Tips to Keep Your Anger Under Control
Everyone gets angry from time to time. Stress, snide remarks, and difficult situations
pile up. Anger is a natural reaction.
But while anger might be inevitable, the way you express it isn’t. Letting anger take
control and boil over isn’t a smart idea. The truth is, losing control usually causes
far more harm than good.
Top anger management tips
With this in mind, the best approach when you feel anger is to take a step back. Control
your anger in a way that’s better for both you and the people around you. It might
sound hard, but with a little practice, you can be the master of your emotions. This
is much better for you than yelling and shouting ever would be.
Try these ideas the next time anger mounts:
No. 1: Step away for a moment
Anger can be hard to control when it first bubbles up. If you have a tendency to explode,
excusing yourself for a moment is the best approach. Then, take 5 to 10 deep breaths
to relax before returning. People may wonder why you walked away, but it’s a lot better
than saying something you’d regret later.
No. 2: Understand your anger
Being rational and feeling angry rarely go hand in hand, but take a moment to think
about why you feel anger. Sometimes it’s because of the way you see a situation and
not a problem with someone else. In fact, the other person may not be trying to anger
or insult you at all. It might just seem that way. Force yourself to take a step back
and ask, “Is this worth getting angry over?” Then think about whether you should take
action or just drop it.
No. 3: Find humor in the situation
If you’re working yourself into a fury, try to shift your thoughts to something funny.
Nothing can calm a crisis like humor. It might just put the situation into perspective
and help you realize that it’s not that big a deal.
No. 4: Write it out, don’t shout it out
Modern technology is certainly convenient, but it can also cause trouble if you send
a hasty email or text message without thinking clearly. To prevent this, use a word
processing document to draft a note instead of an email to vent. It’s too easy to
accidentally hit “reply to all” or “send” in an email. Write down all your thoughts
and feelings, but just for yourself. Often the very act of writing will help you calm
down. Then do nothing for a day or at least a few hours until you can more calmly
figure out what to do—or not do.
No. 5: Learn about child development
This is important if your anger is at your child. Find a good book that will tell
you what’s normal at certain stages of child development. This will help you calm
the anger you may feel when your toddler shows off her new haircut, the one she gave
herself! When your child loses your cell phone, fidgets in a restaurant, or has a
tantrum at the mall, she’s probably not trying to anger you. She just may not be old
enough to sit still for more than a few minutes, handle a rush of bright lights and
noise, or resist your nice gadget. Your anger may be natural, but you need to control
the way you express it. Instead of name-calling, try telling your child you’re upset
that she lost your cell and ask her to look for it with you.
No. 6: Never hit your children in anger—or at all
Put your hands in your pockets if you feel the urge. Model the kind of behavior you’d
like to see. Hitting your child will teach them that might makes right and that violence
is the way to solve conflicts. It will encourage fighting and other aggressive behavior.
Telling your child calmly what you want done and use specific directions. Showing
them that you can control your temper will help your child learn how to control theirs.
If you’re having trouble disciplining your children without hitting, call a parenting
hotline or enroll in a parenting class on positive discipline. These are often available
at your local YMCA or community center.
No. 7: Work toward a goal
It’s certainly not healthy to hold in your anger. This can lead to health problems
down the road. Respect your anger. If it is telling you that something is wrong and
needs to change, think of a constructive way to talk about the problem. Fight fair.
Don’t blame, threaten, call names, ridicule, or issue ultimatums, even if you feel
like it. Also, don’t use words like “never” and “always.” Try using “I” rather than
“you” statements, such as “I don’t like it when you do X” instead of “You always do
X.” Keep your goal in mind and work toward it.
Anger can be a healthy emotion if you know how to control it. If you can analyze your
anger and decide whether to take action or simply let it go, then you have managed
anger in a healthy way, not a destructive one.