Losing your temper frequently will damage physical and mental health, but you can learn to stay cool when faced with minor irritations. "While our emotions might be hard to control, we always have control over how we want to respond and react to any given situation," says Ari Novick, a California-based licensed family and marriage therapist and certified anger-management counselor. Some advice:
•Pretend a camera is on you. You're much less likely to rant at the creep who stole your parking space if you imagine yourself as a joke on YouTube.
•Walk away — or even better, run. If you can, retreat to a place where you can blow off some steam by doing a few jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups or stair sprints. Exercise will release feel-good hormones and calm your mind.
•Practice empathy. Instead of writing "mean" people off as jerks, think about stressors that may be affecting them: Maybe they have a sick loved one, for example, or they are struggling with money problems. Then remember what you're grateful for in your own life.
•Express your feelings — calmly. Instead of yelling at the cashier after a long wait in line at the grocery store, commiserate with her about how hard such busy days can be on everyone.
•Get your stress under control. Good daily stress management will keep you from snapping as easily in tense situations. Exercise regularly, eat properly, get adequate sleep and practice a relaxing activity such as meditation or yoga.
How to keep from losing your temper