Anger is a natural human emotion we all feel from time to time.
In many cases anger can be beneficial towards helping us determine our priorities and encourage us to set and achieve our goals.
But too much anger directed in the wrong way can be toxic and actually deter us from my being productive.
Whether you’re angry because someone was being rude to you or a loved one was severely hurt, it’s important to stay mindful of our reaction so we can be sure to remain in effective problem solving mode.
Here are 4 simple tips to keep in mind as you feel anger rising:
1 – Own your anger. It’s normal and natural to have angry thoughts. Sometimes just saying the words “I’m really angry” can be enough to diffuse the intensity of your emotion.
2 – Why are you angry? Ask yourself why you are angry and write it down*. Really get to the root of the emotion. Are you angry because a friend was rude to you with one comment or has it built up over years of disrespect? Knowing the root cause is necessary to solve the problem.
3 – Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Empathy and compassion go a long way in diffusing our own anger. Ask yourself why the rude person lashed out or the road raging driver flipped you off. Are they maybe having a bad day because someone was mean to them? Or are they sick? Or maybe they haven’t slept in days? Maybe the group of people making you mad are brainwashed or trapped in their own internal struggle. This isn’t a means of making excuses for their bad behavior, but rather a way for you to have a little more understanding as to why they did what they did and realize it’s likely not personal.
4 – Make a plan. Anger left untamed is unproductive and in some cases dangerous. Make a conscious choice to either let it go, or fix it. If you choose to work towards fixing your problem write down a plan. If you are angry about a world wide injustice, join a charity to help support the cause. If you’re still angry with the rude friend and you can’t let it go, make a plan to avoid this person, or confront her respectfully with a request to stop the rude behavior.
Which path you go down with your anger is a personal choice and often there’s no clear right answer.
The most important thing is to stay mindful of your reaction and ask yourself questions.
You may need to breathe or meditate through the stress of anger and that’s ok. Avoid lashing out which will only intensify your anger and potentially make you less productive.
And with all intense emotions, they will feel more painful if you are not well rested, well hydrated or if you’re lacking nutrition. Staying on top of these basic needs can go a long way with managing feelings of intense anger.
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