🤑🤨😴 This article was co-authored by Kelli Miller, LCSW, MSW. Kelli Miller is a Psychotherapist, Author, and TV/radio host based in Los Angeles, California. Kelli is currently in private practice and specializes in individual and couples' relationships, depression, anxiety, sexuality, communication, parenting, and more. Kelli also facilitates groups for those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction as well as anger management groups. As an author, she received a Next Generation Indie Book Award for her book "Thriving with ADHD: A Workbook for Kids" and also wrote "Professor Kelli's Guide to Finding a Husband". Kelli was a host on LA Talk Radio, a relationship expert for The Examiner, and speaks globally. You can also see her work on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/kellibmiller, Instagram @kellimillertherapy, and her website: www.kellimillertherapy.com. She received her MSW (Masters of Social Work) from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Sociology/Health from the University of Florida.
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🤑🤨😴 Having close family and friends who can act as your support system is proven to make you healthier and happier.XResearch source However, it's not always so easy to keep friends or family around, especially if you're mean or constantly have a negative attitude towards them. Luckily, it doesn't have to be this way forever. If you practice kindness daily and work to control your anger, you can become a nicer person and strengthen meaningful relationships with others.
Method 1Method 1 of 3:Controlling Your Anger
- 1Use a relaxation techniques to calm yourself.XExpert SourceKelli Miller, LCSW, MSW
PsychotherapistExpert Interview. 21 July 2020. As soon as you start to notice that you are feeling angry, take a moment to calm yourself. One good way to do this is by using a relaxation technique.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Psychological AssociationLeading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologistsGo to source Some options include:
- 2Challenge unrealistic statements or thoughts. Unrealistic thought patterns can intensify feelings of anger, so try to identify and challenge these as they occur.XExpert SourceKelli Miller, LCSW, MSW
PsychotherapistExpert Interview. 21 July 2020.
- For example, an unrealistic thought might be something like, "My roommate never does anything to help keep our apartment clean! I do everything!"
- Before you allow yourself to get angrier due to this thought, take a moment to decide if this is really true. Does your roommate do different things than you do to keep the apartment clean? If so, then the word "never" in this statement is not realistic.
- Try rewriting the thought or statement into something more realistic, such as "I wish my roommate would pitch in a little more than she does with household chores."
- 3Improve your problem solving skills. Having good problem solving skills can also help to reduce feelings of anger and frustration. It may help you to feel more in control, even if you are dealing with something really frustrating. This is a skill that takes time to develop, so try to be patient.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Psychological AssociationLeading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologistsGo to source
- When you are facing a problem, try taking time to identify the problem before you try to solve it. Then, make a list of all the possible solutions available to you and choose the best one. After putting your solution into action, reflect on how it went and see how you can adjust your strategy for a better result in the future.
- 4Don't let frustration or anger build up. When you don't say anything, and you're frustrated, bottling up your anger is not the best thing to do. Instead of letting frustration build to rage, speak up and confront the source of your frustration. Don't be afraid of making a situation awkward, because talking it out is better than being mean in the future.
- If you've felt disrespected or hurt by someone, you may want to inflict the same emotional pain upon them. Instead of doing this, let them know that they hurt your feelings and that you felt disrespected by their actions.
- Instead of letting your anger build, let the person know what they did wrong. Say something like "I don't like that you did that. It really makes me angry and upset."
- 5Channel your energy into something positive. Instead of using your energy to be mean to others, redirect it to a sport or hobby that you want to pursue.XExpert SourceKelli Miller, LCSW, MSW
PsychotherapistExpert Interview. 21 July 2020. Make sure to stay active. When you exercise or do something active, it releases positive endorphins in your brain that make you happier.XResearch source
- You can do a team sport like football, baseball, soccer, or hockey.
- If you don't like physical sports, try doing something creative like learning how to play an instrument or learning how to paint.
- 6Walk away when you start to get angry. Identify when your anger starts to escalate and be aware of how mad you are. When you feel like you're reaching that place, take a step back from the argument and walk away.XResearch source Be polite and explain why you're walking away. Don't leave the situation up in the air forever. Regain your composure and talk to the person again when your anger has subsided.
