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  • Developing Self-Awareness and Self-Management Module 2 Page 39Copyright 2009 School-Connect


    Negative attributions about others can trigger and escalate anger.

    Anger may mask underlying emotions such as fear, jealousy,and sadness.

    Strategies for managing anger and other stressful emotionsinclude positive self-talk, disputing negative attributions,envisioning calm scenes, slow breathing, and counting.

    What escalates anger?

    What emotions does anger often cover up?

    How can we manage anger and other stressful emotions?

    Students will be able to

    Recognize signs of anger and other stressful emotions withinthemselves.

    Dispute their negative attributions about others.

    Defuse anger and other stressful emotions through positiveself-talk, or by disputing negative attributions, envisioning calmscenes, slow breathing, and counting.

    Escalation of anger, emotional hijacking, negative attribution, negativeattributional bias, underlying emotions, residual anger, positive self-talk,dispute, envision

    This lesson addresses how to manage anger and other stressful emotions.Students gain an overview of the anger cycle, including what promptsand escalates anger. Through a take-a-stand exercise, they explorewhether anger gives them personal power. They apply their newknowledge about anger by completing a handout for homework. On thesecond day, the class discusses the handout and practices techniques fordefusing anger and other stressful emotions.

    Anger is fickle. It has its good points (Where would we be if people had notbeen angered over slavery?) and its bad points (How many lives would havebeen saved if people had remained calm?). Anger masks other emotionssuch as jealousy, hurt, and fearand deludes some of us into thinkingthat it gives us personal power. The negatives may outweigh thepositives, but anger is here to stay as one of our basic emotions.Although heredity and environment play a part in our tendency tobecome angry, whether we feed it or work to defuse it is largely up to us.

    Lesson 2.4 Managing Anger (2 Days)


    Lesson Synopsis


    Key Terms

    Essential Questions


  • Page 40 Module 2 Developing Self-Awareness and Self-Management

    LESSON 2.4 Managing Anger

    Being able to manage anger and other stressful emotions requires someknowledge of how anger arises and escalates, especially the role of ourthought processes. For example, do we tend to attribute negative intentand characteristics to others? This kind of negative self-talk serves to fanthe flames. To manage anger and other stressful emotions, we needtechniques for mitigating our negative feelings and thinking rationally.

    Model management of emotions and relaxation responses inthe classroom.

    When students lose control of their emotions, walk themthrough deep-breathing exercises and other anger-managementtechniques.

    Help students identify underlying feelings and ways in whichthey might address them.

    In helping students identify the source of their feelings, askwhat prompted their feelings, rather than what made them feelthat way.

    Lead envisioning exercises prior to stressful activities such astests, public-speaking engagements, and competitions.

    Assess your teaching style as to whether it unduly increases thestress load on students.

    Refrain from encouraging excessive academic competition, andfrom comparing one student to another or publicly humiliatingstudents in any way.

    Write essential questions on the board.

    Copy Handouts 2.4.1, 2.4.2, 2.4.3, 2.4.4, 2.4.5, and 2.4.6.

    Slaby, R.G., & Guerra, N.G. (1988). Cognitive mediators of aggressionin adolescent offenders: 1. Assessment. Developmental Psychology, 24,580588.

    Guerra, N.G., & Slaby, R.G. (1990). Cognitive mediators of aggressionin adolescent offenders: 2. Intervention. Developmental Psychology,26, 269277.

    Dr. Slaby and Dr. Guerra are well-known researchers in the field of youth-violenceprevention. These companion articles underline the connection between automaticthoughts and aggression in teens.

    Teaching Tips



    Copyright 2009 School-Connect

  • Developing Self-Awareness and Self-Management Module 2 Page 41

    Spotter Check-in(5 minutes)

    Have students check in with their spotter.

    [Have students discuss their automatic thought logs with their spotter.Afterwards, ask for a few sample entries.]

    Introduce lesson theme and essential questions.

    Today we are going to talk about automatic thoughts that cause us tofeel anger and other stressful emotions. The essential questions are

    What escalates anger?

    What emotions does anger often cover up?

    How can we manage anger and other stressful emotions?

    Pass out Handout 2.4.1: How We Know We Are Angry.

