An Overview Of A Short Temper & What To Do About It

Updated December 18, 2018

Reviewer Audrey Kelly, LMFT


Individuals who suffer from short tempers are generally quick to anger and flying off the handle. Unfortunately, society has trivialized the monumentally devastating consequences which can follow suit as a result of a short temper. There are countless jokes about tempers and people who fail to control them. While annoyance, anger, and irritation are innate, human emotions, the manner in which people manage them is what makes all the difference in the world. Rash actions and reckless words almost always engender undesirable consequences.

For each of the reasons above, short tempers must be handled, managed, and contained. However, this is often easier said than done. A huge part of managing one's anger comes along with emotional growth and maturity. If these skills have not been learned, then internalizing and implementing them can take some time. Nevertheless, going through the growing pains of learning how to handle a temper is always better than suffering the aftermath of failing to control oneself. Like all things, before a short temper can be managed and effectively controlled, it must first be understood.

  • Explaining Short Tempers

Although many factors can contribute to the manner in which individuals choose to manage their anger and tempers, Psychology Today explains that observation of others plays a huge role, especially in children. Young people tend to pick up on the behaviors and habits of parents, siblings, and other relatives who are around them. Kids who grow in families who handle anger by screaming, lashing out, or behaving violently may take this conduct into adulthood. Conversely, young people who are exposed to households which manage anger and frustration in acceptable, constructive manners are likely to emulate this habits as they mature into grown-ups.


Anger is the bedrock of tempers, regardless of how well-mannered or ill-mannered they may be. Attempting to avoid anger altogether is simply not realistic. There will always be individuals, situations, and circumstances which get under one's skin. However, one of the best ways to recognize anger and a temper is by understanding anger. The human body emits various signals and signs which indicate frustration or impending anger. Some of the most common giveaways are warmness, tense muscles, and the desire to lash out. At its core, anger is the mind's way of communicating that something or someone is the source of current displeasure.

Associated Personalities

A surprisingly large percentage of people don't realize that short tempers are usually linked to other characteristics and personality traits. Despite the problematic aspects associated with short fuses, having a temper does not necessarily mean that someone is a bad person. Many upstanding, respectable, and admirable individuals may be quick to anger under the right circumstances. Even so, this behavior can get them in a world of trouble in certain situations.

According to The Odyssey Online, short tempers are generally connected to passion, strong personalities, leadership, and the desire to conceal other emotions. Passionate individuals are generally motivated and inspired by the ambition, goals, and desires to achieve. As such, these people are likely to react intensely and negatively towards people and things whom they perceive as getting their way or otherwise blocking their path to success. The same principle applies to strong personalities, who tend to put all of themselves into their chosen endeavors and ventures. This can be beneficial in business and other settings, yet the short temper must be controlled. Otherwise, it may ruin all that the individual has worked so hard to accomplish.

Finally, short tempers are often used to conceal other emotions such as sadness, uncertainty, frustration, or confusion. Some people view the preceding feelings as weakness and thus resort to anger as a strategy to maintain a strong exterior. In some settings, this can be beneficial, but more often than not, employing anger as a method to hide underlying feelings can alienate allies and other individuals who could help to solve problems. Even the best and most successful people need help sometimes. Like anger, sadness, uncertainty, frustration, and confusion are innate human emotions which should be managed appropriately.

  • How To Manage A Short Temper

Despite the psychology, reasons, and personalities associated with short tempers, the facts remain. Quickness to anger must be controlled and managed. Otherwise, it will wreak havoc and ruin lives. Thankfully, Lifehack has some helpful hints and tips for handling anger and short tempers in a constructive manner.

Have a Constructive Conversation

One of the best ways to manage a short temper is by addressing the source of the anger. If the source happens to be an individual, engaging in a discussion can prove to be particularly helpful. However, timing is paramount. The time in which one chooses to initiate a conversation can determine whether the talks help the situation or simply make matters worse. For instance, reaching out to someone for a discussion is generally not a good idea when emotions are high or when one or both parties are busy. Ideally, the best time to initiate a conversation is when both people are cool-headed and available. Talks should also stay focused on the subject and possible solutions. Hurling accusations will only worsen the current circumstances.

Remove Yourself fromthe Source

In a perfect world, people would always be able to talk and resolve matters amongst themselves. However, this particular solution is not always feasible. If constructive conversations prove to be futile or useless, removing oneself from the source is always an option. In many cases, this can be easier said than done, particularly if the source happens to be a workplace, friend, or spouse. However, something or someone which is truly positive and constructive should not constantly be provoking your temper. Other professional opportunities and individuals may make better friends or significant others. Ultimately, the decision to remove oneself from the source of their fury solely rests upon the impacted individual.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle


One of the easiest ways to control a short temper is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This entails exercising, eating nutritiously, and getting the proper amount of sleep. Believe it or not, people who live unhealthily are much likelier to suffer emotionally, hence the short tempers. Individuals who are already inclined towards flying off the handle at the slightest provocation should especially ensure that they are living healthily. Regardless of one's current emotional state, a healthy lifestyle has never steered anyone in the wrong direction.

Think Positively

Over the past few years, a strong emphasis on positive thinking has been associated with new age nonsense. However, positive thinking truly does engender a variety of positive and constructive impacts. Although different things and people can trigger short tempers, the manner in which a situation is viewed or perceived can contribute to or lessen the associated anger or frustration. There are many cases where matters are not as dire as they may seem at the time. Taking a step back, rethinking things, and moving forward with a clear head can serve as amazing remedies to short tempers and outbursts of anger.

Seek Professional Help

Sometimes, the best solutions for short tempers are anger management classes. This can be difficult for many people. Most individuals like to think of themselves as in control and able to handle their own lives and paths. However, each person falls on hard times. An ongoing loss of one's temper is usually indicative of deep-seated issues which are needed to be addressed.

There are countless benefits associated with anger management classes. Not only do these classes help people manage their anger, but they also uncover the real reasons behind one's anger. Sometimes underlying causes can be rooted in past traumas, memories buried beneath the surface, or other things. Nevertheless, the ability to address anger, manage short tempers, and appropriately function in the world is what will determine the quality of life which one leads.

Similarly to anger management, sitting down with a counselor or therapist can prove to be especially helpful. Both of these specialists help people for a living and also have knowledge which will aid individuals in getting to the bottom of their anger and short tempers. Unfortunately, seeking professional help is still a feat which many people struggle with. Of course, the reasons vary. Sometimes, pride and ego are dominant factors. In other cases, some individuals have been told that going to counseling or therapy is a sign of weakness; in actuality, the strongest people are the ones who can ask for guidance when it's necessary.


Here at BetterHelp, we pride ourselves on providing world-class care and guidance to anyone who contacts us. We recognize that life is different and presents unique challenges for every individual. Regardless of what someone may be dealing with, regardless of how short their temper may be, nobody deserves to feel as though they are alone and without anyone to turn to.

Ultimately, the decision to seek out professional help rests with every individual. It is not something which can be forced upon anyone. People have to be ready for counseling or therapy for this type of help to make a difference truly.

You can contact BetterHelp at any time by clicking here.

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