You can’t believe they did it. Of all people, turning on you this way! You want to react in kind, giving what you got, drawing on the anger flowing through you to lash out. Make the other person hurt every bit as much as you do right now.
Wait a minute!
You can’t. You are not that person.
You don’t even want to BE that person.
You’re better than this.
But how do you stop anger in its tracks before it gets the best of you?
Take a Walk
The physical act of walking will burn off some of the adrenaline while getting outside will give you a distracting change in scenery. And it works even better if you’re walking away from the object of your anger. Sometimes all you need is some space.
Pay Attention to your Muscles
Like walking, any exercise is good. Anger tends to tighten you up, so a good stretch, or even better practicing progressive muscle relaxation, will help to knock the tension out.
Choose a pet phrase or mantra which calms you. Say it several times, slowly, and deliberately to put your focus elsewhere.
Escape somewhere else. Remove yourself from the situation that has made you mad and find a quiet place where you can visualize something peaceful. Build in as much detail as you can to make it as real as possible. Stay in this vision until you feel yourself start to calm down.
Do Something Grand
Take your anger and turn it into activism. How can you use this to change the world? Sign (or start!) a petition. Volunteer. Get involved in the community and make the world a better place.
Write About It
Journaling can help you to work through your emotions in a way that might even help prevent you from choosing anger the next time around. Understanding what it was about the event which triggered you will help reshape the trigger entirely.
It can be hard to use empathy when you’re upset. But if you can see things from their perspective, it might help you to calm your response. Many times anger comes from misunderstanding the situation.
This technique falls under expert level anger management. By being the bigger person and forgiving the other, you’ll find you no longer have reason to be angry at all.
The key to all of these is simple: don’t let anger take control. The last thing you need is to fall under the power of negative emotion. Make the choice to use your anger to make a better place or let it go entirely. In the end, you’ll be happier you did.