Published on January 29, 2021

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

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!


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.


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!


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



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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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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.


Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.


Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.


Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.


This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.


Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via


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