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. Always bottling up our frustration can lead to physical and emotional reactions, including 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 calm itself instantly.
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 relax fully.
• 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.
Recite a comforting mantra
Repeating a calming phrase can make it easier to express difficult emotions, including anger and frustration.
Try slowly repeating, “Take it easy,” or “Everything’s going to be okay,” the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by a situation. You can do this out loud if you want, but you can also say it under your breath or in your head.
Mindfully move your body
Sometimes, sitting still can make you feel even more anxious or on edge. Mindfully moving your body with yoga and other calming exercises can release tension in your muscles.
The next time you’re confronted by a stressful situation, try taking a walk or even doing some light dancing to keep your mind off the stress.
Check your perspective
Moments of high stress can warp your perception of reality, making you feel like the world is out to get you. The next time you feel anger bubbling up, try to check your perspective.
Everyone has bad days from time to time, and tomorrow will be a fresh start.
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 about how things might’ve gone even worse.