I can’t find a way to keep my short temper in check

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company employee in my 20s, and I easily lose my temper.

I can’t hide my anger. When I’m angry, I sometimes ignore the person talking to me, speak in angry tones or vent my frustration on objects. I know it’s not good, but I simply can’t control myself.

I always get angry over trivial matters. For example, I lose my temper when I’m forced to complete a task at work, although I don’t think it’s my work. I also get angry when somebody intervenes in my work, breaks into my conversation, ignores me and so on.

People usually grow less angry as they become older. However, I’m becoming more and more short-tempered year by year. I feel low and begin to dislike myself when I think my anger will forever prevent my happiness. People probably think I’m a problem.

I want to improve the situation, but I can’t ask people for advice for the very reason that I’m just too impatient. I tried taking up a hobby to calm myself, but it just ended up frustrating me more.

How can I keep my mind calm and live my life without losing my temper?

F, Kyoto Prefecture

Dear Ms. F:

You say you easily lose your temper, but I have my doubts. Usually when a person becomes so angry that they express it to others, trouble arises between that person and their colleagues or neighbors. But your letter makes no mention of such trouble.

It may be that other people are much less concerned about the matter than you are. Since you are aware that you’re losing your temper, it’s possible you have already controlled it to some extent.

People quick to lose their temper have lost the ability to tolerate other people’s behavior.

If we are filled with happiness, we can be tolerant of other people. If not, we are easily irritated.

You may be making efforts to control yourself and be more patient. However, you should instead be thinking about what you can do to satisfy your own needs in the present.

The frustration and dissatisfaction in your mind turn into anger against other people. The key to making yourself less ill-tempered is to make yourself happy first.

Junko Umihara, psychiatrist

(from April 2, 2016, issue)Speech

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