Maybe your mother-in-law made a bitchy comment about the dress you wore to Christmas. Maybe someone on the subway yelled at your for something that wasn’t even your fault. Maybe you read any news story at all during 2017.
Whatever it was, it’s easy to get angry. And it’s important. There’s nothing wrong with feeling the full spectrum of human emotions. It’s what you do with that anger that matters. Blowing up at others usually just sends you into a spiral of guilt, while bottling it up leads to further resentment.
So, how should you deal with anger in a productive way? Here are 8 tips to get you started.
Honestly, I hate this as a catch-all tip for solving problems, but it really can help. Ignore how cheesy and overly chipper the idea is and set your treadmill to a higher speed than normal. Or better yet, get yourself over to a punching bag and show it who’s boss.
I hate this one too. Practicing controlled breathing can help you control your anger and avoid outbursts. It will make you feel calmer. Now I have to Google how to control my breathing because writing this one made me angry,
If You Let It Out, Wait Till You Get Home
Releasing anger alone can be a healthy coping mechanism. Instead of yelling at the aforementioned subway guy for being a huge a-hole, go home (or into any space where you are completely alone) and yell, scream, cry, whatever- don’t stop until you’re legitimately tired. This method helps you move on without holding onto resentment, AND it’ll keep you from getting punched.
Find a Creative Outlet
Writing about why you’re angry can help you process it later on. Of course, you probably won’t feel much like pulling out a pen or paintbrush during the most heated part of your outburst, but doing something introspective can help you work through a bigger, more permanent cause of anger.
Tell a Third Party About the Incident
Sharing our stories of outrage and shame can help you let go of the situation. Telling a trusted loved one about an incident that made you angry can help you move forward and, often, the other person will have a similar story of their own. Knowing you’re not alone in your feelings can be very healing, and speaking about your issues helps them dissipate.
Use a Stress-Relief Toy
Squeeze a stress ball like you wish you could squeeze the necks of your enemies!
Fight It With Cuteness
Distracting yourself with a cute and silly YouTube video can actually help you diffuse your anger, even if it seems like the last thing you’d be interested in. Certain parts of your brain react positively to things we perceive as cute, whether it be fat babies or puppies that can barely walk. This lightens your mood, which can help combat anger.
And my personal favorite…
Imagine The Other Person as a Literal Douchebag
This sounds wacky, I realize, but the American Psychological Association actually recommends imagining the person who angered you as the derogatory name you want to call them. I would venture to say this works better for some curse words than others.