Teen Angst

Helping adolescents deal with anger and other emotions effectively

Sizzling Anger

Eight simple tips to help cool your anger this summer.

The summer months are turning up the heat, but don't let your anger rise with the temperatures. Anger and summer go hand and hand, but you don't have to let the outside thermometer have an effect on the internal one. Here are 8 simple tips to help you cool your rising temper this summer:

1. Learn your anger triggers.

We all have buttons that, when activated, lead to anger. Some people call these buttons pet peeves or triggers. No matter which term you use, it’s important that you identify what yours are and minimize exposure to them. 

2.  Get away from anger-provoking situations.

Be in tune with how you're feeling and keep a finger on your anger pulse. If you feel that you are in a situation and you are becoming agitated get out of the environment. Clear your head and regroup your thoughts. One thing anger is notorious for is helping us make a complete and utter fool of ourselves. Don't put yourself in that situation. If at all possible, take a self-imposed time-out.

3. Don't react out of anger.

Put a filter on your anger. I know it's easier said than done, but in the long run you'll be grateful that you did. Anger causes us to act impulsively and do things that we wouldn't do if we weren't angry. This is especially true in the context of social media. It's never a good idea to post something when you're angry. Take some time to clear your head before you deal with the situation. This will help you to refrain from saying or doing something that you’ll regret later.

4. Find an outlet to release your stress and energy.

Physical exercise is a great way to burn off some steam and stay fit in the process. Taking care of your body is important in the battle against anger. Not only is exercise a terrific physical outlet, it also helps with mental alertness. Exercise makes you able to think more clearly by releasing all of the negativity that's weighing you down. Compare and contrast the negativity of anger to the benefits of being fit.

Anger:

  • interferes with sleep
  • decreases/increases appetite
  • decreases work/academic performance
  • produces low energy levels
  • generates low self-confidence
  • decreases motivation

 Being fit:

  • promotes better sleep
  • helps improve your mood
  • boosts energy
  • reverses the detrimental effects of stress
  • improves your health
  • improves learning
  • helps combat depression
  • helps increase self-confidence
  • improves body image

5. Work on your perception.

When we get angry our perception of events may distort reality. When thoughts become distorted it becomes difficult to separate what is real from what is fiction. Realizing when things are distorted is an important step in learning to tame your anger. A great way to illustrate this is through the use of an optical illusion, such as the vases vs. faces diagram.

If a group was asked to identify what was being portrayed in the picture, about half would see the vase first and the other would see the face. Neither perception is wrong, it's just in the eyes of the beholder.

Oftentimes when we get angry we only see one way of looking at the picture… our way. This causes us to miss out on the pieces that are right in front of our nose. Anger puts blinders on us and we don't see the entire picture, only what our anger allows us to see.

The next time you're angry ask yourself, “What am I missing? How would an outsider see this situation?” If you're still having trouble seeing other angles, explain the situation to a trusted friend and get his or her take on it.

6. Work on communicating and expressing yourself.

Most of the time anger is a result of miscommunication and misinterpretation. You may not have all of the facts before you react. Collecting all of the information, and discussing your feelings with the person who has wronged you is an important step in learning how to control your anger. By using good listening and communication skills to resolve a conflict, you’re more likely to get others to listen to how you feel—leading to more positive outcomes. 

7. Learn to laugh.

Humor is one of the best antidotes for anger. Did you know that as we get older we laugh less?  Research shows that school-aged children laugh a lot more than adults. It’s sad to think that we don’t laugh as much when we get older because humor is a great way to diffuse anger. 

8. Relax and meditate.

Take some time each day to focus on breathing, reflecting, and relaxing. Meditation is a simple way to calm your racing mind, relax your tense body, and find peace in the midst of day-to-day chaos. Meditation will help you purify angry thoughts and let go of the negativity that's weighing down on you. It is a way of detoxifying of your mind and soul. Begin meditating today and become aware of the things that are holding you back in life. Free yourself from everyday frustrations and discover the true meaning of peace.

Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, M.S., L.P.C., is the author of The Anger Workbook for Teens.

more...

Subscribe to Teen Angst

Current Issue

Just Say It

When and how should we open up to loved ones?