Letting go of anger is essential to achieving happiness. Carrying around anger, grudges, and resentments is toxic to physical and emotional health. It’s normal to feel angry, but the level of anger (do you feel annoyed or irate?) and the way you express it (do you talk calmly or yell?) makes a big difference. Anger that is poorly managed or repressed can often lead to headaches, sleep problems, depression, high blood pressure and even heart attacks.
Letting go of anger can feel daunting. The first thing to remember is that you are working toward letting go of anger for you. You’re not letting go of anger to let someone else off the hook. In fact, the goal is to let go of anger because it is hurting you more than it is hurting anyone else. In addition to the negative physical and emotional effects of anger, anger often pushes people away. Therefore, an angry person may lose important relationships.
Here are some strategies to help you let go of anger:
- Talk it out: In some cases it can be helpful to talk to the person you’re angry with about how you feel. This needs to be done in a managed way, without yelling or slinging insults. Try to use “I” statements like, “I feel upset/angry when I’m ignored/belittled/unappreciated (or whatever the case may be),” rather than, “You make me angry when you…” Try to stick to the issue at hand rather than making broad statements like, “I’m angry because you never listen, etc.” Avoid using words like “always” and “never” when communicating how you feel. This puts the other person on the defensive which inhibits you from having a successful conversation.
- Utilize self-help: There are several great books, workbooks, and programs for anger management that can help you. These resources are cheap and convenient. Here are a few suggestions:
3. Take care of your physical health: Foster your physical health by exercising, eating well, and avoiding excessive alcohol. Alcohol may create the perception of temporary relief from anger, but obviously the real issues are not being addressed when alcohol is masking feelings. Further, drinking alcohol can lead to other mental health problems like depression and anxiety, therefore exacerbating negative feelings like anger. Bottom line- alcohol often makes anger worse.
4. Write down how you feel: It’s not always possible to address your angry feelings with someone, but writing in a journal or writing a letter that you never send, can be therapeutic and relieving.
5. Get support: Join a support group, go to therapy, and talk to friends or family members. Feeling supported and understood is an important part of the healing process.
The effort you put into letting go of anger will be energy well-spent because anger that is repressed or excessive is harmful to your mind and body. Let go of your anger and you will live a happier life!
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