Do you use your middle finger so often that’s it’s become an automatic reflex?
Do your coworkers have your blood pressure soaring on a daily basis? Anger is a normal emotion – but shouldn’t be bottled up. So, it’s important to know how to deal with it healthily.
Keeping your temper in check can be challenging. Use simple anger management tips — from taking a timeout to using “I” statements — to stay in control. So before you snap, it’s time to get your anger under control. Start by considering these ten anger management tips.
1. Think before you speak
Counting to ten is not just a clique. We’ve all said things in the heat of the moment that we’ve regretted. To prevent this from happening, take a little time to collect your thoughts before speaking. If you see others involved in the situation pausing before responding to you, be patient, they are probably trying to manage their anger also.
2. Once you’re calm, get it off your chest
Express your frustration once you become clear headed. Be assertive but non-confrontational. State your concerns and needs, without hurting others or trying to control or blame them.
3. Get some exercise
Physical activity can help reduce the stress that can cause you to become angry. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.
4. Take a timeout
Timeouts aren’t just for kids. Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be stressful. A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what’s ahead without getting irritated or angry.
5. Identify possible solutions
Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your boyfriend constantly cancel dates at the last minute? Stop planning events that include him. Do your coworker always pick you up late for the carpool? Find another way to work. Remind yourself that anger won’t fix anything and might only make it worse.
6. Stick with ‘I’ statements
No one wants to be blamed for your anger. To avoid increasing the tension, don’t place blame or criticize someone others. Instead, use “I” statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and precise. For example, say, “I’m upset that you left your clothes on the floor for me to pick up” instead of “You never do any housework.”
7. Don’t hold a grudge
Forgiveness is a powerful tool, not only for the person who needs the forgiveness but for you. Harboring negative feelings will eat away at you and make you a bitter person. If you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation and strengthen your relationship.
8. Lighten Up!
It’s hard to be angry if you’re laughing or smiling. Humor can help diffuse tension. Use humor to help you face what’s making you angry and, possibly, any unrealistic expectations you have for how things should go. Avoid sarcasm, though — it can hurt feelings and make things worse.
9. Practice relaxation skills
Before your temper gets out of control, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as “serenity now” or “I don’t look good in prison stripes.” You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — find what works best for you and practice it often. But don’t bottle in your anger, express and finds a way to resolve it.
10. Know when to seek help
There is no shame if you need professional help to get your anger management under control. It says a lot of positive things about you when you know that things are out of your control and you need help to bring control back.
Seek help for anger issues if your anger seems to be hurting your personal and professional relationships, or others around you.