Plain and simple, the healthiest way to deal with anger is to take preventative measures. Avoid troublesome people and situations that will spike the rage (you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry!). Don’t overgeneralize, obsess, blame or collect things to be upset about. Do practice calming habits and the right diet.
Regardless of this advice, though, if we are honest, and by all means let’s be, sometimes emotions just get the better of us. Our eyes get red, we go cross-eyed and steam spouts from our ears. After all, we can’t prevent life from happening. So, when those moments of fury fall upon you, here are 10 quick ways to cool back down.
Take your pick, chose your favorite or try the tried and true. The key here is to use your body in a positive way to counteract a negative emotion. Be conscious of doing so and you’ll get the most benefit from it.
- Take a Walk/Go for a Jog: This also works well as a routine, releasing stress little by little before the whistle starts blowing. However, one of the great things about walking or jogging is that it stops anything rash from happening. It’s reflective. Calming. Exhausting.
- Stretch: Be it yoga or be it your classic calisthenics from high school PE. Count your stretches so that each movement gets a few breaths. The whole process is meditative as well as good for those tensed up muscles.
- Power Through: It’s important to realize that hitting a punching bag while imagining it is the head of the person causing you stress is not really healthy. However, pushing your body, using the pent up energy for good, is a sound choice and perhaps literally the most powerful way to feed the rage. Try lifting weights, working the heavy bag or some other high intensity exercise.
Anger is, of course, an emotion and weighs heavily in the brain. Thus, using some think juice to set things straight is one of the most effective ways keep the gaskets from blowing. Oddly, it’s good to both distract yourself and, contrarily, to be mindful of why you are doing it.
- Breath Purposefully: It’s the classic of classics when it comes to anger. Breathe deeply, count to 10, and do it again and again until the moment passes. However, don’t use this time to think of more reasons to be angry!
- Focus on the Physical: Rather than reacting outwardly, withdraw into yourself and notice the physical toll the emotion is taking on your body. How are the shoulders feeling? How has your jaw taken the stress? Focus on getting your physical back to being physically comfortable. Don’t stop until it is.
- Be Sensitive: Mind your five senses. Concentrate on what’s around you: What do you see? What smells are wafting through the air? Is a smooth jazz radio station available on the radio? Need a snack?
Hey, therapists aren’t paid the big bucks for nothing. It feels good to talk about what is bothering us, and sharing those emotions in a constructive way is important. Just because we’re angry doesn’t mean we have to shout, snort or growl. We can paint, write or just have a chat with some trusted friend.
- Write It: Start out quickly, scribbling every vile emotion that comes. Express your thoughts until the rational side of the mind takes over and stops the pen from screaming. Use the solutions you’ve discovered in your written rage to express your anger appropriately, leaving no one else the wiser.
Everybody hurts. Everybody gets angry. Luckily, there is a lot we can do to deal with it, beforehand and afterwards. When the rage starts to build up…remember that we all of have a little Hulk inside of us, so it’s best to find a way to get that steam down to a simmer. Happy thoughts to you!