Experts reveal 6 tips for getting your temper under control | New York Post

Life is aggravating and learning to keep your cool when you’d rather blow your top is one of its great lessons.

Known as the “Anger Professor,” Ryan Martin, author of “Why We Get Mad: How to Use Your Anger for Positive Change” notes that rage brings ruin to our internal flight or fight system, “Your muscles tense up, your heart rate increases, you breathe more rapidly, your digestive system slows down or stops,” effects that can lead to stomach issues, neck and back pain and severe headaches.

Martin also points out the adverse effects of behaviors that people adopt to cope with their anger. “We often see people who experience a lot of anger tend to drink more and tend to do other drugs more and drive dangerously…They speed more, change lanes inconsistently [and are] more likely to run red lights.”

In a surprise to no one, Martin reports the negative impact of anger on personal relationships as unchecked aggression can translate to emotional distancing and all manner of fights; verbal, physical, or online.

Indeed, anger is hell on your relationships and hard on your heart.

A new study published in JAMA found that one eight-minute episode of anger negatively affects blood vessel function… In an interview with Yahoo Life, lead author Dr. Daichi Shimbo, notes that over time a short fuse operates as a “chronic insult to your arteries” and can lead to a heart attack and strokes.


As anger can seriously affect your mental health and physical well-being, experts have provided the following recommendations for reigning in rage.

Take care of yourself

The first step in fighting (no pun intended) anger is to take measures to prevent it. “If you’re already tense, angry, hungry — all of those things influence how angry you get when you experience some sort of stimulus or provocation,” Martin says.

So get right by staying on schedule and well-stocked with snacks.

Limit what provokes you

Though it sounds simple, Martin recommends that people identify what provokes them and take measures to limit how much time they spend engaging in that activity. Does driving make you heated? Consider alternative transportation. Does watching sports bring out your hostility? Tune in and turn it off.

If your trigger is something less avoidable, like work for instance, The Post has you covered with a list of tips for staying calm when your career drives you to your limits.

Less judgment, more compassion

As Yahoo Life reports, “People with anger management issues are provoked by others because they feel like they know best and think that it is their job to teach people a lesson.” This paternalistic stance is damaging to relationships and fuels the fire of anger.

NYC psychologist Greg Kushnick encourages clients to put themselves in the shoes of the person causing them ire. He tells Yahoo Life, “Know when you’re triggered and then be able to say ‘Who am I to judge?’ You want to defuse your own judgment with innocuous situations [because it] can be translated into more high-stakes situations with a child, parent, partner [or] colleague.”

Calm down

Deep breathing exercises and visualization techniques can help diffuse anger. If breathing in, leaning back, and picturing yourself in a serene forest fails to make you feel serene, Kushnick maintains, that walking away may be your best bet, “Removing yourself from a contentious situation is likely to change your emotions.”

Let anger be your friend

Anger can be a force for motivation and empowered change, as some have said, “Your anger loves you and wants you to be happy.”

Martin concurs, “It’s often a normal, healthy response to injustice or to having goals blocked … so the goal isn’t always to reduce anger, it’s to experience it in a healthy way and channel it into healthy and productive ways of dealing with it.”

He recommends using anger as a tool to inspire positive actions like self-advocacy or letters to your local lawmakers.

While venting has proven to be counterproductive to processing, The Post reports that writing your angry feelings down on a piece of paper can work wonders for moving through negative emotions.

Seek help If you need it

If your anger is ruling your life and robbing you of its richness, seek help. How to know when it’s time? Martin advises, “If you see yourself regularly getting into physical or verbal fights or regularly coping with your anger in unhealthy ways, it might be time to see a professional. I think that’s especially true if you’ve taken steps to address it on your own, and you haven’t been able to.”

Source: Experts (including UW-Green Bay’s yan Martin) reveal 6 tips for getting your temper under control, New York Post, May 17

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