How to Get Your Emotions Under Control
Be aware that poorly managed anger can damage your health, work and relationships. Here are ten helpful tips:
- Exercise: Physical exertion can help for brief, short-term anger, says Dr. Sarah Edelman, psychologist and author of Change Your Thinking.
- Write a Letter: Explain your anger in words—you don’t have to send it.
- Cool Off: “In an acute angry stage, it’s a good idea not to confront the person straightaway,” says Edelman. Instead, take some time to allow yourself to calm down and think in a more rational manner.
- Don’t Throw a Tantrum: “It’s a popular myth that venting anger is always the best strategy,” says Edelman. “Venting can cause more problems than it solves. It can impair good relationships and it’s not good role-modelling for kids.”
- Communicate: Slow down and think about what you want to say. Explain that you feel angry about something rather than acting aggressively. Listen carefully to the other person before you respond.
- Use Humour: If you think of a co-worker as a “dirt bag,” visualize them as a bag of dirt going about their day. (These jokes can diffuse awkward situations at work.)
- Seek Alternatives: If the daily commute provokes uncontrollable road rage, consider different transport forms or a job closer to home.
- Weigh the Pros and Cons: Ask yourself, “Is the anger achieving anything, or is it just hurting me?” Edelman warns, “Some people are reluctant to let anger go because they see that as a victory to the other person.”
- Use Problem-Solving Skills: Ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do about this problem?” If not, move on.
- Accept the Situation: Recognize that some things in life just aren’t fair. “Sometimes we have to accept that injustice is a part of life,” Edelman says.
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