strategies to refer to that work for them.  The flip book only requires five strategies.  Every tip doesn’t work for everybody, so the students will be able to choose the five strategies they feel will work best for them.

To make this flip book, I took two sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 paper and cut them in half.  I used three of the four halves.  I layered the three sheets.  I picked the sheets up and folded the top half over until I had six flaps. This foldable can be stapled at the top once or twice to keep it together.





I will have the students write a strategy at the bottom of each flap (except for the top flap where they will write the title).  Above each strategy (but under the flap) they will describe and/or illustrate the strategy.  This will depend on what the strategy is.  The “I-Message” strategy would need to have a sample I-message written, while walking away can be illustrated.

I used the book How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger to assist me with most of the tips. However, many of these tips are universal from one anger management book to another.

The 12 anger management strategies are:

  • Count backwards from 10.
  • Take 3 deep breaths.
  • Exercise or play to let off some steam/energy.
  • Find a quiet place.
  • Vent!  Talk to someone!
  • Tell yourself calming statements. (It’s okay.  Keep calm.  Relax.)
  • Lie down and relax.
  • Tense your body- then relax it. (Repeat)
  • Use an I-Message. (I feel angry when you ___.  I want you to ___.)
  • Think peaceful thoughts. (relaxing by the pool, holding your pet, hugging a parent)
  • Walk away.
  • Avoid anger triggers.

What activities do you have on stand-by for that student who comes to you before having time to calm down?

Be sure to check out my Teachers pay Teachers store for an Anger Management Activity Pack which includes a foldable, 8 anger management strategy posters in two styles (total of 16), and an I-Messages Activity for $3.50.  You can also find The Anger Games which includes a BINGO game and cootie catcher for $3.00 and my Calm Down Pack with task cards, activity sheets and a booklet for $4.00.  The Anger Control Files are the newest edition to my anger management activities.


AngerGamesCover  Calm Down Pack - Task cards and activity sheets

The Anger Files

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8 thoughts on “12 Ways to Manage Anger

  1. We usually put on soft music and do our square breathing together. Or we take a walk in our nature center – that works like magic! Then we sing this song that we actually wrote while helping a student calm down a few years back, set to the tune of the Adams’ Family:

    When I get mad (snap, snap), When I get mad (snap, snap)
    Here’s what I do, to get me through, when I get mad (snap, snap):
    I practice my square breathing, I slowly count from one to ten.
    I talk it out or exercise, til I am glad again.

    My students LOVE this snappy song and it usually works to de-escalate enough to get them to open up about the trigger or antecedent.

    AWESOME post!!
    The Corner On Character

  2. Pingback: 50 Activities and Games Dealing With Anger | Kim's Counseling Corner

  3. Pingback: 50 Activities and Games Dealing With Anger | Kim's Counseling Corner

  4. So glad I found this particular post, and your blog in general. Thanks for the help. I’ll be back! I’ve got to see your “anger games” and lunch bunch posts.

  5. I’m glad I found this – I’m a mom who has had a rude awakening with my 4th grade boy this year, my usually calm, cool and collected kid has had various issues and I don’t feel the school has done a good job of finding out why there is a problem suddenly when none existed in the past, and has pretty much made him feel overly stressed like what is he going to do wrong next and his constant feeling on edge I think makes the problem worse. I’m going to go over these 12 strategies with him… if you can give me any other advice I’d love to hear. Thank you!

    • I really hope the strategies will help your son. If he’s a child who buys in and wants to really use them to make a change, I believe he can be successful. Are the issues usually with other students?

      • Yes. The first incident was with someone who bullied him for years and ended in a 2-day out of school suspension… the kid was saying all kinds of horrible things and he’d had enough and frankly, stood up for himself.

        But recently he was whacked in the head by a “friend’ and he whacked back. Luckily for him it was a teacher extremely fond of him who saw the action and disciplined both kids without going to the principal and vice principal of the school (how I think it almost should be?) and he lost several recesses (my preferences and sadly, he probably got more out of that being a 4th grader than having 2 free days with no school – I don’t think elementary kids get the severity, they just see wow- 2 days off).

        I keep trying to instill that if he is getting that frustrated he needs to put his hands in his pockets because you look really funny trying to swat someone from there. I’ve also told him to just go to a teacher and ask very nicely, I need to cool down and even added since then, I need to calm down and I need to talk to my mom – as he has always been comfortable speaking with me. These have been isolated instances but I see him clench his fists at home sometimes and am trying to find ways that he can calm himself down when I’m not there to help.

        Thank you!

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