If you have difficulty with anger problems, you may find that you have a short temper. Having a temper, or losing your patience and expressing your anger ineffectively, can strain your personal and work relationships. Finding ways to control your temper and reduce outbursts of anger may improve the quality of your life and your interpersonal relationships.
Part One of Three:
Recognizing the Onset of AngerEdit
1Think of anger as physiological as well as psychological reaction. When you experience anger, your body undergoes a chemical process that activates your biological “fight or flight” response. For many people, a short temper results in a “fight” response due to a chemical and hormonal response in the brain. 
2Monitor your body for physical reaction. Many people show signs of anger in their bodies, even before they realize that they are feeling anger. You may be heading towards an outburst of anger if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: 
- Tense muscles and clenched jaw
- Headache or stomachache
- Increased heart rate
- Sudden sweating or shaking
- A dizzy feeling
3Watch for emotional signs. In addition to physical reaction to anger, you will likely begin to experience emotional symptoms before losing your temper.  Some emotions that often flare up alongside anger are:
- Sadness or depression
4Be aware of your triggers. Monitoring your outbursts of temper or thinking about what usually sets you off can help you identify your temper triggers. A trigger is something that happens that makes you have an automatic reaction. Triggers are usually tied to past emotions or memories (even if you aren’t consciously aware of them). Some common triggers for anger include: 
- Feeling out of control of your own life, another person’s actions, or your environment or situation
- Believing that someone is trying to manipulate you
- Getting mad at yourself for making a mistake
5Avoid known triggers. If you are aware of specific circumstances that are likely to trigger your temper, do your best to avoid them.  You may particularly need to focus on avoidance if you have other factors that may contribute to a shorter temper such as a lack of sleep, another emotionally-straining event, or increased life or job stress.
- For example, if getting yelled at by your boss is a trigger for your anger, you could avoid the trigger by removing yourself from the situation or asking for a moment to yourself. You can also ask your boss to speak to you more calmly in the future.
6Analyze your triggers. If you are aware of the emotion or memory that is tied to one of your triggers, try to restructure the memory to lessen the effect of the trigger. 
- For example, you may know that your boss yelling at you is a trigger because you were verbally abused as a child, try disassociating the two kinds of yelling. Convincing yourself that your childhood yelling was different because it only happened in a living room may help you separate it from yelling that you experience in the workplace.
7Feel when your response is escalating. If you feel that the symptoms of your anger are escalating, and you seem to be moving from mildly irritated to really angry, remove yourself from the situation if at all possible. If you can remove yourself to be alone, you can use strategies to reduce or redirect your feelings of anger and avoid an outburst. Advertisement
Part Two of Three:
Avoiding an OutburstEdit
1Use progressive muscle relaxation. Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and releasing your body in progressive stages. Consciously tensing your own muscles can help you redirect the outlet of the anger you’re feeling.  To practice progressive muscle relaxation, take a few deep breaths, then do the following: 
- Begin with your face and head muscles. Hold the tension for 20 seconds, then release it.
- Work your way down your body, tensing and releasing your shoulders, arms, back, hands, stomach, legs, feet, and toes.
- Take deep breaths, feeling relaxation from your toes all the way up to your head.
2Delay your response time. If you know that you have become angry and feel that you are about to lose your temper, give yourself the gift of time. Remind yourself that you do not have to respond or react immediately. Leave the situation, think about a reasoned response, then react later, when the anger has subsided. 
- If you cannot physically leave, you can still give yourself a delay by stopping to count to 10 (or 20, or 50, or 100) before you respond.
3Change your surroundings. If you begin to lose your temper, change to a new location. If you are inside, go outside for a walk if possible. The combination of leaving the person or situation causing your anger and “shocking” your senses with an entirely new environment can help you regain control. 
4Find humor in the situation. Because anger is, in part, a chemical reaction, if you can change the chemicals in your body, you can circumvent a temper outbreak. Trying to find humor in a situation, or getting yourself laughing about something else, will diffuse the situation by changing your body’s chemical reaction. 
- For example, if you find that your children have dumped a bag of flour over your entire kitchen, your initial reaction may be anger. However, if you stop and try to look at the situation objectively (perhaps pretending that it is someone else’s kitchen!), you may be able to laugh about it instead. Having a good laugh and then rallying the troops to help you clean up the mess can turn a negative situation into a funny memory.
5Take a break for meditation. Meditation can help you regulate your emotions.  Therefore, if you are feeling as though you are going to lose control of your temper, give yourself a little mental vacation through meditation. Remove yourself from the situation causing the anger: go outside, to a stairwell, or even to the bathroom. 
- Take slow, deep breaths. Maintaining this breathing will likely bring down your elevated heart rate. Your breaths should be deep enough that your belly extends on the “in” breath.
