Anger is one of the four primary emotions and has a very good purpose of alerting us to our boundaries being crossed by others. It serves us well when it's expressed in a healthy way. However, when anger becomes screaming, ranting, raving, or becoming physical with another person, you may have a problem. People who struggle with anger management issues usually know who they are as they have suffered the consequences internally and from others reactions time and time again. Clearly, anger can be very damaging. So what do you do if you realize you might have an anger problem? What are some steps you can take right away to start to decrease the damage you have been doing to yourself and others?

Here are 3 initial steps you can take to try to get control of problematic anger:

1) Identify what triggers your anger: People usually have specific triggers to their anger - subjects, feelings or ways they're perceiving an event. Start to get serious about identifying what your triggers are.

2) Notice your physical cues: Problematic anger can be similar to a fight-or-flight response. People have different physicial cues to rising anger for example, rapid heart beat, headache, clenching fists...What are physical cues to your anger?

3) Use a Self Imposed Time-Out if Needed: The idea is to avoid the big blow-up and further the damage to yourself (guilt, shame) and others (fear, physical harm). If you know what your triggers and physical cues are to your problematic anger you can practice removing yourself from the situation to calm yourself down and regroup. If you are with your partner when this happens, let him/her know you are taking a "time-out" and will be back in a certain amount of time. This is done so your partner doesn't feel abandoned in that moment.

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Brookes Kift is an Individual and Relationship Therapist in San Diego, California. She's written numerous mental health and relationship articles, tips and tools which can be seen on her website at