When tempers flare, feelings are hurt and friendships and business relationships are ruined. Get ahead of the spark before it sets an inferno.

Many of us have lived a past life that could make a crazy adventure movie or be trash-reality TV worthy. And many of us carry guilt and shame around those less than gracious interactions or tipped off behaviors.

Why did so many of us feed the little demons that encourage outraged behavior? And what can one do about it to help to start building the bridge back to kindness, normalcy and wholesome transactions?

Here are a handful of my personal changes that have helped me to come back to the lighter side of communication.

  1. Anger….there’s an App for that.

Anger is an emotion that can go from 0 to 100 in a single moment. When Anger is a method of handling conflict, confrontation becomes the vehicle for problem-solving. Stirring pots, calling out, or downright forcing your beliefs on someone else is all taking away from being that lighthearted and trusted team player or wise and mature leader.

Next time your temperamental fire feels like it’s going to blaze….It. Is. Going. To. Blaze. So you must stay ahead of it at all times. Most of us can feel when that tension begins to rise. Our palms clam up, our breathing becomes heavy, or we get a tightness in our jaw or neck. Like a controlled and technical fighter in the heat of a battle, you must keep your focus intact so that you don’t buckle under the pressure and lose composure, leaving you vulnerable to being attacked or worse yet attacking and ruining kinships in the process.

So, to keep your beast on a short leash, always practice mindfulness as much as you possibly can. If you’re new to meditation and require guidance, my recommendation is to utilize an app. It’s easy, free, and works like a charm. My personal preference is the Insight Timer. There are a plethora of meditation styles to choose from including many stress management ones. And the best part is that for the sake of consistency, all your efforts are tracked.

  1. Make your aggressive energy work for you not against you with high-intensity exercise.

If you are surrounded by a high-stress workplace or by high-stress people (bosses or less than desirable co-employees), you can reach a breaking point in communication, and a simple interaction can turn into a complicated and heated one. Expending energy in an intense environment and highly taxing your body and brain can be useful for keeping you and your emotional outbursts even keel. I’ve enjoyed high impact martial arts training like kickboxing and mat work like grappling in judo. On the one hand, it wears out any pent up aggression or frustrations I carry, and on the other, it humbles my ego by reminding that there are others that are bigger, stronger, and more capable…. but in a respectful and safe environment.

  1. Don’t hold your breath, breath – and hold your tongue instead.

Controlling what spews from your mouth is half the trouble of leading a lighter life. When one verbalizes how he might handle his frustrations negatively or blurts her harsh opinions of others, it’s not far behind that adverse action will follow. Harsh speech of any type, especially gossip or insult, can undermine your trustability, tarnish friendships, and can earn you a reputation of bullying or being merciless. Often it may seem like a challenge to give others the benefit of the doubt, but keeping your own ability to maintain intact sometimes means allowing others room to make mistakes especially since not any of us is guilt free of errors. Speak peace and tranquillity into your environment and watch most problems disappear from that alone. It is almost always going to be easier to control your entire physical being by merely controlling your words.

  1. Serving the underserved.

Nothing is better at reminding you to have grace like seeing others who are in desperation or need of care and support. Helping a community of folks who are in distressed times helps you to stay in tune with your guardian angel within. Not only are you reminded of how life’s lessons can leave you in a very tight or vulnerable position, but you’re also reminded that bringing light into existence for others, will help your own light to burn brighter.