9 Calming Ways To Tone Down Your Anger So You Don't Competely Lose It

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How To Control Anger Issues & Calm Down When You're Close To Losing Your Temper

Learning how to control anger means you need to take a minute to calm down and face the issue at hand with a clearer head.

When something horrible happens, you feel the heat rising in your chest and the red clouding around your eyesight.

"Just calm down."

Coming from others (or even yourself), those words do very little in the way of diffusing anger issues, right?

RELATED: How I Stopped Letting Anger Ruin My Life

We try all sorts of things for anger management. Sometimes, we try punching a pillow or a wall. Sometimes we scream at anything and everything, cognizant of our words or not.

Contrary to popular belief, these common reactions don’t really decrease your anger. In fact, these actions only increase hostility and don’t accomplish anything at all. These outbursts escalate an already angry situation, which really doesn’t help anyone.

Anger is not a disciplinary tool, a communication method, or an emotional weapon — it’s a damaging, personal, and emotional state that is a symptom of an underlying issue.

So how can we get our mind back in check when you’re in that enraged and overwhelming state?

There are 9 ways to deal with your anger and calm down when you're close to losing your temper.

1. Take charge of your body.

When you’re angry, your body becomes tense.

Taking deep breaths helps you learn how to calm down by lowering your internal anger meter and returning your attention to your inner world, as opposed to whatever’s upsetting you in the outer world.

When you get angry, sometimes it’s best to just walk away from the source. A five-minute jog outside or another calming activity like yoga are both great coping strategies for dealing with anger.

If your anger stems from the traffic jam you’re stuck in, turn up the radio and sing at the top of your lungs. Get on your bike and go for a ride. Jump on a trampoline. Go for a vigorous swim. Attack the weeds in your garden or the hedge that needs to be cut with the intense focus only angry gardening can provide.

Any kind of vigorous, intense physical activity that pulls the mind back into the body gives you the tools you need to learn how to deal with anger.

2. Get some perspective.

Ask yourself, "Why am I so angry?"

Is the person or situation you're mad about worth spending your emotional energy on? Will the situation that is causing your anger truly matter in a day? A week?

Perspective is always a great thing to seek out when you’re all wrapped up in emotions. Talk about your anger — unload and decompress with a friend. You’ll feel less isolated with your feelings. Plus, remember: you’re not alone.

Try to remember the vast majority of human beings are not malicious or mean-spirited. Most people act on the belief that they are doing the right thing, though sometimes they aren’t a good judge of how their actions impact others.

3. Understand your anger.

In the moment of rage, it’s so difficult to think rationally. This isn’t your imagination! This is a human thing.

Intense emotions generally start in two almond-shaped structures in our brains called the amygdala. This part of the brain is also responsible for sending out an alarm when any kind of threat is identified.

The amygdala is so efficient at warning us about threats that it gets us reacting before the cortex (the part of the brain responsible for thought and judgment) is able to help check the reasonableness of reactions.

That’s right! Our brains are wired in such a way as to influence us to act before we can consider the consequences of our actions. This is no excuse for behaving badly! Instead, it means that learning to manage anger properly is a skill to practice, instead of something humans are born knowing how to do instinctually.

Think like a detective and track down clues about the kinds of situations, people, and events that trigger anger.

Once you’re aware of them, try to avoid them if possible. If you can’t avoid them, at least you’ll know to anticipate these feelings so they don’t affect you so intensely.

4. Take "self-control" time.

Take time to get your mind and body under control.

Sit up but relaxed. Place your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Extend your hands palm down and place them in your lap. Make sure your elbows are naturally back by your sides.

Relax your shoulders so the muscles around them are neither tight nor tense. Breathe deeply in through your nose and exhale through your mouth to help your body relax into this position. Close your eyelids lightly and continue breathing deeply.

When using this relaxing self-control time as a regular part of the day, it should last approximately three minutes. When using this method to help regain self-control, try to spend approximately one minute on these steps.

And guess what? These are the beginning steps to meditation!

5. Don’t lose it.

Losing your temper, no matter the reason, always makes you look like the bad guy regardless of who or what is at fault. Practice de-escalation strategies to increase your number of choices for dealing with the situation.

Picture a red stop sign in your mind, or wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it whenever you find your anger beginning to boil. Then, take a few minutes to put the issue into perspective and ask yourself if it’s worth the humiliation that comes from becoming overtly angry.

After the anger passes, take some time to figure out a different response. Visualize a scene in which you got angry and replay the scene in your mind several times, each time envisioning yourself responding a different, more effective way.

By doing this you are rehearsing different reactions and giving yourself new options, which is empowering! (Instead of not having power, which is usually how anger arises.)

The next time your temper is close to boiling over, one of these options will enter your mind like a lifeboat and allow you to choose a better response instead of being ensnared by your emotions.

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By creating a mental and/or physical escape from the situation you can control your anger before it controls you.

RELATED: 5 Best Ways To Deal With Your Anger (So You Can Find Peace Without Medication)

6. Understand the issue.

If there are vague, general complaints that build up to your anger it’s time to consider the underlying cause.

If you’re upset that the house is a mess, maybe the real issue is that the kids aren’t cleaning up after themselves. Upset that your boss is a jerk? Perhaps the real issue is frustration — late meetings lead to a longer commute home.

Pinpointing the cause of anger is a great first step to seeking a solution.

7. Do something.

Write a letter. Some you’ll send and some you won’t. If you’re angry with politicians, policy, or other public injustice, do something about it.

In one study, brain wave patterns signifying anger were able to decrease by signing a petition. Working to right a wrong is affirming and positive. Stewing in a bad situation without acting is the opposite.

Write to the president of the company that just laid you off, to the friend who just disrespected you, to the politician who raised your taxes.

Just the act of acknowledging your feelings will help you corral your anger and express it in a worthwhile, healthy way.

8. Don’t shoot the messenger.

Get angry with the person who can make a difference, not the poor soul who is simply caught in the crossfire!

This advice is particularly important when you’re dealing with people who work in the service industry. Is it the fault of the internet installer that his company only allows him to book appointments on the hour? No, but a call to their manager might help.

9. Understand how to move forward.

The most important thing to take out of all of this is remembering that anger is a messenger, indicating that something is stewing and chipping away at your subconscious.

Ask yourself exactly what is bothering you right now before a dozen little irritations explode into something much worse, and usually with larger consequences.

Use anger as an indication that something can and should be changed to improve things in the future, a tool for finding more happiness and less stress!

RELATED: Control Your Inner She-Hulk, Girl: 6 Soothing Ways To Let Anger Go

Dr. Lisa Webb is the author of the “Executive Marriage Solution: Translating Boardroom Success into Bedroom Bliss”. She is also an entrepreneur, President and CEO of Body & Mind Consulting, and Chief Relationship Officer at Executive Relationship Advisor.