6. Stick with 'I' statements
To avoid criticizing or placing blame — which might only increase tension — use "I" statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, "I'm upset that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes" instead of "You never do any housework."
7. Don't hold a grudge
Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. But if you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation and strengthen your relationship.
8. Use humor to release tension
Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Use humor to help you face what's making you angry and, possibly, any unrealistic expectations you have for how things should go. Avoid sarcasm, though — it can hurt feelings and make things worse.
9. Practice relaxation skills
When your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as "Take it easy." You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.
10. Know when to seek help
Learning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Seek help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you.
March 04, 2017
See more In-depth
- Sood A. Relationships. In: The Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness: A 4-Step Plan for Resilient Living. Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press/Lifelong Books; 2015.
- Pish S, et al. Anger management program participants gain behavioral changes in interpersonal relationships. Journal of Extension. 2016;55:e1. https://joe.org/joe/2016october/a3.php. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
- Mehta M, et al., eds. Anger management. In: A Practical Approach to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Adolescents. New Dehli, India: Springer India; 2015.
- Controlling anger before it controls you. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
- Fabian P, et al. Does exercise reduce aggressive feelings? An experiment examining the influence of movement type and social task conditions on testiness and anger reduction. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 2016;122:971.
- McCullough M, et al. Conciliatory gestures promote forgiveness and reduce anger in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2014;111:11211.