“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.” Maya Angelou concisely and vividly explained why anger is such a powerful force. It is quick, destructive, and indiscriminate. It will swallow you whole.
Humanity is often shocked by the things people are capable of when they carry an angry heart. The greatest horrors on earth have been fueled by anger and fear. We, as humans, all too often find ourselves to be powerless against this force. Anger can change who we are – but only if we let it.
Don’t allow yourself to be overtaken by anger. Here are five ways to stifle it until you can regain control:
1. Create something beautiful.
Get in touch with your artistic side. Creative endeavors are known to be very therapeutic. Write a song. Go out into nature and sketch what you see. Break out the finger paints and channel your inner child. Creating artwork helps us to process difficult emotions without overthinking them. It also allows us to engage both sides of our brain. This is very valuable when navigating challenging emotions.
2. Work it out.
Exercise allows us to release tension and frustration in a physical way. It also releases endorphins, which improve your mood. The challenge of physical activity engages both the body and the mind. We become removed from our surroundings. Go for a run to clear your head, or lose yourself in a spin class. Do something kind for your body. Don’t allow your negative energy to break you down. Channel your rage into a productive activity that builds you up.
3. Laugh it off.
We’re not suggesting that you dismiss your feelings. However, injecting a little bit of humor into your dilemma can help you to release tension. Take the edge off your anger. Then, you will be able to address the issue more honestly. Make a joke about the situation. Tell the story in a funny way. Draw a caricature of the person who upset you. Examining your anger with a comedian’s eyes will make the situation seem much more manageable.
4. Take a nap.
We are more susceptible to anger and negativity when we are tired. Unfortunately, most of us are tired all the time. Do something kind for yourself. Rest. If you are too angry to fall asleep, just lay in bed with some soothing music. Give your body a time out. Allow your mind to relax. You will wake up renewed and able to look at your anger with a fresh, well-rested perspective.
5. Talk it out.
Problems have a way of seeming smaller once we verbalize them. Use your words. Tell a third party why you are upset. Venting can be a healthy release when done correctly. Commiserate. Share stories. Ask for help. Humans were not meant to tread this emotional terrain in solitude. Others can offer sympathy, compassion, and even advice. If anger is a recurrent problem in your life, consider speaking with a therapist. A regular venting of your frustrations can help them to stay manageable.