Do you ever get so angry you feel like you’re going to explode? Does it seem to happen often? Losing your temper is not a great feeling, and it’s not healthy spiritually or physically. The following advice might help you calm down—and hold on to your friends and your sanity.

Quick Relief

When you feel yourself beginning to get angry, sometimes it’s best to channel your energy into something else. Try one of these remedies.

  • Count to ten. Or from 100 to 1, backwards. Or to 20 in a foreign language. Whatever it takes.

  • Go for a walk. It helps to remove yourself physically from whatever is frustrating you.

  • Read an uplifting book. The scriptures work nicely.

  • Listen to calming music. There is a saying that music can soothe the savage beast; when you’re angry, you just might feel like one.

  • Sing a hymn, or just hum one quietly to yourself.

  • Squeeze a rubber ball or some other small, unbreakable object.

  • Look for some humor in the situation. This might be easier than you think.

  • Look on the bright side. Is there anything good, anything at all, that might come from this?

  • Think of a scripture or a favorite quote about staying calm.

  • Go play some basketball, run a mile, or kick your anger away with a soccer ball.

  • Take a few deep breaths and think twice before you say anything. If you don’t, you might later regret opening your mouth now.

  • Ask yourself if it could be your fault. Are you to blame for whatever has you fuming? Do you know the whole story? If other people are involved, always give them the benefit of the doubt.

  • Talk to someone about how you feel. It helps to talk about your feelings, and a friend may have some good advice or at least a different point of view.

  • Think how Christ would act in this situation. What would he do?

  • Say a prayer. Ask Heavenly Father to help you relax and do the right thing.

Whatever You Do, Don’t …

Some actions might seem justified at the time, but really only make things worse. So whatever you do—

  • Don’t swear or take the Lord’s name in vain.

  • Don’t take your own frustrations out on people, pets, or breakable objects.

  • Don’t look for revenge.

  • Don’t develop bad habits, like overeating or going shopping whenever your temper flares.

  • Don’t hold a grudge.

  • Don’t use “the silent treatment.”

Three Good Questions

Here are three good questions to ask yourself when your temper flares:

  • Is the object of my anger really worth my continued attention?

  • Do I have a good reason for being upset?

  • Can I do anything about it?

If the answer to any of these is no, don’t waste your time worrying. If there is something you can do to help, don’t get angry—get busy.

What the Scriptures Say

The scriptures have much to say about losing your temper. For starters, try Matthew 5:44 [Matt. 5:44] (love your enemies); D&C 64:10 (forgive all men); Matthew 5:39 [Matt. 5:39] (turn the other cheek); 3 Nephi 11:29 [3 Ne. 11:29] (the spirit of contention is of the devil); and Proverbs 16:32 [Prov. 16:32] (be slow to anger).

Photograph by John Luke