We’ve all been there before. Someone cuts you off in traffic. You spill ketchup on your new white shirt. It starts raining on your way to the beach. There’s a never-ending list of why you might find yourself angry and in an unpleasant mood.
And once your day starts to take a turn for the worse, it often feels like there’s no going back. However, there are ways to turn the tide, release your anger, and get back into a pleasant and happy mood.
Here are 7 easy body language tricks to help alleviate anger and get you back to feeling great.
1. Look Up
Just as our emotions affect our body language, our body language also has an effect on our emotions. The next time you catch yourself starting to feeling angry, simply take a few seconds and look up towards the ceiling or sky.
When we are in a negative state, we tend to look down. Think of a child who is being scolded for misbehaving; what does his/her body language look like? His or her head is down looking towards the floor and eye contact is avoided. This is the body’s natural expression of negative emotion.
Looking down triggers negative feelings. So in order to prevent yourself from spiraling down into more negative emotion, interrupt the pattern, do the opposite and look up. It will interrupt the negative emotive state and naturally trigger happy hormones to be released.
2. Fake a Smile
Research has shown that if you fake a smile and hold it long enough, you will start to actually feel happier. When you find yourself feeling angry, tighten up those cheeks and show those pearly whites. You can even hold a pen or pencil between your teeth, which will force the sides of your mouth up into a smile. By holding a “fake” smile for just a couple minutes, you may start to feel relief as the anger dissipates and is replaced by happy hormones.
Laughter is an amazing way to change your state in an instant. When you’re feeling angry, take a few minutes to watch or listen to something funny. You can search for funny cat videos on YouTube or listen to your favorite comedian, put on an episode of your favorite sitcom or Google “cute babies laughing.” It’s pretty difficult to stay angry while watching an adorable little baby giggling in pure joy. Or quadruplets (trust me, Google that).
4. Breathe Deeply
When we get angry, our breath tends to become fast and shallow as our body enters its fight or flight mode. By taking a moment to pause and observe your breath when you feel angry, you can consciously change to longer and deeper breaths, which will help you take back control of your emotional state and calm yourself down.
Lengthen the duration of your exhale to have an even greater effect. For example count to 5 as you take a deep breath in, then as you exhale, count to 10, completely emptying your lungs.
Now add some visualization to it. As you exhale, imagine that you are completely releasing all the anger and negative tension in your body. Imagine the anger leaving your body with your breath and just vanishing into the air. Then as you breath in again, imagine breathing in positivity, joy, and happiness. Do this for a full minute and you’ll feel much better.
Mediation is training for the mind. It helps to calm mind chatter, manage emotions, and allows you to stay connected to your true self, free of distraction.
Simply take a short time each day to sit in silence and observe your thoughts. Allowing them to eventually drift away until your mind is still, will help you to stay centered and calm regardless of what’s going on in the outside world.
The next time you’re feeling angry, take 10 minutes to mediate, clear your mind, and bring yourself back to peace. From that state of peace, you will be able to handle the situation that is causing your anger with far more grace and clarity.
6. Get Physical
Anger is a build-up of negative energy that can be released from the body consciously if you choose. The next time you feel yourself boiling up inside with anger, let it out with purpose.
Go into your room and yell, scream, flail your arms around like a madman. Release the anger through your voice and body, punch your pillow, do pushups, do 20 jumping jacks, jump up and down on your bed.
Any of these physical activities with help interrupt your angry state and release the negative energy that’s inside you. You can even turn that anger into productive exercise; go for a run or hit the gym and lift weights. It may seem a bit ridiculous in the moment, but all these activities can help you release your pent-up anger and feel better.
7. Write It Out
Writing out your thoughts can be very therapeutic. Whatever you’re angry about, write it down, or journal about it. Simply get it out of your head and onto paper. Not only will this help you clear out your negative thoughts, it can also help you view the problem from a slightly different angle, which might give you insight into a solution.
Then, feel free to ball up the paper and toss it into the fireplace and visualize all that provocation simply going up in smoke – and away forever.
Featured photo credit: Stokpic via stokpic.com