by Amy Johnson
Do you see red when your morning train is delayed? Do you feel your temper flaring when you have a hard day at work? Anger is a normal and healthy emotion, but it can often flare and cause issues in your life.
Check out 20 ways to help deal with your temper when it flares.
1. Take a timeout.
If you feel your temper slowly rising, remove yourself from the situation completely. Take a deep breath and count slowly to 10. This method often calms people down and stops them from reacting in an irrational manner, so you can solve your problems rather than continuing to fight.
2. Don’t carry your temper.
Often people become frustrated by one thing and end up carrying the anger around with them, long after the actual reason has passed. If you dislike your job, go to the gym or to the library before you go home from work. Take a little bit of time to let the anger pass so that the rest of your day isn’t clouded by it.
3. Keep a journal.
Try keeping a journal of your moods over a two week period. Look out for times you have become aggravated, and times you have remained calm. Write down what happened to trigger your temper, how you dealt with your anger, and how people reacted.
4. Practice relaxation techniques.
When you become angry, try visualizing a place where you feel happy and calm. Take deep breaths, and repeat a word or phrase in your mind as you envision the place. Continue repeating the phrase and visualizing the place until you feel like you have control over your anger.
5. Take a walk.
Exercise in itself can be a great stress reliever, as your body releases endorphins as you walk. Remove yourself from the situation that has aggravated you, take a walk and get the chance to clear your mind and gain new perspectives. When you feel ready to deal with the situation, walk back with a clear head.
6. Take a class you enjoy.
Try joining a class where you will have the opportunity to vent and express your anger through a different method. Dance, running, and Zumba classes are all great ways to let go of tension in a relaxed and happy environment.
7. Change your mindset.
Sometimes people can make a stressful conversation even more stressful by having a negative outlook. Sometimes you have every right to be annoyed, but always try looking at the issue through another perspective. Often pessimistic thoughts can make everything seem worse than it is; try asking yourself if you are being a pessimist, an optimist or a realist.
8. Think of a funny memory.
If you have had a long, stressful day, anything from the commute home to burning dinner can leave you feeling angry. When you feel your temper rising over something small, think of a funny memory you have with your family or friends. Remind yourself that this is temporary, and it won’t matter in a few hours.
9. Discuss how you feel.
If your temper mostly flares with the same person, try speaking to them differently to help make your point. If your partner doesn’t tidy the house, say, “I am upset I have to tidy every evening” rather than, “You never do any tidying.” Discuss your feelings, rather than putting down the other person, and it is likely they will stop aggravating you and will instead try to help.
10. Don’t hold grudges.
Don’t waste your time feeling angry about events which are over and unchangeable. It will make your life harder on a day-to-day basis, but it is likely the people you feel angry at don’t even think about the issue. Shrug off old arguments and focus on making yourself happy.
11. Listen to music during stressful times.
If you hate the commute to work, bring along an MP3 and listen to your favorite album until you arrive. If you hate working out, download an upbeat album to listen to as you exercise.
If you have troubles with your temper, doing tasks you hate can rile you up and leave you carrying the anger around with you all day. Listening to music while you do unpleasant tasks can help reduce and prevent any feelings of anger.
12. Identify a solution.
If you tend to get angry about the same things over and over again, work on them specifically. If you hate how messy your teenager’s room is, shut their door. If your partner never texts you back, ring them when you need to speak to them. Try to remind yourself that anger isn’t a solution.
13. Know your triggers.
If taking about the environment or politics raises your temper, politely excuse yourself from the conversation while people discuss such matters. If you dislike busy places, do all of your shopping during the quietest times. If certain things aggravate you, avoid them or cut them out completely for a calmer life.
14. Set alarms for during the day.
If your temper often flares while you are at work, set a couple of alarms on your phone throughout the day. When the alarm goes off, take a minute to yourself. During this time think about how you are feeling, and why you feel this way. If you feel any negative emotions, address them so you don’t have to spend any more time thinking about it. After a minute, regroup and continue with your work.
15. Use calming scents.
If you have a place or a room where you often feel calm and relaxed, buy a scent you love for the room, such as lavender. When you are in the room, you will associate the smell with feeling calm and content. If you carry a scented cloth with you as well, you can use it later in stressful situations to help you feel calm and relaxed.
When your temper has flared, the last thing most people want to do is smile. However, smiling lowers your body’s stress response, while quelling feelings of anger.
17. Stretch in the morning.
In the morning, most people tend to wake up, hit the alarm and jump in the shower. However, if you have a short temper and you’re “not a morning person,” try stretching when you first wake up. This gives you a few minutes to yourself before you get ready, it is good for your muscles, and it can be very calming.
18. Look at your environment.
Try changing your surroundings if you regularly feel angry in the same places. If you feel your temper rising in a certain place, like work or the gym, ask yourself these questions; Do I like the people here? Do I like what I do while I am here? If the answer is no, it could be that you need to find a new place, where you feel less agitated.
19. Find a place you can be alone.
If you find any particular place very stressful, and you find your temper rising regularly when you are there, find a place you can be completely alone for a few minutes. Even if it is a toilet or an empty corridor, one minute alone can be more than enough time to calm down.
20. Know when to seek help.
Controlling anger can be a real issue for many people. If you regularly feel like you can’t control your temper, and you believe it has become a big part of your life which you can’t control, seek professional help so you can regain control of your emotions. Good luck!
Amy Johnson writes at www.ajohnson.moonfruit.com