When you’re angry, it’s a red flag that something needs to change, and when you’re extremely angry, something needs to change right now. Here are 6 things to do when this emotion is taking control of you.
At a certain age you start holding back on the immediacy of your emotions, and who can blame you? These days, being too happy is considered naïve, being too sad is an automatic clinical diagnosis, and being too angry is a complete waste of energy.
You’ve heard it all. Suck it up. Let it go. Move on. Anger isn’t worth it. Right? WRONG. Anger is the most important emotion you have. When you’re angry, it’s a red flag that something needs to change, and when you’re extremely angry, something needs to change right now.
Here are 6 things to do when this emotion is taking control of you:
1. Acknowledge it: Clenching your teeth while stuffing your feelings does no good for you, your mate, or your gastrointestinal tract. There's nothing wrong with being angry. Admitting it to yourself, or as calmly as possible to the person you're locking horns with, can feel validating, and it's the first step in working toward resolution.
2. Cool off with exercise: A great outlet to reduce tension is physical activity: use your anger as fuel for a healthier lifestyle. Test various workouts and figure out which are most effective at calming your anger. Some people prefer aggressive exercise, such as kickboxing or running, while others find quieter activities more beneficial, such as walking, gardening, or (gasp!) cleaning.
3. Do your homework: If you feel extremely angry because of something that’s out of your control, do your homework before reacting. Look beyond what’s happened and find out why it has. Look past someone’s actions and look at their intentions: most of the time, they haven’t intended to hurt you. There are always underlying circumstances, a cause and effect, and it’s crucial to look at a situation from every angle so all perspectives are taken into account. Nothing diffuses anger like logic.
4. Draw: You don’t have to be the next da Vinci. Grab a pencil and just start scrawling onto a piece of paper. It doesn’t even have to be a coherent picture. Let your art be ‘abstract’ as you stab at the paper. Who knows, you might actually end up with something pretty.
5. Listen to music: Some may wish to replace this with listening to audio books, religious material, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you don’t listen to music, try something else. The main idea is to have a low-involvement activity that lets your mind drift off, or engages you in some active thought. Some people listen to hard metal screamo music when they’re angry, some listen to Beethoven. To each his own.
6. Don’t play the victim: The worst thing you can do is blame the entire universe for your problems. Yes, this person did you wrong, and sure, that situation could have worked out better, but you have a mind of your own: your life isn’t happening to you, so why are you acting like it is? Until you take responsibility for your part in what’s happened, how your reaction to this person and that situation lead you to where you are today, you’ll just keep making the same mistakes and fanning the fire instead of putting it out.