When someone winds you up, it’s tempting to vent your anger on them. You may feel the need to rant and rave, but chances are you’ll regret your outburst later. What if the other person had a valid point or excuse that you didn’t know about? Suppose you’ve seriously upset them?
Onlookers may have been less than impressed by your behaviour, and if there were children around, they could have been troubled by the scene. You may have wrecked a special day, and you will certainly have damaged your image. But with these simple tips, you can control your temper and avoid such disasters.
- Take deep breaths
When you feel your temper rise, draw a long, deep breath and release it slowly. Controlled breaths from deep down in your lungs will keep you calm and clear-headed, enabling you to take a philosophical view of the situation.
- Talk slowly
If you are arguing with someone, they may be firing accusations at you, but that doesn’t mean that you need to do the same. A slow, considered speech from you will make their outburst look ludicrously uncontrolled by contrast. It will also help you to simmer down and bring your feelings back under control.
- Bite your tongue
People often talk of biting their tongue, meaning that they’re holding back and keeping quiet. But it can sometimes help to literally give your tongue or lip a gentle nip. This way you can stop yourself saying words you might regret later. It’s easy to get carried away with extreme expressions in the heat of the moment, so let your teeth save you.
- Put yourself in your opponent’s place
Before you retaliate against your opponent, take time to consider their viewpoint. Even if you’re sure they’re wrong, there may be a cause behind it that you can sympathise with. Perhaps they’re under stress or have misunderstood you, or maybe they’ve been misled by someone else. It could even be that they know they’re wrong but are too ashamed to admit it. Give them some space to get their own feelings under control.
- Let off steam
When you’re really worked up, you’ll be beyond reason, so release your rising emotions in a safe, controlled way, before it’s too late. Kick the table leg, pummel the wall or go outside into the cool air and yell at the sky. You may also find relief in other activities, such as listening to music, working out or downing a glass of cold water.
- Look at yourself in the mirror
If there’s a mirror to hand, take a glance at your reflection as your temper flares. The sight of your angry face will shock you into toning down your behaviour. Whatever the cause of your anger, there’s no justification for terrorizing the person you’re blaming. Besides, a furious face can sometimes look ridiculous. Give a thought to their feelings – and to your image!
- Change the subject
When you’ve got a handle on your mood, introduce a neutral subject, such as the weather or the next meal. Your opponent, and anyone else present, will respect you for this wise move. If you still feel strongly about the matter in hand, jot down your views, or email them to yourself, to return to later. You may find they look less significant on paper.
- Walk away
The simplest way to control your temper, at least in public, is to leave the room. If you’ve had your say and made your views known, there’s nothing more you need do for now. If there’s more to be discussed, it can wait until all parties have had a break to cool down.
Losing your temper won’t get you anywhere, so drop the habit now. A calm, quiet approach will benefit all around you, including friends, colleagues and family, as well as yourself. If anyone shouts their head off at you, just smile back, pitifully.