How To Overcome Anger and Manage Frustrations


  • Author Larry Iverson
  • Published September 15, 2010
  • Word count 1,237

There are six steps to getting angry, no matter whether it's a light anger or heavy rage.

The University of London about 20 years ago, did a study on frustration. They were trying to find out how many frustrations the average person experiences in a day. They concluded that the average person has about 20 frustrations a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. About 20 frustrations a day, from little ones up to giant ones.

Here's an example of a small frustration could be. Let's say your favorite thing to eat in the morning is Cheerios. And you get up one morning to have breakfast and somebody already ate all the Cheerios. Okay you get over that and decide, "Okay, I'm going to have a cup of coffee or tea," and you go to the refrigerator to get some milk and all the milk is gone. Then you need to get your newspaper off the front step and find that your next door neighbor's dog just ate your newspaper again for the seven hundred and second time. You go to get in your car to go to work and you have a flat tire. You haven't even left the house and you already had four frustrations.

Frustration is the first step to getting angry. Anger is a secondary emotion, the primary emotion is frustration. Frustration is wanting something and not getting it. "I want this thing to happen and I'm not getting what I want." I want to experience a certain opportunity or thing happen in my life and it's not. So frustration is wanting something, and not getting it. This doesn't create anger, it's just one step.

The second step is, "I want my way but something is stopping or blocking me, on purpose or on accident, from getting this thing I desire." I want to have my work go in a certain way, it's not going that way and there's somebody there who's not doing their job, and so they're in my way of getting what I want. Again, this second step only creates frustration. It is only when you move to the third step in the six steps that anger occurs.

The third step of the six steps to anger is a demand. "I must have my way!" "They must do what I want the way I want!" "I've got to have this thing happen now! It's got to happen!" Whatever it is that you are demanding must happen, whether it's a child doing what you want, a boss doing it your way, your coworkers doing a certain thing, traffic to moving at the speed you desire, you are demanding that go the way you want! You go from simply wanting something to happen, I want my way, I'm not getting it and something is blocking me, into a demand where you must get your way.

Once you hit step three, going from three to six can happen in a split-second, it could take longer, but it can happen really fast. So, I want my way is number three, then comes number four which is blaming or finger pointing, "You, they, it, the situation, something is the problem, and you are bad because you aren't doing it my way or giving me what I want!" that's step four. Step five is, "You deserve to be punished! Number six, "I'm going to punish you!"

Again, wanting your way is okay but demanding in step three, that you've got to have your way. Step four that they are bad or wrong for not giving you your way. And steps five and six they deserve punishment and you will punish them, is way out of line.

While doing training for the Boeing Corporation, I had the participants doing a process for dealing with anger. A senior manager in the group said, "You know, I can't understand that. I don't really go along with this anger steps thing."

I said, "What's the problem?" She replied, "Well, I can see maybe there are six steps to getting angry, but I get angry all the time and I never punish any one."

"Oh, really," I said, "Well, tell me, what are some of the things that make you angry?

She said, "Well, I get angry at my boss because she gives me too much work. It really makes me crazy. I get angry with my employees because they're lazy. I get angry with my children because they don't do what I want when I tell them to do something. I get angry with my husband because he doesn't listen to me. I get angry at traffic because it makes me late." She said, "I get angry a lot but I never punish anybody."

I said, "Well, what do you do?" She paused a moment, folded her arms, and got a thoughtful look on her face. She frowned and said, "Normally, I don't talk to them. I ignore them or give a disapproving look."

I didn't say a word. I just waited. In a moment she said, "Hmm, I guess I'm giving them the silent treatment, aren't I? And, I guess that is a punishment isn't it"

There're lots of ways of punishing besides hitting someone. You can give the silent treatment, you can frustrate them, you can not do what you said you were going to do, you could spank them I suppose. There are many different ways of punishing.

So anger is a six-step process, if you want to get past anger, you have to stop the process at frustration. It's okay to want what you want, but you have to quit that negative self-talk pattern of "I've got to have X, You're bad, and I'm going to punish you." The moment you start to make the demand that you've got to have your way and then blaming them, you become the problem. You become part of what's wrong in the system.

Anger is normal. Everybody gets angry sometimes, but you don't want to live there. How do you do that? When you find your frustration ramping up, when you really want something to happen and it's not going the way you want, right then and there you need to become more solution focused instead of problem focused. Right at that moment, you break into the pattern. Maybe there's something you can do about the situation. If there is, take action. If there's not, then you need to get over it right then and become solution focused. Move on. It is your choice!

You have to control that negative self-talk, get a little more brain power here so that you can transform the way you're dealing with things. You need to move forward in the way that's good for you. You need to take care of you and getting angry is not to your benefit. It throws you off your game, it slows you down from where you want to go.

You need to manage these six steps to anger, Break the pattern off at frustration, so that your positive attitude, your positive focus can move you forward in a way that's good for you.

Focus on what you can do something about. Let go the stuff you can't because frustration is normal but anger is a choice. Get over it. Make today and every day great day. And keep it free from anger.

The Best of Success to You.

Dr Larry Iverson is a Clinical Psychologist, author, speaker and coach. He recently released a 20 video series covering how to build an unstoppable success mindset. To get your free set of 20 videos go to Would you like to improve your health, money, happiness, career, relationships? These videos show you exactly how to rapidly eliminate negative patterns, so you feel great and achieve the results you want!

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