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!
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, 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.
In her article 23 Amazing Health Benefits of Mindfulness for Body and Brain, 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:
“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!
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.
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
|Psychology Today: What Constitutes “Healthy Anger”?
|Positive Psychology: 23 Amazing Health Benefits of Mindfulness for Body and Brain
|HuffPost: How to Let Go of Anger and Do Deep Emotional Work