8 Anger Management Group Activities for Adults

Updated June 23, 2022
Happy woman attending a group therapy

Anger management activities for groups help people understand what makes them angry, how to cope with their feelings, and find positive ways of releasing them. They can also teach people how to deal with their frustration, irritation, and anger before they build up stress, create conflicts in relationships, or find themselves in difficult situations.

According to studies, almost 8% of the U.S. population struggles with emotional regulation when it comes to feelings of anger, with the emotion often being felt intensely as well as being expressed inappropriately. Many people struggle with managing their anger, and seeking out coping strategies through anger management groups is a great way of helping people find more positive outlets and better understand their emotions. There are a number of anger management activities for adults that may have a positive impact on emotion regulation.

Activities for Groups

People often struggle with their feelings of anger. There are several anger management group activities to help people regulate and cope with their emotions. To find the best activity for you and your group, take a look at what resources you have available and explore the different interests and personalities of people in the group.

Role-Playing

Man and woman talking

Role-playing various situations teaches members valuable anger management skills, such as how to practice communicating with others and understanding another's perspective. Observers will see how to handle an anger-provoking situation while role players will learn how to control their emotions. The idea is to learn anger management techniques through a simulated example.

Steps:

  1. Divide the group into observers and actors. Usually, only two actors are necessary, but if you have a larger group or want to act out a more complex, or a potentially real-life situation that someone wants to explore, use more than two people.
  2. The actors will put on a skit, which can be based on a reenactment of a real-life situation that made one of the group members angry when it occurred.
  3. Actors should be briefed on the skit and their lines. The lines don't have to be memorized; the main thing is to have an idea of what to say or how to respond.
  4. One actor should play the persecutor. His or her role is to say or do things that could trigger anger in the other actor.
  5. The other actor should play the victim. His or her role is to respond to the other person, while at the same time noticing how they feel when they feel attacked, accused, demeaned, or misunderstood by the other person.
  6. Observers should make notes as they watch the skit.

After the skit is over, the observers can share their notes with the group while the actors can share their feelings about what they experienced. The group should then come to a conclusion about how the situation could have been handled better and make some generalizations about how similar situations can be handled in the future.

Brainstorming Solutions With a Group

Brainstorming is a conceptual tool that is used therapeutically to help people solve a problem as a group, increase empathy, and help people understand how everyone responds differently. When used in a group for anger management, it offers people a new perspective on situations, perceptions, and possible responses. Everyone in the brainstorming group will gain new insights from hearing how other people would respond, think about, and feel towards a particular situation.

Steps:

  1. A group member should ask the group a question about anger management. This question should state a real problem they are having with anger management, and allow space for others to present a possible solution.
  2. The group should decide on how to come up with a solution by trying to better understand the question, as well as the experience of the group member that posed it . What is the goal the question is hoping to achieve?
  3. Each member should list at least ten possible answers within a selected time-frame, say 10 to 15 minutes. This is better than everyone simply shouting out an answer as it occurs to them and will allow more people to come up with original ideas.
  4. After the time limit, everyone should read their answers aloud.
  5. The group can now select the answers they think are the best and debate their value.
  6. A decision should be made on the best answer or the best collection of answers that can be applied to solve the problem.

Taking a Field Trip

Field trips give people a chance to visit places where they can experience the things they have been studying and apply what they have learned. By taking a field trip, an anger management group would be able to practice social skills, which can help them better manage their emotions as well as work on communicating with others. Being out in the real world would also allow group members to encounter potential conflicts that may spark feelings of anger, and give them the opportunity to practice their coping skills as a group and create a sense of communal support.

This does not have to be an elaborate outting. It can be a simple trip to get ice cream, a visit to the movie theater, a walk in the park, or even just a trip to the grocery store. There are potential conflicts all around us that will give people in the group a chance to practice their skills in real life and have the support of other group members and the leader there with them.

Steps:

  1. Determine the purpose of a field trip. How will it provide an educational experience for the group? What will they learn about anger management?
  2. Select a place that accepts field trips. Also, figure out dates and transportation details.
  3. Create a description of the field trip and ask how many members are interested in going. If there is not enough interest, then determine the reason. It could be the place or the cost or the times chosen. If these objections cannot be properly addressed, then a new field trip should be proposed. (Repeat steps one through three again.)
  4. If enough members of the group are interested in going on a particular field trip, contact those in charge of the facility or organization that you are interested in visiting to arrange the details.
  5. Ask members to formally sign up for the trip. It's important to get a high enough level of commitment to make the trip work.

