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Anger Management Exercise: Draining
  1. Have a small group of people tense their muscles and breath in
  2. They should then stay tense for five seconds
  3. They should not start to relax, starting with the head and moving down to the feet, exhaling as they do so
  4. Repeat from steps 1 - 3 several times
  5. Once they have the knack, have them think of someone at whom they are angry or something that has frustrated them
  6. Have them tense up, thinking of the anger or frustration
  7. As they relax tell them that the anger is draining out of them - that all emotion is leaking out of the tips of their toes and is now in a puddle at their feet
  8. Once they have drained, they should stand aside, out of the puddle and leave the anger behind.
Seemingly ridiculous, this is a remarkably effective technique for both adults and children. Try It!!!
    You may then like to hold a discussion with the group as to
  • When should you drain?
  • How are you likely to feel afterwards?
  • When is it a good thing to step aside from anger or frustration?
This was taken from Annette Glasgow communication exercises.

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An Exercise from The Daily Relaxer

Pencil Drop

Close your eyes and get as comfortable as you can. 

When localized areas of high-pressure air meet low-pressure air they can spawn a whirlwind that sucks up dirt and trash and moves across the landscape spreading disorder and destruction. 

When your high-pressure lifestyle meets a low ebb in your energy level, together they can stir up an emotional whirlwind that makes everything you value—your loved ones, your work, your hopes and dreams—seem like debris swirling around you. Before you take off across your emotional landscape spreading disorder and destruction, take a moment to relax and center yourself.  

When your life seems like a whirlwind, the image of the calm center is important. At the exact center of a whirlwind, there is a spot of perfectly calm air. Tell yourself, “I am the calm center of the whirlwind. I can take a moment to right myself, to return to center. At my core is a calm spot that does not turn with every gust of wind.” Paradoxically, when you take your place as the calm center, the whirlwind slows, the dust settles, and your life seems more orderly and manageable. 

An ordinary pencil can help you find your calm center. This is something you can do at a desk or table, when you’re working on the bills or homework, and you need to return to your calm center quickly and get on with your work.  

Pick up a pencil by the point end. Hold it very lightly between your thumb and fingertip, letting the eraser end hang down a couple of inches above the tabletop. Cradle your head in your other hand and get as comfortable as you can.  

Slow your breathing. 

Tell yourself that when you are sufficiently relaxed, the pencil will slip out of your fingers and drop. That will be your sign to let go completely, to just relax and feel peaceful for two minutes. Imagine you’re at the calm center of a whirlwind. You can hear the cold wind whistling, but right where you are it is calm. The sun is shining and you feel warm and secure. Imagine all your cares and worries receding. The whirlwind expands and slows down. The calm center gets larger and more relaxed. Continue breathing slowly, thinking about calming and relaxing all your tight muscles. If a worry or doubt intrudes, just tell yourself, “That’s okay, I can let that go for now and relax. I’ll just sit here, calm and centered, deeply, deeply relaxed.” After the pencil drops, continue to enjoy your calm center for a couple of minutes. Then return to what you were doing with renewed energy feeling calm, relaxed, and focused. 

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Role Play from The Groupwork Manual

Aim: Exploring How Others Feel

Time: 5 minutes

Materials and preparation: None

Activity: The leader asks the group to form a circle and asks those in the group that have difficulty interacting with each other to step into the centre. A typical situation is then chosen where these people are likely to have difficulties with each other. Very often it could be some kind of confrontation, such as asking someone to stop doing something. This scenario is then enacted in front of the group, with people in the centre of the circle taking on the roles of those with whom they are having difficulty. In this enactment people improvise their new character; for example, if there are two people, they will be playing each other's roles. The group leader should let this go on for as long as is appropriate, while making sure that the actors know that what they are doing is role-playing and not real life.

Variation: Improvise possible solutions. Do they work?

Closure: The leader talks to the actors about how they feel. What was it like being presented with yourself? Were the characterizations realistic? What did the group feel watching it? Ask the actors to shake hands and leave behind the characters they have just played in the circle.

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ANGER taken from Working in Groups

Anger can be extremely disruptive in a group if it is suppressed and diverted. However, it need not be a problem if it is acknowledged and handled skillfully. We generally try to control angry feelings and encourage others to do the same. Anger is a difficult emotion to manage, as we usually neither acknowledge it nor understand it. This desire to bottle up anger can often result in displacement behaviour: instead of expressing their anger, people may:

  • Shout at or get irritable with another person who was not responsible for the anger.
  • Become physically restless-getting up, walking around, tapping their hands or feet.
  • Moan to other people during or after the session.
  • Blame someone else for making them angry.
  • Feel guilty for not being able to cope with their anger.
  • Become excessively charming and polite to those they feel are responsible for their anger.
  • Ignore their anger and frustration and pretend that it never happened.
  • Walk away-physically distance themselves from the people and the situation.

