How Do You Define Temper? Learn How To Overcome Your Anger

Updated February 20, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Work With A Therapist To Overcome Your Anger

Bruce Lee once said, "A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough." While that's one reason we need to work to keep our temper under control, there are many other reasons. A bad temper or a "short fuse" might not seem like that big of a deal, but it can impact every area of your life. Defining temper and what role it plays in anger in your life is an excellent place to start, so you can learn how to manage any negative emotions or behaviors that might arise from it.

How Do You Define Temper?

One of the Merriam-Webster dictionary's definitions of temper is "heat of mind or emotion; proneness to anger," but it also defines it as a "state of feeling or frame of mind at a particular time usually dominated by a single strong emotion." defines temper as "a particular state of mind or feeling; the habit of mind, especially concerning irritability or patience, outbursts of anger, or the like; disposition; the heat of mind or passion, shown in outbursts of anger, resentment, etc." But what do these definitions really mean?

When most people think of "temper," they think of a bad temper or someone who is easily angered or shows outbursts of anger. But most of us have a temper to varying degrees, and tempers are not inherently good or bad. They vary depending on the context of each individual.

If you struggle with your temper, you may often feel angry, and people might even perceive you this way. Learning how to control your temper and overcome your anger can positively impact your life.

Learning healthy coping skills to manage your anger and temper allows you to gain control over your emotions. When you don’t have control over your emotions – both positive and negative – it can make you more vulnerable to unhealthy relationships and can put you in risky or even dangerous situations. If you feel like your anger gets the best of you, here are more reasons to consider reaching out for help to control it. 

It Can Make You Appear Foolish

We tend not to make the best decisions when our temper gets the best of us. It can reflect poorly on our character, image, and relationships.

Anger Ruins Relationships

It’s challenging to have a healthy relationship when anger is at the center of it. If you are usually angry and have a short temper, your loved ones might not want to be around you as much. If others see you as a negative person who is constantly angry, they might want to restrict the time they spend with you.

Not being able to control your temper and having a bad attitude can ruin marriages, damage parental relationships, and impact your relationships with coworkers and your boss. When we are consumed by anger, it's challenging to control the words coming out of our mouths. You might even find yourself saying things that you later regret.

It Hurts Your Health

Anger plays a significant role in your physical health. People who constantly deal with anger are more likely to experience insomnia, digestive problems, depression, and headaches. They are also more likely to have chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

It Can Consume Your Thoughts

When your temper and attitude feel like they are controlling your life, it can be difficult to accomplish any of the things you set out to do. When anger takes over, it can consume your thoughts, making it difficult to make wise decisions. When this goes on for long enough, it can easily deter you from reaching your goals.

How To Overcome Anger

Living in a constant state of anger can take a big toll on your life. However, there are many tips that you can follow to help get your anger under control and overcome it. Doing so can have a positive impact on every area of your life. Here are some things that you can do to overcome your anger.


Many people don't like exercising, but research suggests that spending time working out can do a lot of good for your mental health. Physical activity helps reduce some of the stress you're dealing with and produces mood-boosting endorphins. If your temper is starting to get out of control, take a walk or head to the gym to overcome it and work out the negative energy.

Learn To Control Your Thoughts

Not having control of your thoughts can make you more likely to lose your temper. It’s essential to try to be aware and mindful of your thoughts. If you think about a topic that is getting you angry, try to change your thoughts purposely. For example, you can write out a list of positive things in your life that you can think about whenever a situation like this arises. Carry this list in your pocket or keep it on a note-taking app on your smartphone. Pull out your list and pick something new to think about when struggling with your thoughts.

Identify Your Triggering Factors

Sometimes, anger tends to be over certain triggering factors. If you can identify what things set off your temper, you can work to avoid them or be more aware of how you're behaving when faced with one of those situations. Once you know your triggering factors, you can also work to find solutions to the problem, if possible.

Listen, Think, Then Speak

If you struggle with anger, you may speak before you think. One way to overcome this is to actively focus on listening first when conversing with someone else. So instead of interrupting or thinking about what you’re going to say, try to listen and wait until they are finished to think and respond. This can help you not to say something in haste that you might later regret. It takes time to get used to this habit, but it can positively impact every relationship and area of your life.

Work With A Therapist To Overcome Your Anger

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is simply being aware of the situation at the moment it is happening. It involves taking time to shut down from all distractions and be still and present. If you want to start practicing mindfulness, you can start by learning deep breathing exercises that you can use when faced with a situation where your anger is rising. Alternatively, choose a phrase, verse, or quote that you can repeat to yourself over and over again when you feel your blood pressure rising.

Practice Forgiveness

It's challenging to overcome anger if you are holding on to something that makes you upset. Holding a grudge against someone who has wronged you impacts you more than it does the other person. It's important to know that forgiving someone does not necessarily mean that you will restore the relationship with them or that you will excuse their behavior. It simply means that you're removing yourself as the judge over them, letting go of what wrong they did to you, and moving on freely. 

Don't Struggle On Your Own

If you have worked to understand how you define temper and its negative impact on your life, but you still struggle with anger, don't be afraid to seek help. There are many reasons why we struggle with anger. If you don't quite understand why you might be experiencing these emotions, talking to a licensed therapist can help you get to the root of the problem and work through it healthily and effectively.

Online therapy is always an option if you don’t have time to go to an in-person session or feel more comfortable talking to someone remotely. With online treatment, you can meet with your therapist anywhere you have an internet connection, whether at home or at the office. Plus, you can meet with your therapist via telephone, text, online chat, or video chat. 

Research shows that online therapy is effective for treating a variety of disorders. One review of 14 studies found that online treatment led to a 50% improvement in symptoms of depression and multiple anxiety disorders and significantly decreased the impact of chronic fatigue and stress. If you think online therapy sounds like a good fit for you, get in touch with a licensed professional at BetterHelp.


Everyone deals with anger and a short temper from time to time, and there are times when these emotions can pop up more regularly. If you're in a constant battle with anger or it is negatively impacting your life, online therapy can help you get control of your temper.

For additional help & support with your concerns

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started