Ten Tips to Keep Your Temper in Check

  1. Get to know the signs that anger is building up before you have an outburst – this may give you time to think about your reactions.
  2. You may be more prone to angry outbursts if you’re already tired, stressed or irritated, so try to build habits into your life such as a good sleep routine or regular exercise so that you can handle difficult situations more easily. Our ‘Get Ahead of Yourself’ section might help here.
  3. The signs tend to be a faster heartbeat and tension in your body, so if you have a history of losing your temper then take some time out of the situation.
  4. Remove yourself from the situation. There is nothing wrong with deciding to address a situation or have a conversation later. If you’re not confident that you can control your anger, take yourself out of the situation or away from the person as soon as possible and return to it later when you are thinking objectively.
  5. As soon as you’re thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but non-confrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.
  6. Try to focus on the solutions, not the problems. Instead of focusing on what made you angry, work on resolving the issue. There is usually a compromise to most issues but be realistic about things you can and cannot change or control. You might find our section of ‘Accepting Things You Cannot Change’ helpful. Remind yourself that anger won’t fix anything and might only make it worse.
  7. Criticizing or placing blame might only increase tension. Instead, use “I” statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, “I’m upset that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes” instead of “You never do any housework.”
  8. Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. Forgiving someone who angered you might help you both learn from the situation and strengthen your relationship.
  9. Using humour to lighten the mood can help diffuse tension. Use humour to help you face what’s making you angry and, possibly, any unrealistic expectations you have for how things should go. Make sure you use this appropriately and avoid sarcasm or insults  — it can hurt feelings and make things worse.
  10. Know when to get help. Learning to control anger can be a challenge at times. Seek help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you.