Keep a lid on anger
People gliding slowly through the mall when you’re in a rush, the driver in front failing to indicate or your boss dumping extra work on your desk - they’re all things that make temperatures rise.
If you’ve found yourself screaming at poor taxi drivers for not knowing exactly where in Umm Suqeim your best friend’s villa is or beeping your horn because a mother failed to push her buggy fast enough, it could be time to look at ways to prevent yourself reaching boiling point.
Pretend you’re someone you admire, suggests chartered psychologist Annie Hinchliff. Lots of people who get angry a lot do so because they lack self-esteem and feel frustrated.
“One man I saw imagined he was George Clooney when he got angry,” says Hinchliff.
“That gave him the confidence and authority to deal with situations calmly and coolly.” Don’t fool yourself. When caught in a rage try to remember that anger causes delusion. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, it encourages your mind to see things in a superficial way and exaggerates the negative qualities of the person you’re furious with, until they appear unattractive, unreasonable and faulty. This makes damaging behaviour - such as shouting or violence - seem more acceptable.
So as your anger rises, pause and try to see why this person is acting in a certain way. Understanding is generally the first step to resolving a conflict, says Hinchliff.
Follow these top tips for reducing anger:
Change the tape
Try to adjust your mental vocabulary, says Dr Saima Latif a chartered psychologist. “Stop thinking in words like ‘never’ and ‘always’, such as ‘this always happens to me’, or ‘I never get recognition for my work’.
“Balance those negative thoughts with more encouraging phrases, such as ‘I’ll try to handle this well’, or ‘it might be possible to...’.” Gradually, you will feel more positive and controlled, reducing the tendency to explode in a rage.
Don’t keep it sweet
Eat less sugar. Researchers at the Cambridge University found, that those who take in a lot of refined sugar are likely to get irritated when it isn’t available.
Dr Latif says that withdrawal symptoms can be avoided by gradually reducing sugar intake and snacking on something healthy, such as fruit or nuts.
Hit the snooze button
Have a nap. Not only is anger an exhausting emotion but when you’re sleep-deprived, you’ll get more irritated, more quickly. An American study suggested sleep deprivation interferes with people’s ability to distinguish between the facial expressions of others, specifically being able to tell if they’re happy or angry.
“Any hobby can be good. One patient had too much time on her hands to ruminate about things... so she took up belly dancing and cross stitch,” says Dr Latif.
Women tend to benefit from relaxing hobbies, while men are more likely to have aggressive energy and sport is a great outlet.
Talk it out
Make yourself heard. Providing you don’t get abusive or shout, there’s nothing wrong with saying, ‘I’m annoyed’, says Dr Latif. “You’re entitled, in the right setting, to express strongly how you feel so a situation could be improved. You may even gain some respect for your cool assertiveness.”