It’s normal to get angry. Screaming or fuming for hours after the driver in front of you failed to use their turn signal is not. Uncontrolled anger is a danger to your health, your job, your marriage, your relationships and most importantly, your life.
Does your mad-o-meter go from zero to a hundred the moment something unpleasant or unfair happens? Do you become violently angry when you see (or think) someone is cutting in front of you in line? Do you find yourself screaming in outrage at your children, coworkers or friends when you become displeased or embarrassed? If you’re nodding your head yes, stop right now and take a few moments to read these tips on how to ice down that fiery temper.
Start the countdown immediately
Yes, you’ve heard it before and it sounds too easy to be effective but counting to 10 can help give you time to get your thoughts in order and your emotions back in check. Resist the urge to simply number the righteous reasons for your anger. Concentrate on counting, giving a slight pause between each. If you are a praying person you may give yourself a 10-word emergency prayer instead of using the numbers.
Example: Lord (pause) help (pause) me (pause) to (pause) take (pause) control (pause) of (pause) myself (pause) right (pause) now.
Reflect before you react
There are almost always negative consequences when we react in anger. Make it a practice to delay any response until you’re sure it’s not just an angry reaction.
Stop nursing your anger
You’ve been offended or insulted, now you’re running the scene over and over in your mind. Stop wallowing in negative emotions. Change the conversation in your head by refocusing. Begin replacing angry thoughts with thoughts that pull you back into the present moment, i.e. This breeze feels marvelous. The sky is a beautiful blue today.
Inject humor into the situation
Imagine yourself describing the situation in a humorous way. As many talented stand-up comics have demonstrated, humor can take the sting out of almost any situation. Even the right description of childbirth can bring a laugh when told from a funny angle.
Work it out
Nothing beats getting your body in motion to help evaporate anger. Take a brisk walk, swim some laps, take a Zumba class, go on a bike ride, take a long walk. Get moving and send that anger packing.
Know when to seek help
Asking for help is the wise decision to assume responsibility and take control of your life, not a sign of weakness. If you find your temper constantly exploding out of control, you’re getting into trouble with the law or physically hurting others, you probably need more intensive help. Find a good therapist or an anger management class and get to work on kicking that anger habit for good.
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