An out-of-control temper can cause you to lose jobs, friendships and even relationships. When anger strikes and you feel the flash to fight back, consider following these steps. You can learn to control your temper.
- Take a step back. This step is usually the hardest to learn. When you start to feel your temperature rise or you are getting irritated, take a step back. Make this a physical and emotional step. Put distance between you and source of your anger.
- Tell yourself it isn't personal. What is making you mad? Is it the guy who cut you off in traffic? Does your boss seem to have unreasonable expectations? Maybe your boyfriend has been cheating on you. Rarely do any of these affronts have anything to do with you personally. Don't take things personal.
- Breathe deep. Inhale as much as your lungs can hold. Then hold the breath for a count of three before you exhale and empty your lungs. Repeat for at least five full breaths until you start to feel your breath slowing and your muscles relaxing.
- Stop antagonizing people. No one wants to admit that they might be the problem. Take an honest look at your own behavior. Are you the type who can give insults without being able to take them? Check in with yourself and if you are contributing to the problem, then stop. Quit picking on others or insulting them without the expectation that they will retaliate.
- Talk a walk. It may not be enough to just turn away from the source of the anger. Instead you may need to get out, get some fresh air and take a walk to burn off the adrenaline flowing through your blood with the anger and rage.
- Talk it out. Talking isn't about confrontation. You don't need to have an argument or talk to the person making you anger. This will more often cause you to lose your temper, not control it. Instead talk to someone you trust. Vent your spleen to get control of yourself. If there is no one you can vent to, then vent to the wall. Or close yourself up in your parked car and rant and rave to your heart's content. Get all your temper out then take a breath. By verbalizing your temper, you get it out of your system and under control.
- If all else fails, release the anger with exercise. Controlling your temper does not mean you will never get mad. Sometimes you will get mad but make it for the right reasons. When you get so mad that you cannot contain your anger, find a heavy bag or other rigorous activity to work it out.
Patience and acceptance are the keys to controlling your temper. You may need to practice these steps whenever someone pushed your buttons but with some work and time, you will be able to keep your temper from costing you.