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20 Effective Ways to Control a Bad Temper

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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 July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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