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I have to confess I’m pretty hot-tempered, and I come by it honestly. While my dad was calm when angry, my mom had a fiery temper. I used to literally run and hide from her when she started raging, especially since she had a habit of throwing things. When she was really mad, her aim was deadly accurate!
I take after my mother, except that I don’t throw or punch things. Unfortunately, there are plenty of other anger-induced behaviors that can lead to regret.
I’ve learned the hard way all about letting my temper get the best of me. Some things, once said, can never really be taken back. They leave a filthy residue, even after a sincere apology has been offered and accepted. Who needs that?
So I have some coping strategies I’ve learned over time.
These are strategies from our Prophet ﷺ that have worked the best for me when I’m REALLY MAD!
Change position and make Wudu
I have found this works! If you are sitting when you get mad, stand, and if you’re standing, sit. If that doesn’t work, then make wudu (ritual washing).
Wudu keeps your hands and mind occupied, and you are repeating things which are soothing. By the end, you are almost certainly going to be more calm and level-headed.
Be calm and silent
I find this to be very difficult sometimes. But if I can stop just long enough to make the decision to spend some time being calm and silent, it definitely helps!
If you want to know more about his advice regarding anger management, you can read this.
Expanding on this idea a bit, one thing that REALLY works for me is specific WAITING PERIODS!
If someone puts me in a rage online (that almost never happens, right?), and I want to fire back and maybe even take revenge…set the whole place on fire!!! GRRRR!!!!… I make myself wait before taking any drastic action. Usually for 24 hours.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily mean I manage to remain completely silent. I wish! 🙂
But it does stop me from full-on rage and drastic steps, like–gasp!–flipping out and deleting my account on the offending forum.
Wait Wait Wait…
If it’s noon when a conflict breaks out, then I have to wait until noon or later the next day before taking any concrete steps. I almost always decide NOT to do whatever I was going to do. I can’t even think of a time where it seemed like a good idea after some cooling off!
But if I’m still iffy after one waiting period, sometimes I’ll defer for another 24 hours, just to be sure. By then I often can’t imagine why I thought of doing such a thing in the first place!
Even if I do still take some action after all that waiting and contemplating, it’s much less drastic and more likely to be constructive rather than destructive.
What are some strategies that work for you?