How can I control my temper?

BY: Hannah A Amoah

Dear Auntie Betty, I am in junior high school Form One. I have realised that I easily get angry at little things. Some of the issues are so trivial, but I end up turning them into serious cases.
When that happens, I say things or behave in ways that I later regret.
How do I control my temper? I do not want to lose my friends.
Worried Girl,
Oyarifa, Accra.

Dear Worried Girl, It is good you have realised you have a problem and are willing to work on it. That is the first step towards addressing the problem - acknowledging the fact that you have a problem.
While it is good to express your emotions, there is the need to control how you express them, so that you do not go to extremes. As you have observed, getting angry makes you do or say things that you regret later. You need to watch it because uncontrolled anger could lead to arguments, physical fight, abuse, among others.
According to experts, anger is often a sign that someone is struggling to process or cope with a more deep-seated emotion. They say it could also simply stem from the stress and pressures of adolescence. Others include low self-esteem, bullying, pressure at school or conflicts at home.
It is necessary to know what triggers you to get angry and deal with that. There are a few things that you could do to help you manage your anger.
Experts advise that you learn assertive skills — this is where you learn how to stand up for yourself in an appropriate manner. You have to learn how to speak up without violating anyone’s rights.
Again, they recommend that you learn how to recognise some warning signs about when you are getting angry — this may be an increasing heartbeat. Experts say when you notice a sign, take action by taking a break, taking in a few deep breaths or count up to 10 in your mind.
They also advise that you take a quick break in a private space to gather your thoughts when you are getting angry or end the conversation or argument when it is getting heated.
Learn to be tolerant and respect others’ views. Even when you don’t agree with other people, don’t say it in a way that you will end up arguing and cause you to be angry. Avoid arguing over controversial issues.
You could talk to your parents and the school counselor about your anger issues. They will be of great help too.
It is also important that you channel your energy into physical activities or things that you enjoy doing. Take life easy and be nice to all those you come across.
All the best.