You may think that external factors—the actions of other people, for example, or frustrating situations—are causing your anger

But, anger problems have less to do with what happens to you than how you interpret and think about what happened.


Common negative thinking patterns that trigger and fuel anger may include:

  • For example, “You ALWAYS interrupt me. You NEVER consider my needs. EVERYONE disrespects me. I NEVER get the credit I deserve.”
  • Obsessing over “shoulds” and “musts.” Having a rigid view of the way a situation should or must go and getting angry when reality doesn’t line up with this vision.
  • Mind reading and jumping to conclusions. Assuming you “know” what someone else is thinking or feeling—that they intentionally upset you, ignored your wishes, or disrespected you.


Common negative thinking patterns might also include:

  • Picking an argument or looking for things to get upset about, usually while overlooking or blowing past anything positive. Letting these small irritations build and build until you reach the “final straw” and explode, often over something relatively minor.
  • When anything bad happens or something goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault. You tell yourself: “life’s not fair,” or blame others for your problems rather than taking responsibility for your own life.

Where to go from here?

You could use your strategy wheel to identify new ways to deal with your feelings.

You could use some of the questions below as part of your strategy wheel. 

  • How important is it in the grand scheme of things?
  • Is it really worth getting angry about it?
  • Is it worth ruining the rest of my day?
  • Is my response appropriate to the situation?
  • Is there anything I can do about it?
  • Is taking action worth my time?