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Published on January 29, 2021

5 Ways To Let Go of Anger And Restore Calmness in Mind

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5 Ways To Let Go of Anger And Restore Calmness in Mind

Anger is one of the most unpleasant emotions that we can experience. When we express our anger we feel bad and we feel even worse about ourselves once we have calmed down. It is not a healthy way to live life being constantly angry.

We have been dealing with a lot of change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Disruption and uncertainty are very much part of our lives and it is these two things that are most likely to create fear and distress in our lives. How we express and manage these feelings influences how resilient and how effective we are at navigating our way through all this disruption and uncertainty.

Choosing anger as a way to release all your pain and fear is not a wise option and definitely not a sustainable and healthy way to live life.

What is Healthy Anger?

Before you start to work on letting go of your anger and restoring calmness back into your mind it is important to acknowledge that anger is a normal healthy and very vital emotion. It lets you know where your boundaries are and what you stand for. Without anger, you would be passive, accommodating and invisible and this is not a great way to live life. When anger, however, gets out of control and turns destructive it can lead to problems in your relationships and your overall quality of life.

Ignoring your anger will not make it go away. If you suppress your anger it just bubbles away and you become tenser and more stressed. All it could take is one action or comment from someone that displeases you and you let rip!

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Knowing how to manage your anger more effectively is key to you living a more emotionally balanced healthy life. This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson “For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind” explains very clearly what you lose when you spend a lot of time in your life being angry.

If you are feeling you are spending too much of your life angry, frustrated or overwhelmed here are 5 strategies that could help you restore calmness back into mind and your life.

1. Reflect and Breathe

In his article What Constitutes Healthy Anger,[1] Bernard Golden PhD states that cultivating healthy anger demands reflection, the capacity to pause and assess whether the threat we feel is real and imminent and then determining how to respond appropriately and constructively.

The best way for you to determine your response is to take time out or remove yourself for however long it takes for you to feel you are in control. A breathing exercise is the best way for you to restore calm back into your body and mind and give you space to re-centre yourself so you can decide your next move.

2. Practice Mindfulness Regularly

This strategy has a more positive long term impact on helping you let go of your anger and maintain peace and calmness in your mind and life. There is a lot of scientific research and evidence to show that the regular practice of mindfulness improves our self-awareness and enables us to reprogramme our brain to focus more on the positive elements of our life – rather than be consumed by negativity, doom and gloom.

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In her article 23 Amazing Health Benefits of Mindfulness for Body and Brain,[2] Courtney E. Ackerman, MSc., Researcher outlines the benefits that mindfulness brings to your life and even offers 3 free Mindfulness exercises for you to try out. If you are keen to start incorporating mindfulness into your life these free exercises are a great way to start.

3. Acknowledge Your Anger, Identify Its Presence in Your Body Then Let It Go

Accepting that it is okay to be angry is an important step toward letting your anger go. The more aware you are of the physical signals that your body sends you when you find yourself getting angry the more control you have to decide how to constructively deal with your feelings of anger.

“Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.” — Melody Beattie

4. Write It Down

Michelle Roya Rad, Professional psychologist and motivational writer said:[3]

“When you write, you can let go of your feelings. Writing your feelings as they come, writing to the person whom you have anger towards and then burning the letter, and writing short stories.”

I know that this works because I have done this exercise a number of times when I have felt extremely angry at another person. Once I had vented in my letter I felt better and I never sent any of my angry letters! I followed Michelle’s advice and ripped up the letters and threw them away! Felt amazing!

5. Distract Yourself Away From Focusing On Your Anger

There are a number of strategies that you could use to distract yourself away from your anger. The strategies you choose to use are ones that resonate with you. Here is a list of actions that you can add to your distraction toolbox and use when needed.

Count To 100

This one seems pretty basic, but it works. Thinking about something other than what’s making you upset for 100 seconds can help you avoid blowing a fuse. It gives you a chance to gather yourself and your thoughts before you do anything else.

Move Your Body

I find that exercise is an awesome way to let off steam. I either take a walk or go for a run. I have recently taken up boxing which I find is the best high energy activity to smash out my anger and stress!

Listen To Music

What music you choose to listen to depends on what kind of distraction you are seeking. When I want to calm myself down I listen to music that enables me to do that however there are times that I want to vent and let it all out and that’s when I listen to hardcore rock!

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Don’t Take Things So Personally

I have this quote from Don Miguel Ruiz’s written on the front page of my journal and refer to it when I am trying to get a sense of my feelings around why I am angry and how I can move forward.

“Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally. Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.”

This quote may not resonate with you however find one that does. Keep it close to you so that you can refer to it in times when you need to restore a sense of calmness back into your life.

Bottom Line

By changing your relationship with anger and learning how to manage anger in a healthier way enables you to live a calmer and balanced life. Having this life philosophy is so important to support you to navigate your way through all the uncertainty and disruption that the coronavirus has bought into our lives.

More Anger Management Tips

Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

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Reference

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Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

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

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

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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