We may feel virtuous because we have bottled up our anger instead of just letting it go. The one thing we have not done in such a situation is to explain assertively why we feel as we do to the group or the individual involved: we do not acknowledge our responsibility for our own anger.

    Anger has two levels:
  1. Top Layer

    This is made up of past and present hurts and frustrations. We feel trapped, and two sorts of feelings result: a need to tear down the walls we feel are hemming us in, and despair because it seems nothing can be done. We tend to swing from one feeling to the other. We want to hurt the person who has hurt us. When we have hurt them by words or actions we feel remorse, guilt and possibly fear. This exchange of aggressive then passive responses does not move us forward; in fact, it damages our self-esteem and our relationship with the other person.

  2. Lower Layer

    Although we sometimes feel consumed by anger, deep down we want to survive our angry feelings and change, so that we can overcome our difficulties. We plot strategies to control ourselves, to relax, to assert ourselves with confidence, and to choose how we respond to the type of situation that tends to make us angry. We believe that we can acknowledge our anger, look at it without blaming ourselves or others, and express it clearly, without allowing it to take over.

    The aggressive response to anger is usually a quick flare-up, an overreaction without waiting to find out more about the situation. We attack before we can be hurt any more. Afterwards we may be agonised by guilt and remorse.

    The passive response may involve moaning. The person claims they don't have the energy to make a fuss any more. They become silent and try to ignore the people they feel have caused their anger. They avoid physical contact of any kind and avoid sharing their thoughts and feelings with others. They withdraw into a world of their own and dwell on their misery. They may attempt to manipulate others, so as to punish those they blame for their anger through second-hand illwill.

    The assertive person acknowledges their anger. They examine their feelings to see if they are caused by the present situation, or linked to previous situations. They decide if their anger is reasonable, or whether there are other reasons for their reaction such as tiredness or tension. If possible they find out more about the other person's thoughts and feelings. Finally, they think out what they will say and explain what has upset them without getting carried away by emotional overtones or blaming the other person. The other person may or may not understand, but they will not feel devalued. The cause of the anger may not be resolved on that particular occasion, but the basis has been formed for further negotiation.

    If it is not possible to reach a state of relaxation at the time, it is better to just breath deeply and, when you have gotton rid of the stored-up tension, come back and explain your feelings clearly.

Dealing with anger

Aim: To explore anger and its effects.

Method: Work with a partner. Draw up a grid like the one on Handout 35.

List five things which make you angry, be specific, then rank them from 1 to 5, using 1 for the one which angers you most. Next to each one write down the main reason why it makes you angry. Finally, write down next to each one what you do when you are angry in such a situation. Include your physical responses as well as what you do and say, discuss your list with your partner. Work with your partner to see if you can think of an alternative assertive response to each situation.

Time: 30 minutes or longer

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Meaning and Purpose taken from
Working with Groups on Spiritual Themes

Participants explore meaning and purpose in life, considering the changes that take place over a lifetime.

Chalk and chalkboard; pens or pencils; selected readings on the topic; Meaning and Purpose worksheet.


1. Distribute the Meaning and Purpose worksheet and advise participants that they will be completing it one section at a time.

    • The worksheet may also be used with individuals, or to encourage additional reflection, it can be given to participants at the conclusion of discussion.

2. Open the discussion by asking participants to complete sections 1 and 2 on the worksheet.

    • While they are working, write the worksheet headings on the chalkboard, leaving plenty of room in each section for notes.

3. As participants share and discuss their responses to the worksheet sections, record their insights on the chalkboard.

4. Ask participants to complete section 3 of the worksheet, reflecting on their awareness of purpose and meaning in life as children, adolescents, young adults, mid-life adults, and older adults. As they discuss their ideas, record them on the chalkboard.

5. Ask participants to complete and then discuss section 4.

6. As time allows select questions from the list below that seem relevant:

  • Is there purpose in life?
  • What is the relationship between meaning and purpose?
  • How have you discovered purpose and meaning in life?
  • Have you helped other people discover their purpose or meaning? Describe that experience.
  • In what ways have you fostered your sense of individual meaning and purpose?
  • What do you believe is God’s purpose for mankind in general? For you as an individual?

7. Ask participants to complete and then discuss section 5.

8. Provide several minutes for silent reflection. Conclude by asking participants to share their thoughts on ways in which they can foster and nurture the ongoing discovery of meaning and purpose.


  • Prior to the session, select one or more readings on life purpose that are meaningful to you and share them with the group as a meditation to close the session.

Meaning and Purpose

1. Write your definition of meaning in life. What is meaningful to you?

2. Write your definition of purpose. What gives your life purpose?

3. Note the purpose you recall at various stages of your life.

  • Childhood


  • Adolescence


  • Young adult


  • Mid-life


  • Later life


4. How do you discover purpose and meaning in your life?
(List key events, discussions, crises, focusing moments.)

5. How can you continue to clarify your meaning and purpose?

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