- You can say, "I need to take a walk because I'm getting really angry and I'm trying to stay calm. I need some time to think about this, but we can talk when I get back."
Method 2Method 2 of 3:Being Kind to Others
- 1Practice being more compassionate. Make it a point to be kinder to others, and try to see things from their perspective. Instead of making comments that would hurt someone's feelings, think of ways to make their day better. If you have the time, go out of your way to do small things for others, and they will come to appreciate you more.
- For instance, instead of making fun of someone to make yourself feel better, give them a compliment and make their day better.
- Practicing compassion can make you a healthier and happier person.XTrustworthy SourceGreater Good MagazineJournal published by UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, which uses scientific research to promote happier livingGo to source
- You can also buy a friend a small gift like candy or a book to show your appreciation for them.
- 2Develop your communication skills. Being able to listen well and communicate in a constructive, assertive way may also help you to feel in control of your anger and be kind to others.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Psychological AssociationLeading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologistsGo to source Communicating your feelings and emotions will help other people understand your frame of mind and relieve a lot of stress. Often arguments or disagreements can arise because of a lack of communication and a lack of understanding when it comes to people's motivations. Try to be more truthful in conversation, even if it makes the situation less than perfect, or you think that the person may not like you for it. Do not skirt around issues that make you feel uncomfortable.
- Put away distractions and give the person your full attention. As you listen, try to suspend judgment. Just try to understand what the person is saying and where they are coming from.
- When you express yourself, use "I" statements instead of "you" statements. Try saying things like, "I feel frustrated when you forget to pick up your dishes." Don’t say things like, "You never clean up after yourself!"
- Communicating effectively also means sometimes being vulnerable and talking about things that could be embarrassing.
- For example, if a friend does something you don't approve of, instead of yelling and saying things that you'll regret, say something like, "When you made that joke, and everyone laughed, it made me feel sad. I was humiliated, and even though you didn't think it was a big deal, it really hurt my feelings."
- 3Be more patient. People can't read your mind and for some, learning new things may take longer for them than it takes for others. Instead of escalating to anger immediately, be more patient with people. Think back to when you were doing something for the first time or when you needed help. Realize that not everyone's perfect. If someone is doing something that annoys you, instead of letting it go until you're angry, confront the person and have a conversation.
- If your roommate is tapping their pencil and it's stopping you from doing your work, say something like "Hey, I know this seems crazy, but I really can't get this paper done while you’re tapping that pencil. Do you mind stopping while I do my work?"
- 4Don't be cynical. Being cynical all the time can put you in a bad mood and make you more irritable. Typically cynicism is a defense mechanism that you're likely to employ when you are disappointed or feel let down. Instead of expressing your emotions in a healthy and constructive way, you bottle them up and minimize the impact of your feelings to other people and yourself.XResearch source This can spiral into having a negative view of the world, and it can put you in a constant state of anger.
- Don't put down other people's work or effort. Admire someone when they excel at something instead of dismissing it or minimizing it.
- Try to reduce the amount of judgment you put on others. If you don't understand a subculture or demographic of people, look to immerse yourself in their world instead of senselessly hating it.
- 5Practice empathy. Empathy involves understanding and internalizing the feelings and emotions of another person. Try to put yourself in the person's shoes, and talk to people without passing judgment on them first. When someone is experiencing pain, relate to their emotions instead of dismissing them. Engage in active listening instead of waiting for the other person to stop talking. Internalize what they are saying, and try to feel the emotions that they feel. This can give you a better understanding of their perspective and actions.
- To improve your active listening, concentrate on paying attention to what the person is saying, provide feedback to show that you're listening, and defer any judgment you may have. Instead of criticizing them, try supporting the person.
- Think back to a time when you were under similar circumstances and try to reflect on how badly it felt.
- 6Stop being defensive. Don't put walls up and don't be suspicious of everyone you meet. This hurts your interactions with others. If you've done something wrong, take personal responsibility for your actions and don't blame other people for things you've done. Be open to making new friends and improving existing friendships.
- If someone makes a valid suggestion, instead of getting angry at them for pointing out a weakness, say "You're right. I need to work on it, and I am, but it's a process."
