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How to Control Your Anger and Keep Conflict at Bay

Illustration of a woman under thunder cloud and sun
Leif Parsons

4. Talk About the Weather

If someone is agitated—say, a guest in our hotel is upset about her room—I immediately start chatting about something ordinary: where she’s planning to go for dinner or if she’s enjoying the sunny day. Of course, I will try to fix the guest’s problem. But by finding an inoffensive subject to discuss in the meantime, I distract both of us from the source of the negativity.

Karen Giobbia is the concierge manager at the Park Hyatt Chicago.

5. Yell at an Empty Chair

You need to let your emotions out. But instead of engaging in an argument, imagine that the person you’re frustrated with is sitting in a chair in front of you. Give yourself 10 minutes to say heated, irrational things to “him.” This will get the pent-up anger out of your system without creating any consequences. Let’s say your husband is always late and you’re just sick of it. Yell, “You drive me crazy because you’re never on time! I’m tired of waiting for you!” When you’re done venting, you’ll be able to think of constructive things to say to the actual person.

Mary Hayes Grieco is the training director of the Midwest Institute for Forgiveness Training, in Minneapolis, and the author of Unconditional Forgiveness: A Simple and Proven Method to Forgive Everyone and Everything ($15, amazon.com).