How to Get Over Being Angry

One of the things I’ve been hearing in my recent Comfort Zone to Confidence Zone programs is that participants have gotten stuck feeling angry – angry at a frustrating boss, anger at an ‘ex’, frustrated with a difficult family member, etc.

When you are angry it creates a negative energy in you and takes your focus away from what you want to accomplish. In the program we went over 10 strategies to turn around your anger on a dime. To give you a taste of what we discussed, here are 3 tips you can start using today:

1. Shift your “inner voice” - When you are angry or frustrated with someone you tend to ‘talk to them”, or “talk about them” in your own mind. You might say variations on a theme of “Why does she do that?”; “Stop treating me that way”, “He shouldn’t have done that, it was unfair”, “You are so selfish”, etc. As long as you are talking “to” or “about” the other person in your own mind (and not doing anything in the world of reality), you are perpetuating your experience of not having any control over the situation.

You can change that in an instance if you stop talking “to” or “about” the other person, and start talking “to yourself.” Use “I” statements and focus on what you can control within the situation. Examples might include: make a game plan about what you CAN do, talk to yourself in a less harsh tone, focus on how you can trust yourself to handle whatever is thrown at you, etc.

2. “Cool down” your physiology -Anger and frustration “heat up” your physiology so you want to do something that ‘cools’ you down. Try doing a breathing technique in which you breathe in slowly through your mouth, and exhale slowly through your nose. After a few breathes, you will notice a cooling effect on your tongue and a slowing down of your breathe. (You can do this even in the middle of a heated meeting or argument with a partner – it will have the effect of cooling down everyone in the situation).

. Change your perspective -When you are angry at someone else, you tend to think they are doing their behavior “on purpose”, or in some way “to get you”. Try explaining the person’s behavior in a different way, i.e., “tell a different story” about why they are doing what they are doing. What would you think about them if you gave them the ‘benefit of the doubt?’

Generally people do what they do ‘for a good reason’. It’ their best,even if ineffective, effort to achieve the same things you want, i.e., to feel good about themselves and accomplish their goals. If a person is doing something so hurtful , so annoying, or so ineffective it is an opportunity for you to have compassion that if this is the best they can do it won’t ever add up to a happy life for them.

The participants in my programs learn how to be effective at getting other people to do what they want and to feel confident in themselves so others’ behavior doesn’t bother them anymore. They master the idea in one of my favorite quotes:

“The best revenge is a good life” — Gertrude Stein

If you or someone you know could use skills to get over being angry, join my upcoming 7 week program starting in May. I’m offering it again because I received so many requests to do so, and I don’t have any plans to offer it again this year. Sign up now, early registration fee ends April 25th.


Sharon Melnick, Ph.D. ‘helps talented and successful people get out of their own way’. She is a psychologist and executive coach for numerous fortune 500 companies and solo business owners. Through research at Harvard Medical School she developed techniques busy professionals use to break through obstacles so they quickly reach goals and dramatically reduce self imposed stress. To make your thoughts work for you instead of against you so you can stop wasting time, download her free audi...

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