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Here's the truth about bridezillas— they're not bad people, they're just stressed. As the stress piles on, a person's fuse gets shorter. When you feel yourself getting mad— whether it's at your mom, your mother-in-law, your darling fiancé—these techniques can help you calm down.
You've heard it before, because it works: Just breathe.
Take these three steps to help manage anger in the moment, suggests psychologist Todd Kashdan, Ph.D., the other co-author of The Upside of Your Dark Side: notice, breathe, and allow. Notice the feelings you're feeling and give them a name— is it anxiety and anger? Or fear and hurt? Breathe deeply for a few seconds. "Breathing gives us a firm footing in the present so we're not focusing on the future, like 'I'm going to rip that person apart!' or remembering the past, as in, 'I hope I don't start screaming like I did last time,'" says Kashdan. Finally, allow yourself to feel what you're feeling and pinpoint what kicked the emotions off so you can decide what to do about them.
"A lot of what I've done in anger workshops with women is to rehearse an assertive response to a person they're angry with," says Sandra Thomas, Ph.D., director of the nursing doctoral program at the University of Tennessee, who has studied women and anger. "They would get angry over and over again at the same person for the same thing and would just seethe inside. They figured there would be terrible consequences for the relationships if they spoke up. But unless there's a problem-solving action taken, all the frustrations are going to continue and you're going to continue to feel anger."
Do some work on your self-esteem.
Women with higher self-esteem have less tendency to become angry and don't dwell on it too much when they do, says Thomas. "But the person with low self esteem is usually more hesitant to tell someone how they feel— they're more afraid of relationship problems happening and are reluctant to speak out or speak up." Assertiveness training, anger management classes, and interpersonal therapy can all address these issues.
Talk about small upsets before they turn into big ones.
Stuffing your feelings down won't make them go away! In fact, buildups of emotions can create even bigger blow-ups. But if you can bring things up and clear them out one by one as they arise, you're more likely to keep things moderate and constructive.