I consider myself patient, quite calm, but there are times when even the most patient of people get angry. When you’re pissed, people always say stuff like “let it go” and “it won’t matter in a month so why would it matter now?”. For some people like myself, these suggestions are just not feasible. Of course I know I should let go; of course I know I should look at the big picture! But at this moment of infuriation, how does one expect me to even want to let go? At this point I’m just holding on to as much fury as I can, so that I can react upon it, so that I can unleash it upon the “villain”. Not all of us can be the Dalai Lama, and even the Dalai Lama admits it himself: he gets angry too, because he’s human too! It's exactly because it won’t matter in another few hours, a week, or even a month, that it matters now! Because you get irritated by the small things, that you have a chance to forgive and forget. Or is it just an excuse for people like me who can’t move on in a minute and who doesn’t have a heart of gold? “Your positive energy can be regenerated. You have infinite positivity in you. It doesn’t matter who sucks away your positive charge,” and whatnot, I hope I can achieve that kind of “enlightenment” one day soon, but now, I’m not at that monk-ish level. Yet.
The “let it go” and “it won’t matter in a month so why would it matter now?” advice have never worked on me. Believe me. I tried. Because we are a non-bullshit blog, as I always say, I have summarized a list of methods that personally worked in my efforts to exhaust the feelings of momentary anger. They apply to different situations and different people.
1. Countdown from 10 (or 100, or 1000, however long it takes) internally. You can choose to accompany this trick with deep breaths. They say it can calm the nerves, but for me, it’s just a pretty neat distraction. I can focus on the numbers in my head as whoever is the cause of my bad mood yaps away. Will yourself to evaporate all traces of anger as the countdown approaches 0. If this doesn’t work, the next one might.
2. Talking to myself words 70% of the time. Depending on your personality and how you react to provocations and challenges, you can temporarily quiet down the roiling flames inside you by having a inner conversation. Here’s how mine normally goes: “I’m betting you will lose your temper.” *doesn’t lose it* “ … Your heart must be quite puny for this small statement to offend you. Don’t give him the satisfaction of having riled you up. Stay calm, remember? You don’t need to explain anything to anyone.” Find what works for you, be it a gentle voice, or a provocative challenge, or an agressive-coach-kind-of command—anything that can suppress your anger momentarily.
3. One of the most effective ways to silence my anger towards rude strangers is just to assume that they had a bad day. We all have breakdowns, and we all have crappy moods, and what wouldn’t we give for the people whom we unintentionally offended to forgive our careless show of bad behavior? We know how it feels to snap at someone who genuinely cares for you just because we weren’t in the mood at that particular moment. And then we’d feel extremely bad afterwards, thinking of how unpleasant we were. Assume that these people had a bad day and that’s all there is to it. It’s easier to forgive when we acknowledge that it happens to us as well, occasionally. Don’t take it to heart, because who would purposely try to offend a stranger? I’m sure it wasn’t their intention to be a rude, naggy, grumpy hag.
4. If all else fails, say what you mean and brace yourself for the consequences. Be it a broken friendship, or an all-out fight. *I’m joking. Please don’t fight. But do say what you mean.*
If you have some time
5. Exercise till you drop! It’s a great time to get moving, with all those frustration stuffed up in you. Release all your stress and anger on doing the most intensive of workouts, letting your hatred leave you with every outbreath, and every drop of sweat. You might be thinking, “WTH Amber? I’m already in a mess up here and you’re telling me to exercise? As if I have the mood to.” Just do it! Trust me. Some workout music + rage mode = Best workout ever.
6. Read a book, duh! 100% effective, unless you’d rather play games instead. As I said, it differs from person to person. If you like to read novels like me, I’ll tell you that reading a book is by far the most effective trick I use to distract myself from negative thoughts. All my undivided attention is each and every word in the book. After a few chapters, you’ve probably forgotten about whoever-his-name-is.
7. Karaoke works best, because you get to scream however loud you want to. If you don’t want to invite friends, then don’t. Go alone. However, a more affordable alternative to this is to blast a playlist of the most upbeat music with your speakers and sing and dance like there’s no tomorrow. I find that using a long roll of tissue paper works as a mock mic, but you don’t need me to tell you that you can use your water bottle, or ruler (don’t accidentally poke your eye), or a carrot instead. Allowing yourself to be silly and unrestrained releases all the negative charge. Works like magic.
8. Learn something that you can start immediately, like how to code, or how to start a blog, or how to tie a dutch braid, and so on! This works for me as much as reading works for me, but it might not be that useful of a solution for many people
9. If all else fails, SLEEP! When you wake up, your head will be cool as cucumber. If not, then retry all 1-4 points.