skip to Main Content

Program Summary

RELAX is a community-based program. The group format provides participants with opportunities to share their feelings and allows for social interaction and getting to know one another. RELAX: Alternatives to Anger is designed to actively engage adult learners in a group setting to increase knowledge and skills around anger management and provide constructive ways to deal with anger. Aspects of achieving social-emotional health are woven throughout the training and include expressing emotions, navigating stress, resolving interpersonal conflict, taking another’s perspective, feeling capable and whole, and building skills for forming and maintaining satisfying, healthful, and supportive relationships.

Program Benefits

  • The RELAX format is based on adult learning principles. The curriculum uses a combination of the following teaching strategies to ensure the greatest impact: visuals, lectures, problem-based learning, case studies, educational games, role-playing, and discussion (Ota, DiCarlo, Burts, Laird, & Gioe, 2006). Each lesson includes at least three of these techniques to engage the adult participants.
  • The core concepts of RELAX: Alternatives to Anger are as follows:
  • R = Recognize your anger signals.
  • E = Empathize by seeing the other person’s point of view.
  • L = Listen and really hear what the person is saying.
  • A = Accept that the other person’s anger is not about you.
  • X = X out the past, and keep it in the present.
  • Lesson 1: What is anger? Objectives: Participant will be able to define anger. Participants will be able to recognize and name their own anger signals. Participants will explore ways people use anger constructively and destructively.
  • Lesson 2: Relax, calm down, and de-stress. Objectives: Adults will be aware of the effects of anger and stress on the brain. Adults will demonstrate ways to calm down and de-stress when angry.
  • Lesson 3: The Four Principles of Problem Solving. Objectives: Adults will be able to name the four principles of problem-solving. Adults will demonstrate positive communication skills.
  • –Lesson 4: Forgiving and Letting Go of the Past. Objectives: To explore resources that will aid in forgiving others. To acquire skills to put the knowledge of the RELAX method into play.

Target Audience

Adults, The target audience for RELAX is adults 18 years and older. Parents and caregivers of children remain a targeted primary audience. Some participants are mandated or highly encouraged to attend the course as a result of court contact either from domestic violence or assault charges. RELAX is promoted through websites, workplace wellness initiatives, child-care provider networks, courts, and human service agencies.

Program Length

RELAX: Alternatives to Anger program sessions are 60–120 min in length per class for 4 weeks and work well in group settings from small groups (8-10 people) to large groups (20-30 people).

Program Cost

Train the Trainer available. $100 cost. After attending this one-day workshop, participants will be able to facilitate MSU Extension’s RELAX: Alternatives to Anger curriculum. This research-based program is designed to be used with adults ages 18 and older. Train the Trainer workshop participants receive a CD with curriculum materials, supporting activity ideas, and an evaluation tool. The RELAX: Alternatives to Anger Curriculum CD and participant handbook are available for purchase in the MSU Extension bookstore. Sample RELAX: Alternatives to Anger handouts are also available to download.

Equipment Needed

Needed equipment can be found at this site.

Want to Know More?

The RELAX: Alternatives to Anger series is also available online at this site.


If you are interested in learning more about the program, please contact Holly B. Tiret, Michigan State University, at


Back To Top