Tips for controlling your temper

REMAIN CALM: It's not easy to stay centered and calm while your emotions are boiling. Dreamstime/Tribune News Service

Do you get upset trying to deal with your kids, your spouse, or your siblings? Maybe you turn beet red and scream loud enough for neighbors to hear.

You know your actions aren’t cool, and later, you’re likely to feel ashamed of yourself.

Also, if you’re spewing anger at co-workers, friends, or business associates, this could hurt your income, reputation, and career possibilities.

If you have a bad temper, you’re not alone. Most individuals can really get hot under the collar.

It’s not easy to stay centered and calm while your emotions are boiling. It’s almost impossible not to yell, if you believe your dignity is taking a few bad whacks from someone.

But, as a mature adult, you must find balance. Otherwise, having these meltdowns will affect every relationship in your life.

And, others aren’t likely to trust you with sensitive information, because they know you’ll be likely to over-react.

Keep these tips in mind:

• No one should react strongly before digesting information. For example, if your teenage daughter tells you she’s pregnant, try hard not to spew your emotions. Instead, tell her you need time to think about the situation.

• Remember that you can always get angry later. For example, if you find out one of your employees has been stealing from the company, plan your reaction. Take time to think about how forceful you need to be. You might need other people to witness what you say.

• Some people like to push your buttons. Don’t let them. Absorb what the other person is saying or doing, but don’t allow him or her to trigger a reaction. Self-control takes practice and it will serve you much better than a knee-jerk response.

• People are afraid of a calm person. Why? They know you can give believable information to others.

And, staying calm throughout an ordeal might be all you need to do.

A friend of ours, who we’ll refer to as Kim, recently caught her husband with another woman. “I walked into a restaurant, and there they were,” says Kim. “They were laughing and having a drink. Good thing I didn’t lose my temper. The woman turned out to be his first cousin, Karen, who had not been around in years.

“Karen had made a family history book she was bringing my husband. Jeez, I’m glad I didn’t act jealous! I’d have felt like a fool.”


Judi Light Hopson is the executive director of the stress management website USA Wellness Café at www.usawellnesscafe.com. Emma Hopson is an author and a nurse educator. Ted Hagen is a family psychologist.

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