Ways to overcome anger
. We believe that we have been treated unfairly. We tell ourselves that we deserve more, and we buy into this story that someone has wronged us.
. We feel that we have lost something that we have identified ourselves with. Feelings, pride, money, car, job.
. We blame other people or external situations for having caused our loss, for taking advantage of us unfairly. The blame often only resides in our heads and is a product of our imagination. We fail to see things from other peoples perspectives. We become deeply selfish.
. We experience pain, mental distress, and anxiety. The pain causes physical responses in our body, which disturbs our natural energy flow and state of wellbeing.
. We focus on the thing we dont want, and energize it by complaining about it passionately, and repeating it to as many people who will listen. This creates a downward spiral of anger. What we focus on expands, this is true regardless of the emotion.
. The fastest way to change negative feelings is by changing our physical position right away. The easiest way to physically change is by moving our eye position. When we are in a negative state, we are likely looking down. Suddenly looking up (into our visual plane) will interrupt the negative patterns of sinking into the quick sand of bad feelings.
What Do You Want
. Sit down and write down exactly what it is that you want out of the current situation. Your job is to describe the end result you would like to see. Be clear, realistic and fair. Be specific with your description. Including dates of when you would like to see the results.
Once you have this clearly mapped out, and when you find yourself drifting into negative thoughts of what you dont want, you can shift your focus on this list instead.
Also, when we do this exercise consciously, well come to find that the arbitrary and materialistic things that we thought we wanted, arent want we want, after all. Clarity is a beautiful thing.
Finding the Light
. Darkness can only be eliminated when there is light (like a lamp, or sunlight). In the same way, negative things can only be replaced by positive things. Remember that regardless of what is happening to us externally, or how bad things appear in our mind, we always have the choice to speak and see things positively.
I know this is harder to do when youre in midst of heated emotions, but Im a big believer that there is something to be learned from every situation we encounter. Look for the lesson. Find something about the situation that youve gained, whether its a material possession or an understanding or a personal growth. Find the light so you can uncover the darkness of your mind.
. Surrender to our egos need to be right, to blame, to be spiteful, and to be revengeful. Surrender to the moment. Surrender to the pull to become worked-up by the situation.
Become mindful. Watch your thoughts and learn to separate your thoughts from your own identity. Your thoughts are not you.
Things will play out regardless of whether we become emotional or not. Trust that the universe will work its course and do its job. By not surrendering, we get worked up for nothing, and our body will suffer as a result of it.
Circle of Influence
. When we are feeling down, its easy to be sucked into the downward spiral of bad feelings. It really doesnt help to be around others complaining about the same issues. Its counter-productive to getting well.
Instead, find a group of people with a positive outlook. When we are around such a group of people, they will remind us of things we already know deep within us, we can start to recognize the good, and the positives. When we are down, we can draw energy from them in order to rise above the problem and negative state.
In the same way that being around negative people can affect you in a negative way, being around happy and optimistic people can raise our awareness, and help us move out of the un-resourceful state.
. Find an uninterrupted space, and bring a notepad and pen with you. List out (in as much detail) everything you are grateful for in your life, either in the past, or present; either experiences, relationships, friendships, opportunities or material possessions. Fill up the page, and use as many pages as you have things to be thankful for. Be sure to thank your heart and your body.
This is a simple, yet underestimated tool to help us focus our attention on what matters. This exercise can also shift our state of mind from one of a lower frequency to that of a higher frequency. It also helps us to gain clarity and to remind ourselves that we have much to be thankful for.
No matter how bad things get, we always, always have things to be grateful for. If anything, we have the opportunity of life, in which we have the freedom to grow, to learn, to help others, to create, to experience, to love.
Ive also found it particularly effective to add silent meditation for 5-10 minutes prior, and visualizing everything on your gratitude list after the gratitude exercise. Try it for yourself!
. Meditation is training for the mind; to calm the noise in our mental space, to lower our thought count, to draw out inner wisdom, and mostly it helps us to recognize and remain anchored in our divine state.
Regardless of what is happening external to us, we have the capacity to remain centered, in a state of acceptance, of flow, of peace, and of love. When we are in this state, we are rational and have the clarity we need to handle any situation with grace, and with minimal stress on our body.
Breathing Relaxation Techniques
. Most of us are shallow breathers, and air only stays in the top of our lungs. Deep breathing exercises will get more oxygen into our brains, and into the rest of our body.
. We cannot laugh and be upset at the same time. When we make the physical movement required to laugh or smile, we instantly feel light-hearted and joyful.
Try it now: give me that beautiful smile of yours. I want a genuine and large smile now! J How do you feel? Do you feel an instant jolt of joy? Did you temporarily forget about your problems?
List out a series of movies that make you laugh and stock them up at home. Or meet up with a humorous friend who can really get you laughing. For my friend going through the divorce, I prescribed Episode 10 of Survivor Gabon, he laughed until his stomach hurt and told me the next day that he slept very well, without once thinking about the negativity that would otherwise trigger anger.
. For my little vindictive rascals out there, I know the idea to forgive your
Snap a Rubber Band
. Wear an elastic/rubber band around your wrist, at all times. Every time you find yourself having a thought that would lead to a downward negative cycle, snap the rubber band. It might sting a little. But this actually trains our mind to avoid triggering those thoughts. Pain is an amazing motivator.
