Woman With Lots of AngerThere's nothing wrong with getting angry, particularly if you have a good reason to do so. An outburst of anger can even be temporarily cathartic. If you hold on to anger, however, it can develop into resentment and bitterness. While negative emotions aren't necessarily bad, knowing how to address them can help you respond in a healthy way so that they don't take over your life. Here are some tips for dealing with and ultimately letting go of anger.

Acknowledge How You Feel

For many people of faith, the urge to extend forgiveness comes swiftly. Various traditions consider it to be the higher ground to which all should aspire. Forgiveness is certainly a kind thing to do, but if you try to rush into it without dealing with your anger, you may end up with nothing but the appearance of forgiveness instead of the actual experience.

The first step is admitting that you are angry. If the offense was slight, this admission may only need to be to yourself. Then you can choose the best method for processing your feelings:

  • Write them down
  • Identify what triggered them
  • Try to understand the perspective of the other person
  • Practice deep breathing techniques

Dispel Physical Reactions

Anger can be such a strong emotion that it produces a physical response. You may notice your muscles tensing up as if your body is preparing for an actual fight, even if you have no intention of engaging in such an altercation. Your heart rate is likely to increase as well. If these physical symptoms persist, they could result in sore muscles or a headache later in the day, and if they build up over time, they can have a negative impact on your overall health. Finding a way to get rid of the excess energy caused by a surge of anger can help you calm the way it manifests in your body.

If you're already a runner, your regular routine can be a good way to dispel anger. When you are not used to that kind of activity, however, jumping into it when your heart rate is already elevated by emotion can do more harm than good. Instead, try engaging in calming, moderate activity. Take a leisurely walk to clear your head. Use the energy to give the bathtub a good scrubbing. Put on some upbeat music and dance in your living room. It doesn't take much movement to help you feel like your normal self again.

Talk About It

Sometimes, negative emotions can only be released when you share them with someone else. That doesn't mean that you should request a regular appointment on your boss's calendar to vent, publicly shame people who offend you or become the office complainer. If you choose an appropriate time and place to talk about your feelings, the person listening is more likely to be receptive and want to make amends.

Talking to the person with whom you are angry is not always an option, though. You are not doomed to hold on to your anger with them just because you can't engage in a direct confrontation. Talking about the problem with a counselor or therapist can help you work through the emotions so that you can release them. Additionally, a mental health practitioner is likely to have other resources that are pertinent to your unique situation and can help you through it.

Getting angry is nothing to be ashamed of. It's a natural human emotion, and when managed effectively, it can actually be beneficial in the long run. The key is to not allow it to linger beyond its usefulness. By learning to let go of your anger, you don't have to be afraid of it taking over.

Category: Health and Wellness

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