How To: Control your anger and temper

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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