Invite a Speaker to the Group

Bringing in outside speakers to discuss therapeutic topics, such as licensed professionals, authors, or those who have overcome difficulties in anger management and beyond can be beneficial. Guest speakers can introduce new ideas and act as role models for change. Be aware that some guest speakers have fees for their services, so you may want to plan that into your group's budget if hearing a speaker is something that the group is interested in.

Steps:

  1. Discuss with the group who they would be interested in inviting. Also, discuss why they believe the chosen speaker would benefit them.
  2. Make a long list of suggested speakers.
  3. Contact the people on your list until you find someone interested in talking to your group.
  4. Arrange a time and place that works for everyone and ask for volunteers to set up the event.
  5. Prepare a formal introduction for the speaker, as well as some way of thanking them for their talk after it's over.
  6. Encourage group participants to ask questions at the end of the speaker's presentation.
  7. Discuss lessons learned from the group speaker in the next group session.

Anger Management Games

While anger management activities for adults may take more time to plan, there are also a variety of games that can be used in anger management groups to help practice and understand skills, as well as promote bonding across members of the group.

Group Sports

Female soccer players celebrating victory

Research shows that exercise is a great way of promoting emotional regulation, as well as fostering strong bonds between individuals. This means that by engaging in group sports, members of an anger management group can have fun, practice their social skills, and learn to cope with their emotions all at the same time. The sports your group is able to engage in may depend on the number of people you have in your group, as well as whether you have access to outdoor/indoor playing areas. Some group sports to try are:

  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Darts
  • Balloon volleyball
  • Softball
  • Dodgeball
  • Pool

"I Statements" Showdown

Using 'I statements', such as " I understand that that's how you feel" has been shown to be an effective strategy when having a discussion surrounding conflict. This strategy can be turned into a fun game for adults by encouraging everyone at the meeting to speak only using I statements, and eliminating members along the way that don't use them when speaking until there is one winner.

Steps:

  1. At the start of the meeting, announce that everyone is going to play a game to practice speaking in I statements where everyone can only speak if they start their sentences with 'I'.
  2. Make sure that you make the announcement with an I statement in order to make sure you are abiding by your own rules, such as "I wanted to play a game today where everyone can only speak in I statements."
  3. Let the group know that there will be a prize at the end of the day for those that are able to use I statements throughout the session and that those who forget to speak un=sing I statements will be eliminated from the contest, but are still able to participate throughout the session.
  4. Hold session as normal and note people who have talked without using an I statement. At the end of the session, reward the winners.

Charades

Charades is a word-guessing game where people must get a group/partner to guess a certain word by only acting it out. For an anger-management group, the game can include words surrounding their therapy practices and techniques in order to help raise awareness about anger issues, and also create a playful environment. in addition, by having members of the group act out anger management strategies or vocabulary words, it can also promote a greater sense of understanding as all members of the group are able to check their understanding of a concept through being able to identify it.

Steps:

  1. Cut strips of paper and write a different word on each one. Only use words related to anger management or therapy.
  2. Place the pieces into a covered paper bag.
  3. Ask the first player to pick a paper strip without looking into the bag.
  4. The player should make gestures to give clues about the word.
  5. The audience will start to guess.
  6. Let the audience know if they are getting warmer or colder through mime. Finally, let them know when they get the name right.

Quiz Night

Designating group sessions as a 'quiz night' once in a while is a good way of designing fun anger management activities for adults. Planning for and conducting quiz night games can also help create a stronger bond in your group.

Steps:

  1. The group should be divided into those who will ask questions, keep score and otherwise run the event, and those who will participate as contestants.
  2. Determine how many questions are needed, and have the members who will write the questions keep them related to anger management topics, such as ways to solve anger-related problems.
  3. Break contestants into two teams who will then compete with each other. If there are a large number of contestants, you can even create elimination rounds to select the best team to compete in a final round.
  4. Issue a prize to the winning group.

Creating Fun and Engaging Anger Management Group Activities

There are several fun and engaging anger management group activities for adults to get involved in and bring into their specific groups. It may take longer to plan certain activities, such as finding a speaker to come and present, but there are also several time-efficient and cost-effective ways to shake up your anger management group. Every social event, field trip, an interaction with another person gives someone struggling with controlling their emotions the opportunity to practice their coping strategies and allows them to take what they have learned and apply it in a real-world setting. Mixing activities with games can help create both big and small events for group members to learn new skills and polish the ones they have already picked up.

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