Why Naming Emotions is Important for Managing Anger

I created the Moodz poster for anger management when I realized that my students had trouble articulating what was truly making them angry. They knew that they were angry — a secondary emotion — but they had trouble naming the primary emotion that was the root of their anger. This simple poster is a perfect tool to help students find the cause of their anger.

Anger is a secondary emotion; a person is never just angry. A student feels angry because she is embarrassed, depressed, frustrated, or annoyed. There’s always a root cause. The Moodz poster shows an array of multi-ethnic faces displaying a wide range of emotions, from thrilled and satisfied to distrustful and overwhelmed

moodz poster for anger management

One of the most effective ways to use the Moodz poster is very simple. The first face on the poster is “Angry,” but when I was working with students who’d come to me with behavioral issues, I would cover that face and ask the student to point to the way he was feeling. They could not choose angry, they had to select another emotion. Sometimes, it would be embarrassed—a student felt embarrassed because a classmate humiliated him, so he got angry. A student felt lonely, so she lashed out at a friend.  Very often, the cause of anger was that students were simply feeling overwhelmed by school and life. The exhaustion and anxiety were coming through as anger. Once we’ve identified that primary emotion, we can start to work on the real issues and find ways to solve the problem.

The Moodz poster can be effective even if a student doesn’t have the reading proficiency to read the names of the feelings: They can usually recognize the way they are feeling from the faces alone. Soon there will be a Spanish version available as well for use with ESL students who speak Spanish as a first language. The Moodz poster is a beautifully simple way to get your students to open up and start talking about their real feelings. Knowing how to talk to angry youth and encourage them to shift their thinking is key to success when implementing an anger management program.

You can get a FREE copy of the poster by clicking on any of the links above or purchase a poster-size version for your classroom in the online store. You can also find a black-and-white reproducible copy inside Transforming Anger Into Personal Power: An Anger Management Curriculum for Teens by Susan Gingras Fitzell, also available in the online store.

Anger management for teens

Click HERE for more information on Susan Fitzell’s Anger Management Curriculum for Teens!