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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
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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.

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          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.

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          Nemanja Manojlovic

          Editor at MyCity Web

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          Last Updated on July 20, 2021

          How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

          How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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          You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

          Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

          Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

          Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

          1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

          According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

          “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

          Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

          Warming up

          If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

          If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

          Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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          1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
          2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
          3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

          Stay hydrated

          Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

          To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

          Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

          Meditate

          Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

          Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

          Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

          Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

          2. Focus on your goal

          One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

          Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

          Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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          Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

          If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

          3. Convert negativity to positivity

          There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

          ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

          It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

          Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

          Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

          Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

          4. Understand your content

          Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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          However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

          “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

          Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

          Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

          One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

          5. Practice makes perfect

          Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

          In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

          Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

          6. Be authentic

          There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

          Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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          Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

          To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

          With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

          Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

          7. Post speech evaluation

          Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

          Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

          We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

          You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

          Improve your next speech

          As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

          Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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          • How did I do?
          • Are there any areas for improvement?
          • Did I sound or look stressed?
          • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
          • Was I saying “um” too often?
          • How was the flow of the speech?

          Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

          If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

          Reference

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