There are time we all could use ways to stay calm. We all get upset. We all have fears. Everyone gets mad. Sometimes it’s justified, sometimes not. Regardless, it’s no fun, and it’s not good for anyone. Can anger be controlled? Yes. Is it difficult? Yes, but it may not be as hard as you think. Try one or more of these strategies to diffuse your anger and gain control when you feel anger mounting in your chest. Here are 13 ways to stay calm.

13 Ways to Stay Calm

       1. Take deep breaths

Slow, steady, deep breathing has been known to control body temperature and lower blood pressure” – Science in our World.

       2. Walk away for 15 minutes

So, do you think you can’t afford to walk away for 15 minutes? Walking away is preferable to regrettable actions.

       3. Re-engage

Calm yourself by asking open-ended questions. For example:

  • What happened?
  • How am I feeling?
  • What should I be doing?
  • What caused my anger/fear?
  • How can I overcome this?

      4. Picture calming imagery

Such as a laughing child, a special vacation spot, or your favorite food.

      5. Do some low impact exercises

For example, stretching can help diffuse your anger. “A recent study appears to confirm that exercise can reduce anger. According to Nathaniel Thom, a stress physiologist, “exercise, even a single bout of it, can have a robust prophylactic effect” against the buildup of anger. — Psychology Today: Anger and Exercise    

      6. Chant

It can be repeating a phrase, for example, “Stay calm,” can be helpful.

      7. Find the humor

Scathing or sarcastic humor seldom helps; it may even escalate the anger. Self-deprecating humor or imagining ridiculous situations works best. Have you tried picturing an upset person in their birthday suit? It’s hard not to smile.

      8. Do not use angry language

Don’t curse, shout, or use an acrimonious tone. Stay clear of absolutes such as never or always.

      9. Problem solve

Anger may be due to genuine concerns. Becoming angry will solve nothing. Begin exploring solutions.

     10. Avoid triggers

For example, do you allow yourself to become engulfed in road rage? Prepare yourself before you get behind the wheel.

     11. Be aware of timing

Are there times of day you’re more likely to become upset? Do you get hangry when you haven’t eaten? Are you grumpy when you’re tired?

     12. Embrace the outdoors

There are numerous studies on the calming effects of nature. “The University of Essex found that, of a group of people suffering from depression, 90 percent felt a higher level of self-esteem after a walk through a country park, and almost three-quarters felt less depressed. Another survey by the same research team found that 94% of people with mental illnesses believed that contact with nature put them in a more positive mood.” —Psychology Today: The Power of Nature.

     13. Understand you’re in control

Regardless of the situation, other people or circumstances, do not control your anger. If you’re angry, it’s because you decided to be. Decide not to be angry.

Do you want to be less angry? 

There are 13 triggers and strategies listed above. You may adapt some to your circumstances; others may not work. A few of the actions may fit your personality—others won’t. If you agree that anger is something to avoid and that it is unhealthy both mentally and physically, then find what works for you. Here’s your challenge. If you want to control your anger, it’s up to you.

Anger Management Strategies 

List one to three anger triggers

  1. _________________________
  2. _________________________
  3. _________________________

Choose one to three strategies to control your anger

  1. _________________________
  2. _________________________
  3. _________________________

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Photo by R. Clark