Even in times when full-on anger is justified, social protocol sometimes prevents you from truly venting. Here, how to express yourself without coming off like a hothead or a doormat.

By Jenna McCarthy
August 17, 2014
Kang Kim

  • Smile. You can’t work yourself into a rage without an angry face. Relax the muscles in your jaw, forehead, and lips to keep cool, then eke out a grin.

  • Look ahead. Will this thing matter in five minutes? Five months? Five years? If not, why bother wasting energy on it?

  • Put yourself in charge. Saying “I am choosing not to get angry about this” (or the opposite) can be empowering.

  • Adopt a more flexible philosophy of life. A few truths: Things won’t always go your way. Accidents happen. The world is an imperfect place. Repeat as necessary.

  • Think of the harm you may cause. Say your child comes home past his curfew. Your options are screaming (outcome: an ugly late-night shouting match) or telling him that you’re quite upset and that you’ll talk first thing in the morning (outcome: a more coherent and calm discussion).