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The Art of Chill: How to Overcome Anger in Your Daily Life

The Art of Chill: How to Overcome Anger in Your Daily Life

Anger can be addictive. In human neurobiology, the anger center is placed near the edge of the cortex along with other basic emotions, like fear and pleasure, and primal urges such as hunger, dominance, parenting instincts, and sex. A rush of anger is basically a rush of adrenaline, after which your brain rewards your body for “effectively” dealing with a stressful situation by releasing the happiness hormone we know as dopamine.

Anger can act like any other addiction – if you let it consume you for a while, it will become something you can’t live without. However, anger is a particularly dangerous addiction, because it feeds your ego and allows it to flourish in darkness. Below, we’ll discuss some of the important ways you can learn to manage and even overcome anger in your daily life.

1. Understand the Consequences

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    As with any addiction, anger harms your physical and mental self, but that’s not all. Your actions caused by anger can disturb your family environment, make your friends an inch more distant every day and disrupt your office workflow.

    Before you know it, only your anger and you will be left. There’s only so much that the people around you can take, and you shouldn’t look at their patience as a testament to how much you mean to them; your outbursts are actually hurting them and they’ll eventually snap and stop hanging out with you.

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    2. Recognize Your Anger

    Anger is a dark companion and it’s quite possessive when it comes to sharing you with others. In time, you’ll turn to it for compassion or as a means of getting what you want, and you’ll start seeing it as an ace up your sleeve. Obviously, this is one method of avoidance that’s most effective.

    Anger isn’t a problem you must face yourself. You can always ask for professional help, but I personally believe that you can also try to conquer it on your own. You may come out stronger and significantly more confident.

    So, let’s go through those very familiar symptoms: your blood pressure rises, making your whole body boil; you start focusing on one specific thing that keeps enraging you further; your hands start shaking and it feels like your vision is blurred; the adrenaline increases your blood pressure; and the very next thing you do is start yelling and throwing things that have the unfortunate fate of being within arm’s reach.

    3. Don’t Do Anything While You’re Consumed

    Water boiling in glass pan

      Many people who have an anger addiction, and those around them, will take the path of least resistance and use all sorts of excuses instead of pointing out the problem, using words like “temperamental.”

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      You need to face reality. You’re not temperamental, you’re addicted to anger. It isn’t something you can simply shake off, you need to fight it. The fact is, it won’t just go away, but as with any other addiction, recognizing it as a problem is the first and the most important step towards recovery.

      The next situation that makes your face red is your first test. It will be very difficult not to let it consume you and you shouldn’t be mad at yourself if and when it does, so your test lies in handling such a situation effectively. The right thing to do when your conscious self becomes the evil version of you is: nothing. Simply acknowledge that you are in an altered state of consciousness, stop talking, take a few long deep breaths and even excuse yourself and go to the bathroom to splash some water on your face if you have to.

      I’m sure you’re familiar with the regret that comes after your blood pressure goes back to normal. Saying things you don’t actually mean and making others feel bad about themselves while your stress levels skyrocket needs to stop. I know you’ll feel devastated later, but the words “I’m sorry” just lose their true meaning when you repeat them over and over.

      4. Avoid Getting into Stressful Situations

      Man in car gesticulating angrily at another driver (blurred motion)

        Nobody wants to be an angry person, you just become one in time. Do you want to be perceived as a red hot mess that just keeps yelling at people and acting out whenever any sort of problem pops up? I’m sure the answer is no, and it’s time to roll up your sleeves and do something about it, like the mature adult that you are.

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        It’s easy to let yourself be ruled by anger and become a completely different person to who you really are deep down inside. Dealing with anger starts inside, but because it’s affected by outside factors and everyday situations, you need to cut them off temporarily.

        If you feel that someone’s starting a topic that is going to get you fired up or is just being a bit of a jerk, walk away – don’t even engage in a discussion if you don’t have to. Driving around town can be an extremely stressful experience for some, but if you know a thing or two about road rage you can actually work on identifying potential problems in advance and doing simple things like getting up a bit earlier to avoid traffic jams or taking a different route to work.

        Constantly facing your sources of anger and reacting to them with the same heat will get you nowhere. You need to realize that this impulsive and loud reaction of yours is a mask you put on because you can’t find a solution to the real problem. In order to think clearly and explore explanations, so you can discover the real answers your mind seeks, you need to spend some time alone.

        Naturally, you shouldn’t avoid people who don’t cause you any stress, but you should use this time to relax and learn about yourself once again and find out what wonders lie beneath that ugly, angry surface.

        5. Develop Your Own Methods of Calming Down

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          My experience has shown that the best thing to do when you get consumed by anger is to relocate yourself physically and mentally. In time, I developed a routine of my own and at the very moment that I feel the first wave of anger coming on, I imagine how the situation will unfold if I don’t calm down and how it would look to an outside observer.

          Now, learning to be even somewhat objective in these situations takes a lot of time and restraint, but you’ll eventually be able to take your ego and jockeying for social status out of the equation and see things for what they truly are. This is when you’ll realize that you almost started threatening a person with physical violence over something as trivial as a can of soda missing from the fridge.

          It’s a psychological fact that the physical change has a significant effect on your mood. Therefore, standing up, walking, taking deep breathes and even changing your vocabulary when you start getting mad will change your reaction. Also, instead of screaming when you’re upset, you should use talking tools that enable you to express your frustrations.

          By using phrases like “I’m sorry, I just got angry there for a second” or “I’m a bit stressed out right now, let’s discuss this later when I’ve got a cool head,” you’ll encounter acceptance by people around you, which is another great way to lower your anger levels.

          And in the meantime, there’s some work to be done on your mindset. I’m sure you have already heard this piece of advice many times now, but that’s because it works: you should meditate. Meditative exercises will enable you to reach a calm place in your mind and you’ll be able to access it anytime you’re distressed. Beginning each day by having a short chat with yourself about staying calm throughout the day will also help.

          Anger is a normal and natural reaction, but there’s a time and place to express it, and it shouldn’t be done without a proper reason. Basically, you shouldn’t try to suffocate your anger, because that will just feed it further – take things slow, don’t give up at the first sign of trouble and you’re bound to conquer it. Besides, if you feel like you need help, you shouldn’t hesitate from seeing a professional and start your therapy. Either way, you’ll be your happy normal self as a result.

          More by this author

          Nemanja Manojlovic

          Editor at MyCity Web

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          The Gentle Art of Saying No

          The Gentle Art of Saying No

          No!

          It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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          But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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          What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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          But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

          1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
          2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
          3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
          4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
          5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
          6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
          7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
          8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
          9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
          10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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