Dealing with Anger
With the stress of a new living situation and class workloads, it’s understandable that you will feel frustrated at times. When you feel angry, you may want to lash out at others. Before these moments occur, take some time to consider the following steps you can take to control your temper and find positive ways to express your emotions and resolve conflict.
- Take a “timeout.” Although it may seem cliché, counting to 10 before reacting really can defuse your temper.
- Get some space. Take a break from the person you’re angry with until your frustrations subside a bit.
- Once you’re calm, express your anger. Remember to express anger appropriately. Inappropriate anger expression can make the situation worse.
- Get some exercise. Physical activity can provide an outlet for your emotions, especially if you’re about to erupt. Go for a brisk walk or a run, swim, lift weights or shoot baskets.
- Think carefully before you say anything. Otherwise, you’re likely to say something you’ll regret. It can be helpful to write down what you want to say so that you can stick to the issues.
- Identify solutions to the situation. Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work with the person who angered you to resolve the issue at hand.
- Use “I” statements when describing the problem. This will help you to avoid criticizing or placing blame, which can make the other person angry or resentful — and increase tension. For instance, say, “I’m upset you didn’t help with the housework this evening,” instead of, “You should have helped with the housework.”
- Don’t hold a grudge. If you can forgive the other person, it will help you both. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want.
- Use humor to release tensions. Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Don’t use sarcasm, though — it can hurt feelings and make things worse.
- Practice relaxation skills. Learning skills to relax and de-stress can also help control your temper when it may flare up. Practice deep-breathing exercises, visualize a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase to yourself, such as “take it easy.” Other proven ways to ease anger include listening to music, writing in a journal and doing yoga.