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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!

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Amy Johnson

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

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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