- Visualize a golden-white light filling your body as you breathe in, relaxing your mind. When you breathe out, visualize muddy or dark colors leaving your body.
- Once you are calm from your meditation, think about your emotions and decide how to deal with the situation that angered you.
Part Three of Three:
Dealing with Underlying IssuesEdit
1Get plenty of exercise and sleep. Tempers can be heightened (and fuses shorter) if you are lacking sleep or exercise. Sleep can help you regulate your emotions effectively. Exercising when you feel angry can help you redirect your anger. Maintaining regular exercise can help you with mood regulation and controlling your emotions. 
2Try cognitive restructuring. Cognitive restructuring helps you replace automatic negative thoughts with more functional or appropriate ways of thinking.  Anger may distort your thoughts, but learning to apply reason to your thoughts can make them clear again and can help you avoid losing your temper. 
- For example, you may get a flat tire on your way to work. Your automatic negative thinking caused by anger may lead you to think “My whole day is ruined! I am going to get in trouble at work! Why does this kind of thing always happen to me?!”
- If you restructure your thinking to take a reasoned look at your comments, you may realize that one setback does not automatically ruin your whole day, that your workplace may understand that things like that happen, and that it’s unlikely that this “always” happens to you (unless you get a flat tire daily, in which case you may want to reevaluate your driving).
- It also may help to realize that anger at the situation will not help any; in fact, it could hurt by making it more difficult to focus on finding a solution (such as changing the tire).
3Participate in an anger management program. Anger management programs have been proven to be highly successful.  Effective programs help you understand anger, develop short-term strategies to deal with anger, and build your emotional control skills. There are many options available for finding a program that is right for you. 
- Individual programs are available for teens, police officers, executives, and other groups of the population that may experience anger for different reasons.
- To find an anger management program that is right for you, try searching online for “anger management class” plus the name of your city, state, or region. You can also include search terms like “for teens” or “for PTSD” to find a group tailored to your specific situation.
- You can also look for appropriate programs by asking your physician or therapist, or by consulting the self-improvement course offerings at your local community center.
4Seek therapy. Ultimately, the best way to control your temper is to identify and treat the root of your anger problems. The best way to do this is in a therapist’s office. A therapist can give you relaxation techniques to use in situations that make you feel angry. She can help you develop emotional coping skills and communication training.  Additionally, a psychoanalyst who specializes in helping resolve problems from someone’s past (such as neglect or abuse from childhood) can help mitigate anger tied to past events. Advertisement
0 / 0
Part 1 Quiz
What is an effective way to lessen the impact of a memory-related trigger?
0 / 0
Part 2 Quiz
How can consciously tensing your muscles help you control your anger?
0 / 0
Part 3 Quiz
What is an example of cognitive restructuring?
You're helping people by reading wikiHow
wikiHow's mission is to help people learn, and we really hope this article helped you. Now you are helping others, just by visiting wikiHow.
World Possible is a nonprofit organization focused on connecting offline learners to the world's knowledge. They work to ensure that anyone can access the best educational resources from the web anytime, anywhere, even if they do not have an internet connection.
Click below to let us know you read this article, and wikiHow will donate to World Possible on your behalf. Thanks for helping us achieve our mission of helping people learn how to do anything.
How do I control my feelings toward myself when I feel bad?Answered by Jessica B. Casey
- It’s important to remember that feelings come and go and you won’t always feel the way you are feeling about yourself. Realize that feelings are temporary and then validate what you are feeling by recognizing that you have a right and a reason to feel the way you do. Then pick a coping and calming technique that works best for you, such as deep breathing, meditation, exercise, or spending time with family, friends, or pets.
How do I not beat my children when I get angry at them?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- Remember that your child is a child, they will make mistakes and they rely on you to help them improve. You will not improve them through violence, you will just make them afraid of you. Stay calm and give them appropriate punishments instead. You're the adult and you have to set the example, providing your kids with the right tools to resolve conflict. If you teach them that violence is the way to resolve conflict, you're sending them down a very dangerous path.
My triggers are my siblings and parents. When they try to help, I get even angrier! Being calm also makes me more mad. What do I do?Answered by
- The best thing to do in this case is to have your own space and start thinking about what's really bothering you and what you can do to overcome your problems.
When I am angry I stop talking, which makes things worse. How do I open up?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- Sometimes, keeping quiet is the best way to control the temper. The more you talk when still feeling in anger, the more it is possible that you will feel mad. While still angry, you're doing the right thing to keep yourself silent. You can open up after you've calmed down and find the right words to say, clear of angry emotions. However, to buy yourself time, you can say: "I can't talk right now, I feel too upset. Can we discuss this later, after I have calmed down?"
