Life is going to make us angry sometimes. There’s no avoiding it. How it manifests itself in our life can vary as can the way we deal with it. For some people going for a long run is the best way to work through it. For others, it’s crying over a cup of coffee with a good friend. But even with the best of intentions, it’s sometimes hard to let the anger go completely.
We’ve all heard the saying “Never go to bed angry” and that’s a great piece of advice to follow since staying angry can lead to physical and emotional repercussions including:
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and perspiration
- Digestion issues, including abdominal pain
- Increased anxiety
- Skin problems, such as eczema
- Heart attack
So what can you do to help let anger go before it starts to damage your physical and mental health?
You can take a run.
No, we’re serious!
Studies have shown that regular exercise can improve mood and reduce stress levels. The physical exertions carried out during exercise routine burns up stress chemicals and boost the production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters in the brain, including endorphins and catecholamines.
So the next time you feel your anger level rising, hit the gym, go for a walk, run on the spot, or do whatever works to help you release your anger before it burdens you down completely.
You can talk (and listen) it out.
When anger strikes, it’s really easy to quickly jump to a conclusion, even if it’s a completely inaccurate one. It’s our natural fight or flight response in action.
To counteract your body’s natural response to being “threatened”, remember to always stop and think before you speak. Don’t just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind and don’t forget to LISTEN to the other person carefully.
It may take some questioning on your part (and the odd break for some breathing space) but by really listening to the underlying meaning of what the other person is saying, you’ll keep the discussion from going off the rails. When a discussion is under control, a solution can be found more quickly and the anger let go of more easily.
You can meditate.
When you become angry, the physical responses of your body (tightening muscles, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and a rush of adrenaline) are all a result of an excess release of the stress hormone, cortisol. Meditation can help to re-balance this harmful hormone and restore your mind and body back to a calm and serene state. It also increases the “happiness” hormone serotonin, which naturally counteracts cortisol.
Meditation can also teach you to show anger (where needed) instead of getting angry. By practicing meditation, you can learn how to remain peaceful inside even while exhibiting signs of anger on the outside.
By stilling the mind, it can also help you to pinpoint the exactly reason(s) why you feel angry, and accept that anger is a natural part of one’s life. It’s only when you understand the reasons behind your anger, that you can figure out strategies to remedy the situation and to let the anger go.
To your inner peace – Anna