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

By Stephanie Kirby|Updated June 27, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Audrey Kelly, LMFT

I Have A Short Temper - But I Want To Change That

Individuals who are burdened with short tempers are generally quick to anger, often flying off the handle in response to certain triggers. Unfortunately, society has trivialized the monumentally devastating consequences that can be the 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 experiencing 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. Understanding your temper can happen with an online therapist.

Explaining Short Tempers

Although many factors can contribute to how individuals choose to express their anger and tempers, the 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 up in families that handle anger by screaming, lashing out, or behaving violently may take this conduct into adulthood. Conversely, young people who are exposed to households that manage anger and frustration in constructive manners are likely to emulate these habits as they mature into adulthood.

Short tempers must be handled, managed, and contained in order to avoid the consequences that come from them. 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 experiencing 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.

Anger is the bedrock of tempers; regardless of how well-mannered or ill-mannered a person 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 handle it properly is by understanding it.

The human body emits various signals and signs, which typically indicate frustration or 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. If you can recognize when you feel angry, you can train yourself to respond more maturely instead of lashing out as soon as you feel the slightest bit of anger or annoyance.

Types of Personalities With Short Tempers

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.

Short tempers are generally connected to passion, strong personalities, and the desire to conceal other emotions. Passionate individuals are generally motivated and inspired by their ambitions, goals, and desires. As such, these people are likely to react intensely and negatively towards people and things that they perceive as getting in 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. Although this can be beneficial in business and other settings, 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 weaknesses 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 with emotions like anger, sadness, uncertainty, and frustration. Those are innate human emotions, which should be managed appropriately.

How to Manage a Short Temper

Despite the layered psychology behind short tempers, the fact remains that quickness to anger generally needs to be managed. Otherwise, it can wreak havoc and ruin lives. Thankfully, there are 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, then 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 or not the talk will help improve the situation.

I Have A Short Temper - But I Want To Change That

For instance, reaching out to someone for a discussion is generally not a good idea when emotions are high or if they're 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, so try your best to avoid doing it.

Remove Yourself from the 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 coworker, friend, or spouse.

However, keep in mind that something or someone important to you should not be constantly triggering or provoking your temper. Other professional opportunities and individuals may make for better careers, better friends, or better partners. Ultimately, the decision to remove oneself from the source of their anger 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 more likely to experience emotional strife, and one way this can manifest itself in a person is by them having a short temper.

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. Start small; you could change up a few things in your diet, start walking, set a timer to go to bed at a certain time, or even take a class at a local gym. From these small changes, you can shape and build a healthier lifestyle for yourself, which can help combat a short fuse.

Think Positively

Over the past few years, positive thinking has often been associated with "new-age nonsense." However, this practice truly does impact a person in constructive ways. Although different things and people can trigger short tempers, the manner in which a situation is viewed or perceived can contribute to or lessen one's 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 all serve as amazing remedies to short tempers and outbursts of anger. You can practice thinking positively by starting small. Try to identify situations where your thinking is negative and actively seek to replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. By being conscious of your thoughts, you can change your perception of a variety of situations, resulting in fewer outbursts.

Anger Management Classes

Sometimes the best solution for a short temper is an anger management class. This can be a difficult step for many people, as most individuals like to think of themselves as in control and able to handle their own lives and decisions. However, an ongoing loss of one's temper is usually indicative of deep-seated issues that need 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 the anger itself. Sometimes underlying causes can be rooted in past traumas, memories buried beneath the surface, or other things like stress. Nevertheless, the ability to address anger, manage short tempers, and function appropriately in the world is what will determine a person's quality of life.

Sometimes Professional Help is the Best

I Have A Short Temper - But I Want To Change That

Similar to anger management, sitting down with a counselor or therapist can prove to be especially helpful. These specialists help people for a living and have knowledge that will aid individuals in getting to the bottom of their short tempers and controlling their anger.

Unfortunately, seeking professional help is still a feat that 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.

Ultimately, the decision to seek out professional help rests with every individual. It is not something that can be forced upon anyone. People have to be ready for counseling or therapy for this type of help to truly make a difference. Once you reach this place, online counseling can be exactly what you need to start making positive changes in your life and gain control of your anger.

Managing Anger With BetterHelp

A growing body of research shows that online counseling can be a useful method of providing anger management. A study published in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, a peer-reviewed medical journal, examined the effects of online therapy on symptoms of problematic (or destructive) anger. Researchers found that there was a significant decrease in anger after completing online counseling. Cognitive therapy helps people to replace harmful and negative thoughts that are underlying their behavior and interactions. Online platforms can efficiently facilitate that treatment by providing those experiencing unwanted anger with easy access to tools that will help them cope with potentially triggering situations

As mentioned above, online therapy can provide useful techniques to those with anger management issues. You can connect with a professional who specializes in short tempers and anger management. All this can be done from the comfort of your home and on your own time. BetterHelp counselors pride themselves on providing world-class care and guidance to anyone who contacts them. Regardless of what someone may be dealing with, and regardless of how short their temper might be, nobody deserves to feel as though they are alone and without anyone to turn to. You can read reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues below.

Counselor Reviews

"Regina helped me pinpoint where my anger issue stemmed from in the very first session and has been helping me become more self-aware of my warning triggers. Very insightful and helpful!"

"Krysten has been an immense help in dealing with and confronting my anger and depression issues. I started to notice immediate changes in my general disposition within a week of working with her. My friends and family have even said I seem less bitter and jaded. And the fact that I can communicate with her frequently has done wonders in keeping me on track and progressing forward. My time working with Krysten and being on BetterHelp has been a positive experience and done much more for me than traditional in-office therapy ever did."


Anger can feel like a difficult emotion to manage. Luckily, with the tips provided above, you can learn how to take control of your temper and react to situations in a healthier way. Don't let anger hold you back from living a truly fulfilling life. All you need are the right tools—take the first step today.

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