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10 Ways to Control Your Fiery Temper

10 Ways to Control Your Fiery Temper

Annie Tucker Morgan | DivineCaroline

January 12, 2011

How to Control It
If you’re experiencing frequent negative outbursts or feelings of rage, or are finding that your relationships with your family members, friends, or coworkers are suffering as a result of your volatile behavior, free anger-management resources abound online. The Mayo Clinic, for example, offers ten tips for taming a bad temper on its website. These include:

1. Take a time-out; count to ten before reacting outwardly to an aggravating situation.
2. Give yourself time away from the person you’re angry with.
3. Once you’re calm, express your anger in a nonconfrontational way.
4. Get some exercise.
5. Think carefully before you say anything.
6. Identify solutions to the situation.
7. Use “I” statements when describing the problem.
8. Don’t hold a grudge.
9. Use humor to release tensions.
10. Practice relaxation skills.

Another tactic to try is the STAR-R approach. The first step is to stop when you feel yourself becoming angry, and notice the physical symptoms that are beginning to overtake you. Second, think about what the consequences would be if you lost control; this exercise will engage your brain and thus distract you from giving the object of your anger a tongue lashing (or worse). Third, ask yourself what the true cause of your anger is. Is the person you’re blaming the actual root, or are you in fact disappointed about an unmet expectation and scapegoating those closest to you for it? Fourth, reduce your anger by going for a walk or hitting the gym, taking a cold shower, practicing deep-breathing exercises, or listening to your favorite music. And fifth, once you’ve completed these steps and have calmed down, reward yourself by treating yourself to a nice lunch, a movie, or quality time with a loved one.

If you’ve attempted to implement these techniques and discover that you’re still grappling with rage, grudges, and vengeful impulses, seeing a psychologist who specializes in anger therapy and taking anger-management classes are more structured alternatives that can give you the extra support you need to change your behavior. And if you simply can’t keep your hostility contained, there’s always the Internet—websites like and provide public forums where hotheads can get the lead out with impunity.

Take a Chill Pill
We can’t eliminate anger altogether from our lives, but that doesn’t mean it has to be our MO, either. As with most behaviors, moderation is the key to happiness. So if you find yourself getting worked up, take a step back and assess your situation before you do any real damage. If you’ve already allowed yourself to become furious with someone and continue wishing him or her ill will, think about why holding a grudge seems more fruitful than learning to forgive. And if you become aware that you wake up angry and go to bed angry most days, realize that the best thing you can do to achieve long-term happiness is to solicit help from a professional who can equip you with the tools to live and let live—because no revenge fantasy is as satisfying as authentic inner peace.

This article was originally published on

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