10 Tips for Avoiding Anger

17/52 by M I S C H E L L E, on Flickr

Frustration and anger are something we all experience every so often. I put anger and frustration together in the same category mostly because, usually, anger comes rooted in a sense of intense frustration. Feeling anger is natural, but being in a constantly angry state, or letting yourself reach a high level of frustration several times a week can be unhealthy and damaging to you and others around you.

For a lot of people, anger is an immediate response to an unwanted trigger. We are only human, and we cannot easily change how we immediately desire to react to a situation. We can, however, with a little bit of effort, change how we do react and with what actions and words we respond.

This list is not only for those raging day in and day out. This list is for anyone who does not want to be angry or upset as often as they are now. Take a look at your very recent life. Are you happy with how you handle situations? Do you let yourself get very upset, but hold in all your frustration? You don’t have to act like an angry person to be an angry person. Many people are easily worked up, but do not express their emotions. If you can relate to the previous statement, then yes, this list is for you, too.

We, as intelligent and emotionally-aware creatures, have the amazing ability to choose how we want to feel about a situation or person in the long-run. Choosing to forgo anger when it is not necessary or wanted allows us to choose happiness and peace instead. Next time you feel yourself getting worked up about something or someone, try these simple tricks:

10 Tips for Avoiding Anger

  1. Ask yourself what you are angry about. Then ask yourself, “Will this really matter in the long-run? Will it deeply affect me if I let this go today? Will holding this grudge be worth the days, hours, or even minutes I choose to stay angry over being happy?”
  2. Give empathy a try. If you are mad at a person, put yourself in their shoes and aim for understanding. If the situation were flipped, would you feel you deserved their anger?
  3. Reflect. Ask yourself if something other than the immediate situation is spoiling your mood. You may find you’re projecting onto other people or things.
  4. Take a break. Stop what you are doing, step back, and just breathe.
  5. Journal it out. Write down everything and anything that you are thinking until you feel you’ve gotten all the anger out of your system. Reflect on what you’ve written. Aim to learn from the experience.
  6. Work it off. Go out into the fresh air and take a walk or run around the block. Try hitting the gym. You can’t always just “work off” your anger, but chances are you’ll be able to think a lot more clearly after expelling all of that initial frustration.
  7. Try taking care of yourself. Take a break and treat yourself to a long, hot bath, a cat nap, or an afternoon snack. Give yourself a break to cool down.
  8. Phone a friend. No, this is not a free pass to vent on that co-worker you just can’t stand or your boss who’s been breathing down your neck. Yes, a little talking should help ease your frustration, but venting too much and too often will keep you thinking about the same situation over and over again. You might find yourself stuck in a rut. Instead, call up an old friend or take one out for the day/night. Have a good laugh. Enjoy each other’s company. Create a happier situation for yourself.
  9. Count your blessings. Angry at the guy who cut in front of you in traffic? Consider how lucky you are to have a car, to have a job, or to be going home at all. Angry with your spouse or significant other? Mentally list all the reasons why you love him or her and why continuing to be angry would not be worth the potential damage. Try to regain sight of the good parts of your life.
  10. Give yourself permission to be happy. A lot of times, we convince ourselves that we have a right to be angry. We tell ourselves that if we “give up” and ignore what upsets us, we will be “weak”. We believe that we deserve to be angry. Remove these ideas from your mind immediately. You do have a right to be angry, but you do not deserve it. You deserve to be happy, and you have a right to that, too. Besides, between the two, which would you rather choose? If the source of your anger is something that won’t be important in the long-run, try telling yourself that it’s okay to let go, and make an attempt to move on with your day.
“Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.” — Lucius Annaeus Seneca
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