24 Tips for How to Deal with Anger—and Calm Down Fast

Diffuse the situation with laughter


When dealing with angry family members, find a way to make them laugh. This is a trick family therapists often use, says Dr. Jordan. So, for instance, take a quick digital photo of yourself with a silly or contrite expression, print it out, and put it on a family member’s pillow. Or do some silly dancing together, or hide a gift in the mashed potatoes served at dinner. The point is to do something together that is lighthearted and fun. Not only does this defuse the anger, but it reminds everyone that you are in this family together, forever, and that love and forgiveness remain in ample supply.

Understand how to move forward


Remember that anger is really a messenger. So ask yourself exactly what is bothering you right now. Use the anger as a simple indication that something can and should be changed to improve things in the future.

Don’t put your anger on display


Remember, too, that displays of anger don’t accomplish anything except to anger or intimidate others. It is not a disciplinary tool, a communication method, or an emotional weapon for how to deal with anger. It is a damaging, personal, emotional state that is symptomatic of an underlying problem. So don’t ever let yourself use anger as a threat, particularly with your children. Your anger should be your problem, not theirs.

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