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When I Change The Way I Look At Things, The Things I Look At Change

When I Change The Way I Look At Things, The Things I Look At Change

We call ourselves the greatest species on earth.

Then it’s only fair that our greatest enemies are ourselves.

Relationships, work, school – it is as if every time you try to take a step forward, your mind whispers to you about how things could be done better, how you should have chosen this option instead of the other one, or how you were the cause of this and that catastrophe.

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What do you do when your mind – someone who is supposed to be your best friend – turned against you? How do you jump out of that self-blaming cycle when you are the one who stuck your foot in the mud in the first place? How do you succeed when your mind just couldn’t acknowledge the small, slow but sure steps you are taking?

Understand this: We see things not as they are but as we are.

First and foremost, we must acknowledge one thing: rarely do we see reality as it is. Be it a friend, a stranger or yourself, we almost always look at them through the colored lens as what we think they are. We have subconsciously allowed our perceptions to dictate what we see. And it’s not completely wrong. It is a system that allows us to quickly come up with decisions and judge whether if someone, or something, is good news.

However, this system is also easily prone to error. It is too often that we have already made the final verdict before we even took the time to understand the person or matter.

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“I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential.” — Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love.

We see the potential – good or bad – in things and in life, instead of what they actually are. We hope for the best things and dread the worst. As a result, we are constantly pushed from one extreme to another. We are always riding on an emotional roller coaster – no wonder we feel exhausted all the time.

Stop engaging in an all-or-nothing thinking.

Our minds perceive not only the people and things around us, but ourselves as well.

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Have you ever felt frustrated at yourself when you didn’t manage to follow that workout routine? Have you ever felt disappointed when you didn’t get a perfect score at an exam?

The moment we set our goals at achieving perfection, we are almost doomed to fail. We have to stop telling ourselves that not winning equals to losing. Sometimes, we falter, trip and fall. What matters most is for us to stand up once again and start running again. Let yourself know that it’s okay to make mistakes and it’s alright to take a break sometimes. Your life is a marathon – you got to keep going.

Start positive self-talk.

You would notice that we’ve been talking about our minds as if it’s a sentient being. To be frank, it’s not that far from it. Kali Rogers stated that inner monologues could dictate our emotions, and are even responsible for our self-esteem and worldview.[1] Therefore, take note of your conversations with the mind. Are they negative? Are they laced with words of hate, guilt and anger? Are they solemn, morbid and desperate?

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Once you recognize what you are hard on yourself for, start to talk positively with your mind. Cheer yourself up – by telling yourself how great you are every day. Convince it. Persuade it. It might be annoyed. But eventually, it will cave in, and start accepting that you are, in all honesty, an awesome person!

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change too.

Indeed, we could be lost within the confines of our minds sometimes. But it’s okay. Remember: it’s a battle of attrition. It’s a lifelong struggle to stop yourself from being biased towards others and yourself. Take your time, and gradually, gently guide your perceptions. When you change the way you look at things, eventually you would realize that the things you look at will change too.

Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via Picjumbo.com

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Eamon Suen

Student, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

Expressing Anger

Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

Being Passive-Aggressive

This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

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Poorly-Timed

Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

Ongoing Anger

Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

Healthy Ways to Express Anger

What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

Being Honest

Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

Being Direct

Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

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Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

Being Timely

When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

How to Deal With Anger

If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

1. Slow Down

From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

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When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

2. Focus on the “I”

Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

3. Work out

When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

If you’re not sure where to start with an exercise routine, check out Lifehack’s free Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan.

4. Seek Help When Needed

There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

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5. Practice Relaxation

We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

6. Laugh

Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

7. Be Grateful

It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

Final Thoughts

Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go or motivated. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

More Resources on Anger Management

Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

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