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20 Effective Ways to Control a Bad Temper

20 Effective Ways to Control a Bad Temper

Do you see red when your morning train is delayed? Do you feel your temper flaring when you have a hard day at work? Anger is a normal and healthy emotion, but it can often flare and cause issues in your life.

Check out 20 ways to help deal with your temper when it flares.

1. Take a timeout.

If you feel your temper slowly rising, remove yourself from the situation completely. Take a deep breath and count slowly to 10. This method often calms people down and stops them from reacting in an irrational manner, so you can solve your problems rather than continuing to fight.

2. Don’t carry your temper.

Often people become frustrated by one thing and end up carrying the anger around with them, long after the actual reason has passed. If you dislike your job, go to the gym or to the library before you go home from work. Take a little bit of time to let the anger pass so that the rest of your day isn’t clouded by it.

3. Keep a journal.

Try keeping a journal of your moods over a two week period. Look out for times you have become aggravated, and times you have remained calm. Write down what happened to trigger your temper, how you dealt with your anger, and how people reacted.

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4. Practice relaxation techniques.

When you become angry, try visualizing a place where you feel happy and calm. Take deep breaths, and repeat a word or phrase in your mind as you envision the place. Continue repeating the phrase and visualizing the place until you feel like you have control over your anger.

5. Take a walk.

Exercise in itself can be a great stress reliever, as your body releases endorphins as you walk. Remove yourself from the situation that has aggravated you, take a walk and get the chance to clear your mind and gain new perspectives. When you feel ready to deal with the situation, walk back with a clear head.

6. Take a class you enjoy.

Try joining a class where you will have the opportunity to vent and express your anger through a different method. Dance, running, and Zumba classes are all great ways to let go of tension in a relaxed and happy environment.

7. Change your mindset.

Sometimes people can make a stressful conversation even more stressful by having a negative outlook. Sometimes you have every right to be annoyed, but always try looking at the issue through another perspective. Often pessimistic thoughts can make everything seem worse than it is; try asking yourself if you are being a pessimist, an optimist or a realist.

8. Think of a funny memory.

If you have had a long, stressful day, anything from the commute home to burning dinner can leave you feeling angry. When you feel your temper rising over something small, think of a funny memory you have with your family or friends. Remind yourself that this is temporary, and it won’t matter in a few hours.

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9. Discuss how you feel.

If your temper mostly flares with the same person, try speaking to them differently to help make your point. If your partner doesn’t tidy the house, say, “I am upset I have to tidy every evening” rather than, “You never do any tidying.” Discuss your feelings, rather than putting down the other person, and it is likely they will stop aggravating you and will instead try to help.

10. Don’t hold grudges.

Don’t waste your time feeling angry about events which are over and unchangeable. It will make your life harder on a day-to-day basis, but it is likely the people you feel angry at don’t even think about the issue. Shrug off old arguments and focus on making yourself happy.

11. Listen to music during stressful times.

If you hate the commute to work, bring along an MP3 and listen to your favorite album until you arrive. If you hate working out, download an upbeat album to listen to as you exercise.

If you have troubles with your temper, doing tasks you hate can rile you up and leave you carrying the anger around with you all day. Listening to music while you do unpleasant tasks can help reduce and prevent any feelings of anger.

12. Identify a solution.

If you tend to get angry about the same things over and over again, work on them specifically. If you hate how messy your teenager’s room is, shut their door. If your partner never texts you back, ring them when you need to speak to them. Try to remind yourself that anger isn’t a solution.

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13. Know your triggers.

If taking about the environment or politics raises your temper, politely excuse yourself from the conversation while people discuss such matters. If you dislike busy places, do all of your shopping during the quietest times. If certain things aggravate you, avoid them or cut them out completely for a calmer life.

14. Set alarms for during the day.

If your temper often flares while you are at work, set a couple of alarms on your phone throughout the day. When the alarm goes off, take a minute to yourself. During this time think about how you are feeling, and why you feel this way. If you feel any negative emotions, address them so you don’t have to spend any more time thinking about it. After a minute, regroup and continue with your work.

15. Use calming scents.

If you have a place or a room where you often feel calm and relaxed, buy a scent you love for the room, such as lavender. When you are in the room, you will associate the smell with feeling calm and content. If you carry a scented cloth with you as well, you can use it later in stressful situations to help you feel calm and relaxed.

16. Smile.

When your temper has flared, the last thing most people want to do is smile. However, smiling lowers your body’s stress response, while quelling feelings of anger.

17. Stretch in the morning.

In the morning, most people tend to wake up, hit the alarm and jump in the shower. However, if you have a short temper and you’re “not a morning person,” try stretching when you first wake up. This gives you a few minutes to yourself before you get ready, it is good for your muscles, and it can be very calming.

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18. Look at your environment.

Try changing your surroundings if you regularly feel angry in the same places. If you feel your temper rising in a certain place, like work or the gym, ask yourself these questions; Do I like the people here? Do I like what I do while I am here? If the answer is no, it could be that you need to find a new place, where you feel less agitated.

19. Find a place you can be alone.

If you find any particular place very stressful, and you find your temper rising regularly when you are there, find a place you can be completely alone for a few minutes. Even if it is a toilet or an empty corridor, one minute alone can be more than enough time to calm down.

20. Know when to seek help.

Controlling anger can be a real issue for many people. If you regularly feel like you can’t control your temper, and you believe it has become a big part of your life which you can’t control, seek professional help so you can regain control of your emotions. Good luck!

More by this author

Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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