”For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Anger is complex, isn’t it? You want a peaceful world, but you don’t always feel peaceful inside. Sometimes your anger burns so strongly that you explode, and then find you’ve made matters worse. Other times, you try to restrain your fury. But what happens when you bury displeasure inside of yourself, especially if you do so consistently? It shows that anger, when overly expressed or suppressed on a regular basis, can damage your physical or emotional health.
What I Know About Anger:-
I’m not an angry person. But right now, I’m dealing with exasperating circumstances in my life that make me boil at times. I confess I haven’t been a perfect angel. I’ve vented a time or two. But I also see these provocations as a chance to learn how to walk through the fire without getting burned.
Given these provocative times, I want to update what I understand about anger and how to work with it without making things worse.
How is anger for you?
I come from a spiritual tradition that strongly opposes anger. It’s said, if you indulge in anger for any amount of time, without making reparations, you’ll go to the Buddhist version of hell. And, a moment of fury can wipe out eons — yes, eons folks — of good karma.
The philosophers of the world offer a similar message about anger. For example,
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. – Mark Twain
Enough to make you shake in your boots, right? What’s a normal human being to do?
Let’s look at ways you can soften anger, without turning it against yourself or dumping it on someone else.
A Complex Relationship with Anger:-
I have a complex relationship with anger.
It can be hard for me to get in touch with wrathful feelings towards those who have harmed me in unmentionable ways. I explain away the emotion using an intellectual understanding of compassion and don’t feel anybody sensations at all. So it sits in my physical form like a time bomb.
I can go for long periods of time without feeling much anger. But when I’m triggered, an intense fume rises up, seemingly out of nowhere. Although I get over small things quickly, big ones can last for days. My mind argues my case in an unceasing monologue. Until it’s done, and then it’s done.
I fracture easily, so other peoples’ aggression feels enormous to me. As a result, I feel averse to conflict. But, ironically, when I feel on fire, I can be the very person that stirs the pot.
Here a few helpful things to try:
Deal with your past:-
Many people are hesitant to deal with past wounds, especially those that happened in childhood because they fear to dwell on the past or developing a victim mentality. But dealing with the past is not dwelling in the past. In fact, it’s only by addressing the difficult things you’ve experienced that you can truly move past them. Find a trustworthy mentor or seek a counselor who can help you work through and heal from the things that are fueling ongoing anger.
Developing a sense of connection with trusted individuals is crucial to maintaining mental health. Invest in a community of people who you can be open and honest with. Simply expressing the fears and frustrations you’re experiencing to persons you trust will help you gain perspective, gain insights, and learn new ways to gain control over your emotions.
Do you find yourself reliving events and wishing you would have said or done something different? Do you find yourself getting angry all over again about something that doesn’t really matter? These kinds of thought patterns create a breeding ground for anger problems to develop. Not only do these negative thought patterns lead to angry outbursts, they also can cause debilitating anxiety and depression over time.
Take a deep breath:-
Though it may take practice, you can learn to process a situation fully before responding to someone in anger. As you give yourself time to cool off, you may find the circumstance does not warrant the anger-infused response you initially imagined giving. By giving ourselves time to process, we may see that our present circumstances are not nearly as threatening (or require the level of anger) as they seemed in the moment.
Get your beauty rest:-
A very effective way to become irritable is to skip out on sleep. Even just cutting corners—an hour here and an hour there—can tremendously affect the chemical balance that allows us to keep a healthy perspective, temper our emotional responses, and maintain self-control. It’s worth coming home early from a night out or waiting until the weekend to catch up on your favorite show. Make sleep a priority and you’ll quickly gain more control over your emotions—anger and others.
Eat all the greens:-
For some, a simple change in diet can alleviate a remarkable amount of stress due to chemical imbalances in the body. If you’ve been regularly snacking on highly processed foods or grabbing fast food dinners on the run, this could be a contributor to your bad moods. Consider speaking with a licensed nutritionist about the symptoms you’re experiencing, and work to develop a healthy food plan that will help you maintain a better biochemical balance.
Take it out on the weights:-
Exercise is a very effective way to release pent-up anger and aggression. Not only does it help you maintain a healthy chemical balance (hello endorphins!) it also boosts self-confidence and alleviates stress. If weightlifting isn’t your thing, try a yoga class or walk around your neighborhood (try for 10,000 steps a day, which is 5 miles and puts you firmly into the “active” category). No matter what type of exercise you choose, if you commit to sweating it out for at least 30 minutes daily, you may quickly find you have a more positive outlook on life.
Hit the Library:-
One of the most effective ways to gain control of your life is simply learning how to manage anger. This article is a good start for sure, but continue to educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of toxic anger and study the stories of others who have learned to overcome it. When it comes to mental health, understanding the thought-patterns and emotions involved is half the battle. If you can’t make it to a library, there are countless resources available online. Pour yourself some coffee and dig in.
Gaining control of your thoughts is never easy at first. It takes time and effort, and practicing mindfulness is a great way to do it. Meditate, do yoga, go for a walk and take in the beauty around you, or simply find a quiet place to reflect on the “automatic thoughts” about yourself and others you’ve been having that you haven’t even noticed. After that, try to get out of your own head for a while—let your thoughts wash over you without making any judgments about them. By learning to be present at the moment, you’ll gain more control over your thoughts and emotions.
The good news is if you’re struggling with anger—, you are not alone. Millions are working right alongside you to get their anger under control. They can succeed, and you can too.
If you’re experiencing reoccurring anger problems and you’re not quite sure what’s driving them, talk to someone today who can help you begin to make sense of it all, and who can help you regain control of your thoughts, emotions, and life.