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How to Recover from an Anger Attack

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Expert advice on how to control your anger and manage your reaction, from Perry Buffington, PhD.
Question: "My cube mate called my haircut a mullet. I'm furious! How should I deal with my anger?"

Answer: You could snidely point out how her ballet flats accentuate her cankles, or you can chill things out by reminding yourself that anger is a biological response, not just an emotion, suggests Perry Buffington, PhD, author of Cheap Psychological Tricks (Peachtree, 1996). "Humans are programmed to react with anger as a means of self-protection," he says. "Your body doesn't differentiate between a blow to your pride or a matter of life and death, so when we feel offended, we're wired to react as though it's a threat to our life."

Instead of laying a verbal smackdown, think about the possible motivations for her behavior. Then "count to 10 and ask yourself whether this is a true threat," says Buffington. Getting some perspective makes it easier to remember that although your feelings may be hurt, it's not going to kill you.

Originally published in Fitness magazine, January 2006.


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