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Anger management: 10 tips to tame your temper★

No. 1: 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.

No. 2: 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.

No. 3: 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.

No. 4: 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 same.

No. 5: 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.

No. 6: 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."

No. 7: 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.

No. 8: Use humor to release tension
Lightening up can help diffuse tension.
Don't use sarcasm, though — it can
hurt feelings and make things worse.

No. 9: 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.

No. 10: 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 recommendations.
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