- Instead of automatically taking comments in a negative light, ask the person "What do you mean by that?" Once they explain, it may not be as harmful as you initially thought.
Method 3Method 3 of 3:Doing Selfless Acts
- 1Help people when you see them in need. Instead of turning away or thinking that it's someone else's responsibility, do your best to help people that are in need. Think of easy things that you can do during your day to help people that can't help themselves. You could help a younger family member set up their computer or help an elderly person with their groceries.
- The more you help others on your accord, the happier you'll be.XResearch source
- 2Do more things around the house. If you're younger, this means doing your chores without being asked and genuinely trying to help when you see that your family is overwhelmed. If you are a parent or in a relationship, do something for your partner like fixing something that's been broken, or making dinner for them. Find extra things to do around the house to alleviate your partner's stress.
- Communicate with your family and ask them if there's anything else that needs to be done around the house.
- A clean and organized house can actually boost your energy and make you happier.XResearch source
- 3Be there for your friends when they need someone to talk to. Friendship is a critical aspect in your happiness. Having a support system to talk to when times are bad gives us a sense of belonging. Having friends will lower your blood pressure and you'll be less prone to depression.XResearch source However, friendship is built on communication and vulnerability. If you're mean or judgemental, friends will not want to come to you, and will not be as supportive when you need them.
- Stay attentive and listen.
- Sometimes friends don't want advice, just someone to talk to.
- If you've talked to your friend about a serious issue, it'll be easier to talk to them about serious problems in your life.
- 4Work on improving your community. If you have the time, consider volunteering at a local community center, homeless shelter, or soup kitchen near you. Look into other projects locally, like efforts to that plant trees or work to beautify your town. The more you get to know other people who are working for a positive future, the more fulfilled you'll feel, and less prone to angry outbursts.
- Volunteering with a group of people will also give you a sense of belonging to a community which will increase your happiness and make you less angry. Having a support system when times are hard can help us cope with daily stress.
- QuestionHow can I avoid saying mean things when I'm angry?Kelli Miller, LCSW, MSWKelli Miller is a Psychotherapist, Author, and TV/radio host based in Los Angeles, California. Kelli is currently in private practice and specializes in individual and couples' relationships, depression, anxiety, sexuality, communication, parenting, and more. Kelli also facilitates groups for those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction as well as anger management groups. As an author, she received a Next Generation Indie Book Award for her book "Thriving with ADHD: A Workbook for Kids" and also wrote "Professor Kelli's Guide to Finding a Husband". Kelli was a host on LA Talk Radio, a relationship expert for The Examiner, and speaks globally. You can also see her work on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/kellibmiller, Instagram @kellimillertherapy, and her website: www.kellimillertherapy.com. She received her MSW (Masters of Social Work) from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Sociology/Health from the University of Florida.
Relationship CoachRelationship CoachExpert AnswerTry making a list of activities you can do to calm down when you're feeling upset. For example, you could go for a walk, listen to music, or do deep breathing or meditation.
- ↑Kelli Miller, LCSW, MSW. Psychotherapist. Expert Interview. 21 July 2020.
- ↑Kelli Miller, LCSW, MSW. Psychotherapist. Expert Interview. 21 July 2020.
- ↑Kelli Miller, LCSW, MSW. Psychotherapist. Expert Interview. 21 July 2020.
About This Article
Being nicer to other people will improve your relationships and help you make new friends, and there are all kinds of different ways you can get started. One simple change you can make that will have a big impact is not being critical of other people. Avoid putting others down, teasing them, or talking badly about them behind their back. Instead, focus on people’s good qualities, and let people know what you like and appreciate about them. You can also be nicer by doing kind things for people. Going out of your way to hold the door open for someone, buy them a coffee, or help them with something will show them that you’re thoughtful and considerate. Also practice good communication skills, like active listening, empathy, friendliness, and respect. Learning to communicate with people in a calm, friendly, and honest way will help you avoid unnecessary conflict and make it so people enjoy being around you. Becoming nicer takes practice, so remember to be patient with yourself. Eventually, being nice will become second nature! For tips from our co-author, including how to avoid being defensive when you talk to others, keep reading!