A problem with anger and impulse control can affect every aspect of your life. It can put you and those that you love at risk, both physically and by circumstance. Loosing your temper inappropriately can lose you your job, get you in trouble at school, and alienate your relationships. If you struggle with your anger, here are some ways to learn how to control it:
Learn Your Triggers
Pay attention to the things that make you angry. Words, situations, and times of day are all possible triggers for angry behavior. Some people need to make sure they are well fed, as low blood sugar causes a problem for them. Others find that not having a cigarette or enough sleep will make their situation worse. For others still, being in a room that is very messy or loud will cause a problem. Whatever your own personal issues are,
Pause and Take a Breath
Once you begin to understand the kinds of things which make you mad, you can often prevent rising anger from becoming rages. Breathe, count to ten, walk away, or find a thought or set of words that calms you. Then, each time you are in a trigger activity, have your calming mantra or ritual ready. This is especially effective if your ritual is something you can do anytime, anyplace, and then get back to whatever you were doing.
Meditate or Medicate
For some, anger is about more than just a personality trait. It may also be about something chemical in your body. For some, regular meditation can serve to calm certain mental pathways that lead only to rage for you. The changes in brain function for those who regularly meditate have been shown, particularly in the case of buddhist monks. For others, it may take some sort of medication. It is important to note that medications are most effective when combined with talk therapy that gives you the skills to cope with your life. The medication change may not even be a psychiatric drug. For some, a hormonal shift that requires a hormone supplement or change in formula for birth control may be enough to get your temper under control.
Finally, there have been a lot of recent studies that show that people can gain a calmer demeanor by spending a certain amount of time every day outside and unplugged from any form of device. Try spending one weekend per month camping, hiking, or fishing and see if it helps you to calm. If you're not very outdoorsy, or have fear of such places, then start small. Go for walks in the park every day, just go somewhere that is more green than concrete, and that has few people around to distract you.