    First, lets review what we know about anger, possibly the most stressfulof our emotions. Fill out this handout as we talk.

    What cues let us know that we are angry? (Feel hot, handsfeel sweaty, muscles are tense, head or stomach hurts, heart rateand breathing speed up, use of negative self-talk.) [Liststudents answers on the board.]

    What types of events prompt your anger? (Someone putsyou down, you feel that you are being treated unfairly,someone attacks you physically or verbally.)

    Is it the event that prompts your anger, or the way you thinkabout the event? (Anger is an automatic response, but it is ourthoughts that determine whether we escalate anger or defuse it.)

    Notice that I say prompts your anger, rather than makes you angry.

    Why do you think I use the word prompt instead ofmake? (Use of the word make implies that we have no choicein how we respond. While our feeling of anger may be automatic,we choose whether to escalate, sustain, or defuse our anger.)

    Discuss Handout 2.4.2: Escalation of Anger.

    Lets look at the thinking patterns that lead to the escalation of angerand can get us into trouble.

    [Ask a student to read aloud, starting from the bottom of the thermometershowing that Megans feelings go from cool to hot. Ask students to answerthe questions.]

    What initially prompted Megan to feel angry? (Donnasstatement about Megan being retro)

    What do you think Donna meant by retro? (She couldhave been either complimentary or cutting in saying it; itdepends on the way she said it.)

    Managing Anger LESSON 2.4

    Review of Signs of Anger(5 minutes)

    Pass out Handout 2.4.1: How We Know We Are Angry.

    Discussion: Escalation of Anger(10 minutes)

    Pass out Handout 2.4.2:Escalation of Anger.

    escalation of anger:intensification of anger throughnegative thoughts and aggressivebehavior


    Copyright 2009 School-Connect

  • Page 42 Module 2 Developing Self-Awareness and Self-Management

    LESSON 2.4 Managing Anger

    Attributions Survey & Discussion(15 minutes)

    Pass out Handout 2.4.3:Attributions Survey.

    What thoughts then escalated Megans anger (i.e., fannedthe flames)? (#4 and #5 on the handout)

    What behaviors escalated her anger? (Slamming the locker,storming down the hall, bumping into people)

    What does it mean to see red? (Seeing red is emotionalhijacking. We lose the ability to reason, we act out of control,and/or we become unaware of what is going on around us. This is when the Limbic System, the Emotional Me,takes over and doesnt work with the Frontal Lobe, theRational Me.)

    Can any of you share a time when your anger escalatedbecause of what you thought? Because of your physicalactions? What were the consequences? (Explore short-termand long-term consequences.)

    Have students complete Handout 2.4.3: Attributions Survey.

    Lets look at some situations that might prompt us to feel anger. On the handout, circle the statement that is most likely true in each situation.

    Introduce negative attributions and identify neutralresponses.

    [Ask students for their responses and the reasons why they chose them.Use active listening in response to their sharing, but dont counter whatthey say.]

    Some of the statements for each situation involve making a negative attribution, which means attributing (attaching) a negative characteristic to someone or assuming that someone has negative intentions.

    [Refer to Megans thought statement from the previous handout, She thinks shes better than me, as an example.]

    What are some examples of negative attributions onHandout 2.4.3?

    In each situation there is one neutral response, that is, a response thatdoes not show negative attribution.

    Which statement in each situation is neutral? (NEUTRALRESPONSES: 1c, 2a, 3b, 4c, 5d, 6b, 7c.)

    Give yourself a point for each neutral response you circled on the survey.If you have a high score (57), then you probably dont get into manyconflicts. If you have a low score (14), then you may experience moreconflict with others.

    Copyright 2009 School-Connect

    negative attribution:attributing (attaching) a negativecharacteristic to someone orassuming that the person hasnegative intentions

    emotional hijacking: whenexplosive emotions shut off ourcapacity to think rationally

  • Developing Self-Awareness and Self-Management Module 2 Page 43

    Take a Stand: DoesAnger Increase YourPersonal Power?(10 minutes)

    Making negative attributions can lead to aggressive behavior. Whenpeople consistently make negative attributions, we say that they have anegative attributional bias. This means they have a tendency toassume the worst about other peoples intentions and actions rather thanask them what they are thinking.

    Take a moment to th