How do I control talking back to my parents? How do I ignore people?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- This can be hard, but in both cases, you just have to learn to show restraint. Try to remember that your parents deserve your respect. In the future, you will be very thankful if you have a good relationship with them, and talking back a lot could ruin that. Also, think about when you have kids someday, how would you like them to talk to you?
What can I do if my friend always says I am immature when we argue and when I stop talking, he thinks he is right?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- Tell him "I'm not being immature, I'm standing up for myself and what I think is right." Stay calm and don't raise your voice or insult him. If he still thinks he's right, just let it go. It's not worth getting upset over.
I'm only 13, and I have been getting into a lot of fights recently at school. Do I have to control myself when the argument gets too heated?Answered by
- You should. Not controlling your temper can destroy relationships, and you don't want that to happen; however, it doesn't mean you shouldn't get angry at all or hide your feelings. Just try to calm down and think about it again.
How can I control my urge to damage things when I am angry?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- Make your hands into a fist, squeeze, and walk away from the entire situation. You can also use a stress ball in the same way instead. Lastly, if you find that this is happening frequently, you can set up a punching bag in your home, and punch/kick it whenever you get angry.
How can I keep calm when someone yells at me?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- Take some deep breaths and count to 10 or 20. You can even try counting down instead. This will help give your mind enough time to regain control. Once you are feeling a little calmer, you can try responding--calmly, of course.
How do I control my temper if I suffer from mental illness?
My mom has anger issues, and I really want to help her, what can I do?
I'm a 13 year old boy still trying to figuring out how to tell my parents I want a little more respect and leniency?
Is it better to count or to take breaths to control my temper?
Is silent screaming a good thing?
- When you are angry, your heart beats faster, you feel uneasy and you want to express it somehow. Stay calm and take deep breaths, close your eyes for a while and you will find that the situation is under your control and slowly you will master your anger.
- Breath in through the nose out through the mouth. It calms in any situation.
- Give yourself time to change. If you have chronic temper problems, it may take some time to master controlling your emotions.
- Find ways to distract yourself.
- Just stop thinking about what is making you angry, take a deep breath and calm down.
- If you anticipate a situation where you are likely to become angry or frustrated, such as at your job, try rehearsing the scene in your mind ahead of time. Have a “pre-scripted” response to potential triggers.
- Talk about your problems to someone who cares about you and is not personally related to your situation. This could be a parent, a friend, a therapist, or an online friend. Be sure it's someone you trust and who you would feel very comfortable talking with.
- Try writing down the things that make you angry. Writing them down may help you to control your temper and avoid a violent reaction.
- Punch and/or scream into a pillow while you are alone. Give it a time limit. This helps to let off steam so you don't take your anger out on someone else.
- Go to the gym. Working out (safely) will take out the adrenaline that comes with anger.
- Be patient. Trying too hard to control your temper may make you even angrier. Believe in yourself.
- If you are angry in a classroom, ask the teacher if you could walk out for a moment.
- Belly breathing can help if you feel angry. Take deep breaths from your tummy. Breathe in and out through your nose.
Expert Review By:
Reader Success Stories
HL"I've read a lot about being short tempered, but mine isn't towards people. It's towards stupid stuff like a web page taking too long to open or a cupboard door that keeps on closing on me and I'm standing inside the door. Stupid stuff, but it irritates the hell out of me. With reading this, I came to the conclusion that you should change what you can and if you can't change it, accept it. I can relax in every situation now that I know what triggers it."..." more
A"This article was very helpful for me to calm down my hot temper, mostly because it helped me find the roots of my triggers. I don't go in outbursts, I come close, bottling it up, and I feel awful. Thank you for the time and effort to write this article."..." more
DO"The tip, "Visualize a golden-white light filling your body as you breathe in, relaxing your mind. When you breathe out, visualize muddy or dark colors leaving your body" makes me laugh, and that moment of laughter changes everything."..." more
SD"It seriously helped me. It's an awesome article. Some of my friends are very aggressive, so sharing this with them will definitely help. Thank you."..." more
A"The answers in "community Q&A" were the most helpful part of this article. It talks straight about what you feel and what bothers you."..." more
AU"I was helped extremely by this article, I have learned to control my temper instead of punching my brother in the nose!"..." more
SM"All the articles on this site are excellent. This is changing my habits. "
MA"This article really helps. Keep it up, guys. You're doing a great job. "
NS"It has helped me a lot. I can now control my anger more than before."
AM"Especially fabulous article on anger management! "
PM"Now I know what to do when angry, thanks a lot."
AC"Knowing the triggers helped me a lot!"
TF"It helped control my anger."
TW"Thanks for helping me."
RK"This site helped me. "