Cycle of Anger worksheet

What is the theory behind the worksheet?

The following worksheet is based on a CBT approach. This solution-oriented approach argues in order to deal with a wide range of psychological problems, we must identify our negative and irrational thoughts and feelings, challenge them and replace them with rational and healthy ones (Henwood et al., 2015).

How will the worksheet help

This worksheet will help clients familiarize themselves with the CBT model of anger, which explains how anger appears from irrational thoughts, feeding off of them and leading to a hard-to-break cycle of frustration.

How to use the worksheet

The following worksheet is meant to explain how anger can be triggered and escalate until a cycle of growing frustration is reached.

Cycle of Anger worksheet

Use this diagram to better understand how your anger appears, in order to break the cycle. By following the example shown below, think of several situations when you felt anger and try to identify what event triggered it and what emotional, physical and behavioral consequences they had on you.

Triggering Event                                                                                                        

An event or situation that “triggers” a person’s anger. For example:

–   Feeling disrespected

–   Having a bad day at work

–   Being left on read by your significant other

Negative Thoughts                                                                                                     

Irrational and negative thoughts occur as a result of the triggering event. For example:

–   “I am the worst boyfriend ever”

–   “My boss doesn’t care about anyone but himself”

–   “I am always disrespected like this no matter what I do”

Emotional Thoughts                                                                                                  

Negative thoughts lead to negative emotions, even if the thoughts are irrational. For example:

–   feeling shame and guilt due to “always being disrespected no matter what I do”

–   rage directed toward your boss

Physical symptoms                                                                                                     

The body automatically responds to anger in the form of different symptoms. For example:

–   racing heart

–   sweating

–   clenching fists

–   headaches

–   fast breathing

Behavioral Response                                                                                                            

The person reacts based upon thoughts, feelings and physical symptoms:

–   fighting/punching

–   yelling

–   arguing

–   criticizing


Henwood, K. S., Chou, S., & Browne, K. D. (2015). A systematic review and meta-analysis on the effectiveness of CBT informed anger management. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 25, 280–292.

You can download this worksheet here.

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