I hate losing my temper. When I blow my top, I feel upset at myself because I’ve just wasted precious energy for little to no reason. And I don’t like wasting energy. I’m tired enough as it is. So, without further waiting, here are five things I do to help diffuse my hot temper.
1.) Be aware. Very aware.
I wouldn’t be able to see how pointless and silly losing my temper was unless I looked at it carefully in terms of its source. Breaking my pen, seeing someone make a mistake, and driving behind a slow driver are not the REAL reasons why I want to chomp someone’s head off. It’s much deeper than that. I’ve become so angry at my PhD rejections and myself for making mistakes in the admission process that I’ve transformed the whole thing into a raging beast. I haven’t let this beast go so it roars and snarls at the slightest annoyance. This is the real problem and the sooner I deal with it, the better. It’s an ongoing process. However, being aware about the genuine source helps me win half the battle. Winning the war comes very soon after. I believe it.
2.) Do absolutely nothing the second the blood starts to boil. NOTHING.
I don’t know about other people, but I know exactly when I feel about ready to pounce and lose my temper. My heart beats quickly, and I clench my teeth and fists. My mouth is just itching to throw up some verbal vomit. During this seething moment, I remain absolutely still. I don’t say anything and let time pass. As time goes on, I realize I’m getting angry for no reason at all, and the bomb diffuses. Poof. Whew! Apocalypse averted.
3.) Take the time while doing absolutely nothing to think.
While I’m trying to keep my temper under control by doing nothing, I think about the awful things I want to say and do and how those things would hurt the person on the receiving end and myself.
4.) Laugh. Or Smile. Or do both.
No, seriously. Laugh. Even if it’s the last thing I want to do, I smile and then laugh. It’s true what they say about smiling. Moving all those facial muscles to grin sends a small wave of happiness over me and I’m able to breathe out air instead of fire.
5.) If the top still blows, apologize right away and explain.
Sometimes, try as I might, I lose my temper anyway and drop the guillotine. I know the person receiving my wrath isn’t at fault. So I apologize and do something nice: like buy flowers, pay for gas, get a coffee, or anything to show that I’m genuinely sorry. I also let the person know that I’m not angry with them and I’m trying to work out some personal issues. I don’t like apologizing much, so knowing that I have to apologize when I lose it helps me to avoid losing it all together.
And there you have it. My five step program in choosing peace and leaving hell. How about you? What do you do to avoid losing your temper? Would love to hear your thoughts.