Tools to Tame a Temper: Self-Awareness & Self-Control
Because anger can be powerful, managing it is sometimes challenging. It takes plenty of self-awareness and self-control to manage angry feelings. And these skills take time to develop.
Self-awareness is the ability to notice what you're feeling and thinking, and why. Little kids aren't very aware of what they feel, they just act it out in their behavior. That's why you see them having tantrums when they're mad. But teens have the mental ability to be self-aware. When you get angry, take a moment to notice what you're feeling and thinking.
Self-control is all about thinking before you act. It puts some precious seconds or minutes between feeling a strong emotion and taking an action you'll regret.
Together, self-awareness and self-control allow you to have more choice about how to act when you're feeling an intense emotion like anger.
Getting Ready to Make a Change
Deciding to get control of your anger — rather than letting it control you — means taking a good hard look at the ways you've been reacting when you get mad. Do you tend to yell and scream or say hurtful, mean, disrespectful things? Do you throw things, kick or punch walls, break stuff? Hit someone, hurt yourself, or push and shove others around?
For most people who have trouble harnessing a hot temper, reacting like this is not what they want. They feel ashamed by their behavior and don't think it reflects the real them, their best selves.
Everyone can change — but only when they want to. If you want to make a big change in how you're handling your anger, think about what you'll gain from that change. More self-respect? More respect from other people? Less time feeling annoyed and frustrated? A more relaxed approach to life? Remembering why you want to make the change can help.
It can also help to remind yourself that making a change takes time, practice, and patience. It won't happen all at once. Managing anger is about developing new skills and new responses. As with any skill, like playing basketball or learning the piano, it helps to practice over and over