We all get upset. We all have fears. Everyone gets mad. Sometimes it’s justified, sometimes not. Regardless, it’s no fun, and it’s not good for anyone. Can anger be controlled? Yes. Is it difficult? Yes, but it may not be as hard as you think. When you feel anger mounting in your chest try one or more of these strategies to diffuse your anger and gain control. Here are 13 ways to stay calm.

How to control anger

  1. Take deep breaths. Slow, steady, deep breathing has been known to control body temperature and lower blood pressure – Science in our World.
  1. Walk away for 15 minutes. Can’t afford to walk away for 15 minutes? Walking away is preferable to regrettable actions.
  1. Re-engage Calm yourself by asking open-ended questions. For example:
  • What happened?
  • How am I feeling?
  • What should I be doing?
  • What caused my anger/fear?
  • How can I overcome this?
  1. Picture calming imagery. Such as, a laughing child, a memorable vacation spot, or your favorite food.
  1. Low impact exercise like stretching can help diffuse your anger. Psychology Today: Anger and Exercise      
  1. Chanting or repeating a phrase for example, “Stay calm” can be helpful.
  1. Find the humor – Scathing or sarcastic humor seldom helps, it may even escalate the anger. Self-deprecating humor or imagining ridiculous situations works best. Have you tried picturing an upset person in their birthday suit? It’s hard not to smile.
  1. Do not use angry language. Don’t curse, shout, or use an acrimonious tone. Stay clear of absolutes such as never or always.
  1. Problem solve. Anger may be due to very real concerns. Becoming angry will solve nothing. Begin exploring solutions.
  1. Avoid triggers. For example, if the chaos of home is a trigger give yourself 15 minutes to unwind before switching gears from the workplace to the home front. Do you allow yourself to become engulfed in road rage? Prepare yourself before you get behind the wheel.
  1. Be aware of timing. Are there times of day you’re more likely to become upset? Do you get hangry when you haven’t eaten? Are you grumpy when you’re tired?
  1. Embrace the outdoors – There are numerous studies on the calming effects of nature. Psychology Today: The Power of Nature
  1. Understand you’re in control – Regardless of the situation, other people or circumstances, do not control your anger. If you’re angry, it’s because you decided to be. Decide not to be angry.

Do you want to be less angry?

There are 13 triggers and strategies listed above. You may adapt some to your circumstances others may not work. A few of the actions may fit your personality—others won’t. If you agree that anger is something to avoid. That it is unhealthy both mentally and physically, then find what works for you. Here’s your challenge. If you want to control your anger, it’s up to you.

Anger Management Strategies

List one to three anger triggers

  1. _________________________
  2. _________________________
  3. _________________________

Choose one to three strategies to control your anger

  1. _________________________
  2. _________________________
  3. _________________________

Photo by Day Chi / CC BY-SA