Relationship Advice on How to Control a Hot Temper

by Karen Kleinschmidt

Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. But when held in or expressed inappropriately, anger, in the form of a hot temper, can be destructive. The American Psychological Association states that expressing, suppressing and calming are the three main avenues people use to deal with angry feelings. Finding ways to deal with your anger can be energizing, motivating and empowering, says Beverly Engel, author of "The Nice Girl Syndrome."

Take a week or two to analyze your angry habits. Pay attention to what triggers your anger and keep a journal. Write down what happened before you became angry, how you reacted and the consequences of those reactions. Are the people closest to you walking on eggshells because they feel intimidated? Do they argue back or walk away? If possible and with an open mind, ask those closest to you for feedback about your anger.

Practice relaxation techniques such as visualization and deep breathing. Repeat a particular phrase or word to yourself to calm your body and mind as you breathe deeply or picture a relaxing place in your mind. Continue practicing these techniques on a daily basis until they become automatic in a stressful situation.

Change the way you think and speak about situations that anger you. Words like "always" and "never" should be avoided because saying those words aloud or to yourself gives the assumption that your anger is justified, making it more difficult to solve the problem. Remind yourself that feeling anger will only make you feel worse once the situation passes. Tell yourself this is just a rough spot. Remain as logical as possible, and fight the urge to follow the irrational thought pattern that can often coincide with anger.

Step back when you're angry, and listen to what is being said. Take a mental timeout by counting to 10. Think before you speak as this will help you avoid saying the first thing that pops into your mind. If someone is speaking to you, pause before responding.

Change your surroundings if you feel chronically annoyed. Perhaps, you find you feel irritated and lose your temper right after work. Give yourself 20 minutes before interacting with your family or stop at the gym before heading home.

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  • Notice physical changes that occur because they can help you realize what is triggering your anger. HelpGuide.org states that when a person is angry he may feel a knot in his stomach and tension in his shoulders. He also may feel a need to move, have trouble concentrating or feel flushed.


  • Consider professional help if you are unable to work out your anger issues on your own.

About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

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