The relentless Summer heat, unusual for New England, is a recipe for exploded tempers. Here are some ways to keep your cool, whatever the temperature.
We all know when it happens: the “Incredible Hulk” moment when a situation has provoked an uncontrollable monster of temper to burst out of us. But besides vainly hoping that life doesn’t vex us beyond our capacity to handle it, can we control our temper before it controls us? Through understanding your triggers and how to respond to them, you -not the temper within- can be in control of responding to tough situations.
Demystifying the Beast
What turns your temper from simmer to full boil? Understanding your triggers is the first step. Write down what tends to make you angry to the point of losing your temper. Odds are, your list will include some of the following: being taken for granted, being told you are wrong when you are convinced you are right, being made to feel physically or emotionally unsafe, feeling disrespected in front of someone whose opinion of you is important, feeling like you have “no way out” of a situation.
From Mountain Lion to House Cat
Life keeps happening, the only thing you can really control is your response to it. These three tips are a beginner’s crib sheet to keeping you from slipping out of control when faced with seemingly impossible temper outbursts.
- Develop an “antidotes” list that corresponds to your list of triggers. Did you just get embarrassed in an important social setting? Before you lash out at the nearest target, remember that this is one of your triggers and try to thoughtfully respond instead of blindly reacting. An “I meant to do that,” or “Now that I have everyone’s attention…” can turn a minus into a plus.
- Develop a standard “out.” Taking a bathroom break during the heat of an argument or tense situation can be an effective way to find a private moment to calm down and regroup, for example.
- Get it out of your system another, healthier, way. Exercise, primal screams (in private), cleaning, meditation are all alternative outlets to release your temper in controlled ways. If you don’t get it out one way, it will certainly come out in other ones.
The next time you feel the Hulk itching to burst out of you, take a deep breath, remember this article, and take control. You can do it. You and the world will be better for it.