Waiting in long lines, dealing with snide remarks from co-workers, driving through endless traffic — it can all become a bit much. While feeling angry by these daily annoyances is a normal response to stress, spending all your time being upset can become destructive.
It’s no secret that letting anger simmer or having rage outbursts hurts your personal and professional relationships. But it also impacts your well-being. Constantly bottling up our frustration can lead to physical and emotional reactions, including like high blood pressure and anxiety.
The good news is that you can learn to manage and channel your anger constructively
Take deep breaths
In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to overlook your breathing. But that kind of shallow breathing you do when you’re angry keeps you in fight-or-flight mode.
To combat this, try taking slow, controlled breaths you inhale from your belly rather than your chest. This allows your body to instantly calm itself.
You can also keep this breathing exercise in your back pocket:
- Find a chair or place where you can comfortably sit, allowing your neck and shoulders to fully relax.
- Breathe deeply through your nose, and pay attention to your tummy rising.
- Exhale through your mouth.
- Try doing this exercise 3 times a day for 5 to 10 minutes or as needed.
Defuse anger with humor
Finding the humor in a heated moment can help you keep a balanced perspective. This doesn’t mean you should simply laugh off your problems, but looking at them in a more lighthearted way can help.
The next time you feel your rage bubbling up, imagine how this scenario might look to an outsider? How might this be funny to them?
By not taking yourself too seriously, you’ll have more chances to see how unimportant minor annoyances are in the big scheme of things.
Change your surroundings
Give yourself a break by taking some personal time from your immediate surroundings.
If your home is cluttered and stressing you out, for example, take a drive or a long walk. You’ll likely find that you’re better equipped to sort through the mess when you return.
Focus on what you appreciate
While dwelling on your day’s misfortunes can seem like the natural thing to do, it won’t help you in the short or long term.
Instead, try refocusing on the things that went well. If you can’t find the silver lining in the day, you can also try thinking how things might’ve gone even worse.
It’s totally normal and healthy to feel upset an angry from time to time. But if you can’t shake a bad mood or constantly feel overwhelmed by anger, it might be time to ask for help.
If your anger is impacting your relationships and well-being, talking with a qualified therapist can help you work through the sources of your anger and help you develop better coping tools.
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