Dear American Girl,

I have a bad temper. The littlest things upset me, and my anger problems are starting to affect my relationships with my friends, siblings, and parents. When I start feeling hot, what can I do to cool down my temper?

Here's your advice:

Close your eyes and think about the thing that's making you angry. Is it really worth getting mad about? Will this matter five years from now? Taking a step back from the problem and thinking about it calmly can help.
-Anna, age 12, Mississippi

When I get worked up, I just smile. It sounds simple, but it works. Go to a mirror and look at your angry face. Change it to a smile, and those angry feelings might melt away.
-Kathryn, age 13, Indiana

Take several deep breaths and imagine something that makes you feel happy and relaxed.
-Corinne, age 8, Connecticut

The next time you're angry with someone, try to think of something you like about her or picture a happy memory with her. That might soften your anger toward her and remind you why she's important to you.
-Sydney, age 11, Virginia

Whenever you feel a temper tantrum coming on, excuse yourself to your room, lie on your bed, and listen to soothing music. Getting a little distance from what's making you mad can help.
-Aiveen, age 10, Massachusetts

I get upset easily, too. When I need to cool down, I make a list. I write down all of the good things in my life that I can think of, such as having awesome parents and going to camp. My list usually shows me that the thing I'm upset about doesn't matter that much.
-Mariah, age 12, Colorado

When I get angry about something, I find something squishy to punch or cry into, and sometimes I tell my stuffed animals all about what's upsetting me. After I do these things, I usually feel better.
-Audrey, age 11, Pennsylvania

I do something that makes me happy when I'm upset. Reading a favorite book or drawing in my sketchbook helps me get the bad feelings out.
-Katherine, age 12, Illinois

If you start feeling hot, excuse yourself to the bathroom, splash some cool water on your face, and take a minute to calm down. This might prevent you from saying something you'll feel sorry about later.
-An American Girl fan, age 11, Pennsylvania

Whenever you get angry, imagine that a camera is following you around for a TV show. Pretend that kids are watching and think to yourself, Am I being a good role model right now? That might make you think twice the next time you get mad about something.
-Jill, age 10, California

If my temper starts to boil over, I squeeze a small stress ball that I carry in my pocket. Pick a soft, pocket-sized item to carry with you, and when you get angry, squish it as hard as you can. Take your anger out on the object and not your family and friends!
-Alison, age 11, Maine

When you get angry, imagine that you're a full-blown, twisting tornado. Do you really want to hurt others? Use this trick to evaluate yourself before you blow.
-Alexi, age 12, Pennsylvania

I write in my journal whenever I feel hot about something. Getting those thoughts out on paper helps a lot.
-Addy, age 11, Georgia

Exercise and moving around might help you control your anger. Go for a bike ride around your neighborhood, play an active game with a friend, or do some stretches in your room.
-Nicole, age 12, Washington

My grandfather taught me that whenever I start feeling upset, I should take deep breaths and count to ten. I instantly feel better and more in control of myself.
-Bethany, age 13, North Carolina

When you start to get upset with a family member or friend, say, "I'm getting mad and I need a moment to cool down. I'll be back in a minute." Go to a different room or walk outside. If you're about to blow your top, try to take a break.
-Kaitlyn, age 11, Illinois

Find out what triggers your outbursts. When you feel angry feelings rising up, take a deep breath and excuse yourself from the situation until you have settled down. Controlling your anger can be hard, and now and then you still might blow up. Remember that changes take time―the best thing you can do is to keep an open mind and realize what you did wrong. It's good that you are aware of your anger and value your relationships. Hope this helps!
-Maya, age 14, New York

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