How to Keep Anger from Dominating Your Life

Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

Can you feel it? Tension builds. Like a scratch on a record, your emotions go round and round – stuck on the same litany. Thoughts recycle the hurt, anger, frustration and resentment until … finally, the rubber band snaps in your mind. MAD has just taken over your day.

No matter what happens, you don’t want to enjoy life. You’re mad at everyone – spouse, kids, co-workers, clients. If you had “your way”, you would go curl up someplace and lick your wounds. Pout. Feel sorry for yourself. Left unchecked, it can become a way of life.

Most of the time, relationships are the problem. And the culprit in relationship issues is usually selfishness. You want what you want, and you want it NOW.

Guilt, disappointment, manipulation, and aggression precede frustration, irritation, depression and anger. Negative, self-centered emotions, left unchecked, keep you held hostage, a victim of your own feelings. But … do you really want to let your emotions blackmail your life?

You can – with effort – release your anger and other negative emotions. They do not have to dominate your thoughts. Here are five keys to help you rediscover your peace and joy. 

1.       Focus on the positive. It’s easy to lose sight of the blessings when you are immersed in negatives. So, go looking!  

Quick, think of three things that make you feel good. My list would include hot tea, music, and sunshine. Now, I can’t control the sunshine, but I can hang a sunny beach scene within eyesight – maybe on my computer screen. And, I can fix a cup of tea,  turn on some favorite tunes, and start dancing! Which leads to Key #2.

2.       Move. Have you noticed that negative emotions are stagnant? Anger drains energy. So do depression, frustration and guilt. Curled on the couch, pouting, does you no good. Don’t give in. Walk, Jog. Exercise. Dance. Motion affects your brain in positive ways, releasing mood-enhancing chemicals into your brain.

3.       Banish guilt. Guilt, turned outward, becomes anger. Turned inward, it can trigger depression. Guilt is a worthless emotion. You can’t change the past, no matter how you try to punish yourself or others. Instead, take the Apostle Paul’s advice. Forget those things that are behind and press forward with your life.

4.       Forgive. Hanging on to anger and resentment harms only you, not the other person. They may not even be aware that you are angry. Let it go. Nothing is worth the price of your peace.

5.       Help someone else. Nothing changes your attitude faster than focusing on someone else’s needs. Volunteer. Donate. Smile at everyone you meet. It doesn’t take much to add joy to someone else’s day. And you’ll feel better, too.

 It’s your choice. Don’t allow anger to dominate your life. Instead, choose to be positive, active and full of joy.

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