For every minute that you are angry,
you lose 60 seconds of happiness.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride these last couple weeks. Challenges on the work front, two fabulous kids that are ALL about testing boundaries. So when I was flipping though the most recent issue of Whole Living (May 2012, pg. 2), their little excerpt on anger jumped right out at me. I immediately wrote down the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote that they included, taped it up on my desk smack-dap next to my computer (I wanted to be sure that I wouldn’t miss it) and began noodling on how I could do a better job of working through some of this “stuff”.
Here’s what I came up with…
Anger’s Dirty Little Secret
Anger has its place, for sure. But regular, reoccurring bouts of anger can start to take a toll physically. When we experience anger, our bodies are going into “fight or flight” mode – releasing high levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are redirecting blood away from other parts of the body to the muscles, getting us ready for confrontation. In turn, our blood pressure goes up, heart rate increases and our breathing becomes quick and shallow. If left unchecked, we begin to experience headaches, insomnia, digestive issues, depression, hypertension and other long-term health problems. Not good.
The Goal: Let the anger pass quickly and effectively so that our bodies can return to a relative state of calm.
5 LITTLE TRICKS WORTH TRYING
Take a few deep breaths.
The act of breathing has a naturally soothing effect on the body, telling both your brain and your nervous system that its is safe to relax and return to a state of calm. When you feel yourself getting riled up, redirect your focus to your breath. Not only will it send your body the message to chill out, it will also give you a few valuable moments to collect your thoughts.
Identify what’s making you angry.
Write it down. Say it out loud. Whatever it takes to give it shape. Too often, we allow our anger to be misdirected, lashing out about something small and insignificant when it is another matter all together that has set us off. First, define what it is that is causing you to get angry. Then you can go about the business of making it right.
Explain your anger clearly and constructively.
For the last several years, I have watched my children learn to manage conflict through the use of “I” statements. “I feel X, when you do Y. What I would like is for you to do Z.” Super simple stuff – and it works. Going on the attack will only add fuel to an already fiery situation. Instead, step back and clearly state how YOU are feeling and what YOU need to feel better.
No good comes from keeping your anger bottled up. When you opt to hold on to feelings anger and resentment, you deny your body the much-needed opportunity to relax, release and let go of the high-alert, high-stress hormones running through your system.
Put it behind you.
Once you have said your peace, it’s done. Let it go. Regularly revisiting moments of anger will not only take its toll on you physically, it will also have an adverse effect on your relationships with the people around you. Instead, focus on the positive, enjoy the moment and use your experience to make for a better future.