4 ways to keep your cool in anger-inducing situations

When you're stuck in traffic, before you blow your cool over that slow driver in front of you, imagine it's your grandmother.
When you're stuck in traffic, before you blow your cool over that slow driver in front of you, imagine it's your grandmother.Getty Images stock / Today

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By TODAY Health

By Laura Roberson

Men's Health

Having one of those days where things just aren't going your way and you want to yell, scream and pull your hair out? Well, hold tight with these solutions to stress-inducing situations.

The situation: Your parking spot was stolen

Of course you're key-their-car mad. "The angry response is the natural response," says Leon James, Ph.D., a psychology professor and founder of DrDriving.org. To quiet your impulse to flip the bird, roar like a lion. Sure, it feels silly; that's the point. "The situation becomes humorous," James says. "If you control yourself for those first 10 seconds, then reason can take over."

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The situation: Someone is talking during a movie

Tell yourself what seems like rudeness may just be a bad habit. "We're so used to speaking while watching TV at home that some people don't differentiate between the two," says Pier Forni, Ph.D., author of The Civility Solution. Take a light approach: "My wife is a big fan of Clooney--she'll die if she misses this. Mind keeping it down?" If that fails, see a manager. Another alternative: Learn The 2-Minute Trick to More Self Control.

The situation: A slow driver is in the fast lane

Before you ride Grandma's bumper, pretend the driver is your grandma. "If you pick somebody you wouldn't express negative emotions to, then you're less likely to trigger a negative response," says James. Then address the underlying aggravator: You're feeling trapped. Roll your window down or scoot your seat back a bit until you find a safe opportunity to pass.

This situation: You're calling customer service

As soon as the rep answers, establish a rapport by addressing him (or her) by name, says Ed Gagnon, president of Customer Service Solutions. So when you're fed the "That's just our policy" line, you can say, "John, can you explain the policy and what my alternatives are?" Using his name reminds you he's an actual person, which can help keep you calm.

Even though life can be aggravating, just remind yourself of these 10 Things That Aren't Worth the Fight.

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