Feel overwhelmed and close to bursting? You’re not alone. Tensions are running high in the world due to a lot of different factors. It’s okay to be angry and upset.
What’s not okay, however, is to let your anger take over and physically lash out at someone else — even if you feel they deserve it. You can end up seriously injuring someone, getting injured yourself, losing your job and even be arrested. It’s just not worth it.
So how can you calm down — fast — when you’re about to lose your temper? Here are some tips:
- Recognize your triggers and walk away. Whether your temper is activated by someone who is just being rude or something else that’s problematic, realize that the best thing you can do is say to yourself, “This is pushing my buttons,” and walk away. Don’t engage with anybody else, and don’t bother to explain. You can always go back later.
- Ask if your anger is helping or hurting. Anger can motivate people to do good things, like protect their family or change the world. But anger that’s explosive or misdirected is rarely helpful. If blowing up won’t accomplish anything positive, ask yourself what you can do that will ultimately make a difference.
- Assess your underlying emotions. Sometimes, you can control your anger best by thinking hard about what’s actually going on under the surface. Are you responding to fear? Is it disappointment? Are you frustrated? Once you identify the source of your anger, you can talk yourself through those feelings.
- Focus on yourself. Turning inward and momentarily shutting out the rest of the world is a great trick for controlling anger. Cultivate relaxation techniques like breathing deeply, counting to 10 before you speak and purposefully unwinding one muscle at a time in your body.
What if these tips fail to help and you end up charged with assault or another violent crime? At that point, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defender.