How can we feel less anger?
We all get angry. Even His Holiness the Dalai Lama has admitted to feelings of anger.
EVERYONE feels anger, and it's important to remind ourselves that ALL of our human emotions are valid, and we are built to experience all of them, no matter who we are or how emotionally intelligent or enlightened we are.
What we want to begin to become more aware of is how long we stay in a state of anger, and to understand that when we are 'IN' anger, we are generally not thinking as clearly or logically as we could, or be able to distance ourselves enough to get a level perspective on things.
That's when people do or say things they might later regret, and then families can really suffer, friendships can dissolve, and unfortunately sometimes they never repair. And we've all seen or heard the research to support that hanging on to anger and other so called 'negative' emotions for long periods isn't good for our physical mental emotional or spiritual health.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we as individuals or if whole communities experienced less anger and more kindness?
But is that easier said than done?
What are some of the steps we can take to let go of anger more quickly?
These 5 steps might help:
1. Building self awareness
The first thing we need to build is some self awareness around WHAT our triggers are.
What things get under your skin? What situations push your buttons?
These are different for every person and depend on what your values are, what you've experienced in the past, the relationships in your life and their history, and a range of other factors. When you start to self-reflect you can think back to the last few times you got really angry and why, then you'll start to work this one out.
And big things like grief and loss can manifest as anger. I've had first hand experience with this after losing my sister a year ago. I felt like I had a much shorter fuse at times and snapped so much more quickly for a few months.
If you've experienced this and it isn't subsiding with time then it's good to get some professional support to help you navigate this challenging time in your life.
2. Noticing - How do you usually respond?
This is another exercise in self awareness, which is all about building our emotional intelligence. When you get angry what happens? Do you go red in the face? Does your heart race? Does your mind start to race with thoughts? What is your self talk? Do you throw things? How does it affect the people around you?
Working out how you DO anger is an important step and is as valuable as considering what situations get you into a state. Then you'll know what triggers you and how you usually respond. At this point acknowledge yourself because lots of people never even look at this. You are expanding your emotional intelligence, accepting that you are human and valuable and this can assist you to start feeling so much more empowered across all areas of your life.
3. Build your Intervention list