How to Control your anger and temper

Getting angry makes you look weak, especially in an argument. Defuse your temper with these helpful tips.

Controlling your anger requires a desire to understand its source, and to take action to tamp it down.

Step 1: Count to 10

Declare a "time out" when you feel anger rising. Remove yourself from the situation. Counting to 10 can buy time to defuse your temper.

Step 2: Do something physical

Take a brisk walk or go for a run to exhaust an angry impulse. Swim, dig in the garden – anything that may interfere with the rush of negative feelings.

Step 3: Keep an anger log

Log your thoughts in writing when anger intrudes. Recording these moments limits the effects of your rage.

TIP: Yoga and meditation can also temper the effects of rage.

Step 4: Practice deep breathing

Correct patterns of thought through deep breathing, or visualize pleasant memories. Use a mantra or a private word that triggers a peaceful reflection. Listen to relaxing music.

TIP: Therapists and anger management professionals are trained to help you defuse anger.

Step 5: Practice expressing anger

Practice expressing anger to a neutral party. This allows you to clear the air before exhibiting behavior you might regret.

TIP: Carry small objects or pieces of paper with advice. These items can serve as cues to avoid sudden eruptions.

Step 6: Use "I" statements

Think carefully before you speak. Use "I" statements, such as "I feel as if…," so that you don't offend someone by placing blame and escalating tensions.

Step 7: Use humor

Use humor to defuse friction. But be careful not to overestimate your charm.

Step 8: Ask yourself what you want

Analyze what look, tone, speech, action – even breathing – you exhibited in anger. Return to the original situation and attempt a different approach.

Did you know? Stress from anger sparks electrical changes in the heart that can lead to heart attacks.

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