Identify and Eliminate Your Triggers
. Sit down and brainstorm a list of reminders and activities that will trigger this negative emotion in us. It might be hearing the word
Identify What Anger Brings
. List all the things that youve gained as a result of being angry. When youre done, go down this list and count the number of positive things that are actually conducive to your wellbeing. By the way, making the other person suffer and feel pain does not count as conducive to your wellbeing. This exercise helps us bring more awareness, rationality and clarity into the situation.
Seek Closure Solve the Problem
. To the best of your ability, do not drag anything on for the sake of winning or being right; its not healthy for anyone involved. Just because we surrender to the external events and choose not to give them any more attention, does not mean that we sit back passively to let others step all over us. Take action that will help you move onto the next step, and closer to resolution. Be proactive and thoughtful. The faster you can get the problem resolved, the quicker you can set yourself free, mentally.
Allow yourself to feel angry
. You may think you need to cover negative feelings with positive ones. You dont. Youre entitled to feel whatever you need to feel. We all are.
Make a conscious choice to sit with the feeling
. Oftentimes when Im angry I feel the need to act on it, but later I generally wish Id waited. Decide that youre not going to do anything until the feeling has less of a grip on you.
Feel the anger in your body
. Is your neck tense? Is your chest burning? Is your throat tightening? Are your legs twitching? Recognize the sensations in your body and breathe into those areas to clear the blockages that are keeping you feeling stuck.
See this as an exercise in self soothing
. You can get yourself all revved-up, stewing in righteousness and mentally rehashing all the ways you were wronged. Or you can talk yourself down from bitter rage into a place of inner calm. In the end, were the only ones responsible for our mental states, so this is a great opportunity to practice regulating yours.
Commit to acting without seeking retribution
. Decide that youre not looking to get even or regain a sense of power. Youre looking to address the situation and communicate your thoughts about it clearly.
Check in with your mood before the incident
. Were you having a bad day already? Were you already feeling annoyed or irritated? It could be that someones actions were the straw that broke the camels back, but not fully responsible for creating these feelings.
Ask yourself Why is this bothering you so much
. Is it really what someone else did, or are you feeling angry because of what youre interpreting their actions to mean? (For example, you may think that your boyfriend not showing up means that he doesnt respect you, when he may have a valid explanation).
Take a projection inventory
. If youre angry with someone for doing something that youve done many times before, your feelings may be magnified by seeing a behavior of your own that youre not proud of. Look for all areas where you may be projecting your own traits onto someone else to get closer to root of your feelings.
Journal about it
. Grab your pen and walk yourself through it step by step. What did the other person do? Are you assuming negative intentions on their part? Have they done this before? How do you feel besides angry do you feel insecure, frustrated, or confused? Get it all out.
Put it in a letter
. Now that you know more clearly what part the other person played in your anger and which part is more about you, write a letter to him or her. You may send this letter, or you might end up just burning it. This is to help you clarify what exactly youd like that person to know, understand, or change.
Respond without Anger
. Now that youre clear about the role you played in your anger, initiate a verbal conversation about what bothered you.You could also send the letter you wrote, but it will be easier to clarify parts the other person doesnt understand if youre having a direct back-and-forth exchange.
Use I feel language
. So instead of saying, You didnt show up so you obviously dont care about me, say, When you forget about the things that are important to me, I feel hurt. In this way, youre not assuming the other person meant to make you feel bad youre just explaining how it makes you feel so they can understand how their actions impact you.
Resist the urge to unload all your unspoken grievances
. Sometimes one annoyance can open the floodgates to a laundry list of complaints but no one responds well to a barrage of criticism. Stick to the issue at hand, and address the other things at some other time.
Stay open to the other persons perspective
. Its possible that they feel angry, too, and think that youre the one in the wrong. Its also possible that there isnt a right or wrong, but rather two people who see things differently and need to see each others point of view.
Focus on creating a solution
. If your goal is to get the other person to admit that theyre wrong, youll probably end up in a power struggle. Focus instead on what youd like to change in the future for example, youd appreciate it if she would come straight to you next time instead of complaining about you behind your back. You can help facilitate this by owning some responsibility that you will listen if he comes to you instead of getting emotional.
Learn what you value
. This situation taught you something useful about what you value in the people you choose to be friends with maybe directness, humility, or loyalty. This will help you decide which people you might want to spend more or less time with going forward.
Learn what you need
. It might be something you need to improve your relationship, or it might be that you need to end a relationship because you know it doesnt serve you. Learn it, own it, act on it.
Learn how to communicate clearly
. This experience was an exercise in expressing yourself in the best way to be heard and understood. There will definitely be more situations like this in the future, so this is good practice for misunderstandings and struggles to come.
Learn how you can improve your response to anger going forward
. Maybe you reacted too quickly, so now youve learned to put more space between your feelings and your response. Maybe you got defensive, and the other person shut down, so youve learned to be less accusatory in the future.
Learn what youll do differently in the future
. You probably realized somewhere along this journey that you played some role in the situation. Very rarely is it black and white. Once you own your part, now you can use that knowledge to create more peaceful relationships going forward.
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