How To Do Life

Fresh ideas about career and personal issues

A One-Minute Course in Anger Management

A simple strategy that may keep your anger problem under control.
Most people who have anger issues hate themselves for losing their temper but can’t make themselves stop. I hope this will help.

Many people with anger issues go from zero to 60 in two seconds. It’s like an orgasm, once the angry person gets going, he or she can’t stop. So prevention is key.

Getting to the core of why you have hot temper could require extensive psychotherapy but sometimes, all you need is a behavioral approach. It's certainly faster and free:

1. What triggers your anger: Being disrespected? An accusation? Laziness in others? Write your trigger(s) down. Memorize them.

2. Every time you experience a trigger, force yourself to instantly escape the situation: step outside, go the bathroom, whatever.

3. There, take 10 slow, deep breaths. Force yourself to do it.

4. Before returning to the conversation, rehearse how you’d like to respond so that you come away feeling good about the interaction. Picture yourself doing that.

5, As you’re returning to the conversation, remind yourself how good you’ll feel if you behave the way your best self would and how bad you’ll feel if you blow up.

If you’re like most people who blow up too often or too intensely, your anger has hurt you big-time. Think about it: What percent of the time has your having lost your temper been in your long-term best interest? I’ll bet it’s tiny.

So if you care about yourself at all, please force yourself to pull on ropes of restraint and escape from that conversation immediately until you calm down and rehearse how your best self wants to respond. That’s the path to greater respect and, yes, love.

Marty Nemko’s bio is in Wikipedia.

Marty Nemko is a career and personal coach based in Oakland, Ca. and the author of 7 books. 

Subscribe to How To Do Life

Current Issue

Just Say It

When and how should we open up to loved ones?