Don’t let anger
issues ruin your life
Don’t let anger
issues ruin your life
Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder. . . Rumi
by Susan Melendez Doak LPC
When we are irritated, our breath becomes shallow and quick. When we take slower, deeper breaths, our heart rate slows, and the body becomes calmer. Focus on your lower belly, noticing how it moves in and out with your breathing rhythm. Notice if your body prefers little sips of breath or if it wants to take long deep inhales.Do this for at least 5 breaths and see how much calmer you feel.
Coffee, energy drinks, and other caffeinated beverages and foods can help you to get through the day. But they can also make you feel jittery and on edge. They can even prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. All of these factors can make it more difficult for you to handle anger. So think twice about that second cup of coffee in the morning, or that highly-caffeinated energy drink in the afternoon.
Exercising can release stress and tension in your mind and body. Choose an exercise that you enjoy, and build up your exercise routine slowly to avoid injury. Consult a professional trainer if you need help. Even a short 5 minutes walk can change your outlook on life. Let your eyes take in pleasure, and see what is happening in the here and now. Let your thoughts simmer instead of boil!
Leave a situation that is causing you distress, but remember your manners. There’s a difference between taking a break and “blowing out” of a situation. Let the person know that you need a break and give them a specific time when you’d like to continue the conversation. Then remove yourself until you have calmed down, usually a minimum of 20 minutes. Remember to breathe!
The “comparison game” online can often highlight our insecurities and leave us feeling empty and annoyed. With mobile devices at our fingertips, we may need to make the conscious choice to unplug for a few days and take the opportunity to notice and appreciate the blessings of our “real” life.
Make sleeping, eating and showering a priority. These basic self-care tasks will enable you think more clearly and to make better decisions when strong emotions are in play. H.A.L.T. stands for Hungry-Angry-Lonely-Tired. Check in with yourself to see if any of these apply and, if so, take the steps to tend to your needs.
Alcohol and many drugs can intensify angry feelings and can inhibit your ability to manage them well. Find healthy pleasures to help your body unwind tension. Taking a walk, reading a book, noticing the patterns in the clouds, having a healthy snack – these are just a few ways to let go of that wound-up feeling that can lead to unhelpful expressions of anger.
Research shows that spending time with animals reduces stress. Walk your dog or curl up with your cat for a much-needed catnap. Petting your dog or cat can produce a chemical called oxytocin in both you and your pet. Oxytocin can trigger feelings of happiness, can relieve anxiety and depression, and can increase trusting feelings, all of which can counteract anger. And it’s FREE!
When we spend time doing what we love, we are more likely to feel good about life. So go fishing, crochet a scarf, write a poem, build a tree house, or plant some flowers in the garden. Doing such things can give you a sense of pleasure and accomplishment, and can make you feel happier with yourself and the world around you. Simply letting your eyes go where they want to go and noticing what pleases you, brings relief to a stressed nervous system.
Increasing stress can cause twist up our thoughts and actions, and wreak havoc with our emotions and our relationships. If angry outbursts and conflict with others are becoming a pattern for you, consider seeking professional help with an anger management therapist. A professional therapist has specific training that can help you change these life patterns. It’s much easier and more enjoyable to have support on the journey of change.