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May/June 2013
Do you find yourself
fuming when someone
cuts you off in traffic?
Does your blood pressure
go through the roof
when your child refuses
to cooperate? Anger
is a normal and even
healthy emotion - but
it’s important to deal
with it in a positive way.
Uncontrolled anger
can take a toll on both
your health and your
Ready to get your anger under
control? Start by considering these
10 anger management tips.
Take a timeout
Counting to 10 isn’t just for kids. Before
reacting to a tense situation, take a few
moments to breathe deeply and count to 10.
Slowing down can help defuse your temper.
If necessary, take a break from the person or
situation until your frustration subsides a bit.
Once you’re calm, express
your anger
As soon as you’re thinking clearly, express
your frustration in an assertive but
nonconfrontational way. State your concerns
and needs clearly and directly, without hurting
others or trying to control them.
Get some exercise
Physical activity can provide an outlet for your
emotions, especially if you’re about to erupt.
If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk
walk or run, or spend some time doing other
favorite physical activities. Physical activity
stimulates various brain chemicals that can
leave you feeling happier and more relaxed
than you were before you worked out.
Think before you speak
In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say
something you’ll later regret. Take a few
moments to collect your thoughts before
saying anything - and allow others
involved in the situation to do the
Identify possible solutions
Instead of focusing on what made you mad,
work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your
child’s messy room drive you crazy? Close
the door. Is your partner late for dinner every
night? Schedule meals later in the evening - or
agree to eat on your own a few times a week.
Remind yourself that anger won’t fix anything,
and might only make it worse.
Stick with ‘I’ statements
To avoid criticizing or placing blame -
which might only increase tension - 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.”
Don’t hold a grudge
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. But if you can forgive someone
who angered you, you might both learn from
the situation. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone
to behave exactly as you want at all times.
Use humor to release
Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Don’t
use sarcasm, though — it can hurt feelings and
make things worse.
Practice relaxation skills
When your temper flares, put relaxation skills
to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises,
imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming
word or phrase, such as, “Take it easy.” You
might also listen to music, write in a journal
or do a few yoga poses - whatever it takes to
encourage relaxation.
Know when to seek help
Learning to control anger is a challenge for
everyone at times. Consider seeking help
for anger issues if your anger seems out of
control, causes you to do things you regret or
hurts those around you. You might explore
local anger management classes or anger
management counseling. With professional
help, you can:
• Learn what anger is
• Identify what triggers your anger
• Recognize signs that you’re becoming angry
• Learn to respond to frustration and anger in
a controlled, healthy way
• Explore underlying feelings, such as sadness
or depression
Anger management classes and counseling
can be done individually, with your partner or
other family members, or in a group. Request
a referral from your doctor to a counselor
specializing in anger management, or ask
family members, friends or other contacts
for recommendations. Your health insurer,
employee assistance program (EAP), clergy,
or state or local agencies also might offer