“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.” ~Buddha
Anger is merciless.
It leaves you feeling torn up inside.
Your head pounds. Your jaw locks. And your muscles scream. Every inch reels in pain with the electric shock that shoots through you.
You can’t eat, or sleep, or function like a rational human being.
You’ve good reason to be afraid of unleashing that screaming monster of rage lurking inside you. You’ll likely lose control, lash out, and retaliate.
Even though you have been wronged, you’ll end up feeling guilty, ashamed, even horrified by your reaction. That’s one more regret your peace of mind wouldn’t stand.
But sometimes the person you’re enraged with is yourself. That’s a doubly painful blow of anger and self-disgust.
Being angry is exhausting . . . and yet you’ve found the energy to keep it alive for months, even years.
I have too. Oh sure.
I devoted the first half of my life to being angry, silently seething, and ever resentful. I’d periodically explode in rage and then be consumed with shame for losing control and screaming words I could never retract.
I lived on nerves that felt like they were constantly fried with 40,000 volts. That was a hideous way to be.
And for the longest time, that burning fury that raged inside me seemed totally justified. All that bitter resentment, well, “what else should I feel?” my thoughts screamed. No chance to be a kid, no carefree years, blissfully unaware of some of the bad things that could happen in life. They were right there, every day. They stole my childhood.
Growing up in an unpredictable, unhappy environment was the pits. I hated it, hated not being able to escape, and hated everyone involved because they were old enough to know better. They denied me my childhood.
My anger was borne out of having had no control of those events; my resentment grew out of a sense of loss. Oh boy, bitterness is so corrosive.
All that anger, all that resentment had to go for me to have any chance of happiness.
So with a newfound rationality, I learned to listen to my angry thoughts. I heard the pain and sadness wrapped in every one. I recognized the self-harm my anger was inflicting. I realized I’d been the one keeping alive those events and people that had hurt me, and I alone had the power to decide their time was over.
And that feels incredible.
I very much want that for you too. To be free. To let go of all that resentment, anger, and rage.
How? With one small anger-conquering action at a time.
40 Ways to Let Go of Anger
1. Look at your rulebook.
If you never explained your rules to the person who angered you, how can you be upset that they broke them? Maybe their rules are different.
2. Use aromatherapy to create a calm environment.
Candles and diffusers alleviate stress and anxiety. Or try a couple of calming drops of essential lavender oil on your pillow.
3. Buy a recordable alarm clock.
4. Recognize that others say and do harsh things out of jealousy.
Change your anger to compassion because they are obviously struggling with their own negative emotions.
5. Personalize a keep-calm mug.
Choose some anger-defeating text for your mug. Use it at work or home.
6. Let your anger fizzle out with a bath-bomb.
Relax in a warm bath as you watch the bath-bomb and your anger fizzle away.
7. Quiet your anger.
If you’re likely to fall into a rage when speaking up, say nothing at all. “Silence is sometimes the best answer.” ~Dalai Lama
8. Visualize your anger as a drop of water.
Close your eyes and see your mind as a crystal-blue ocean of calm. See your anger as a single drop of water falling into your calm ocean, barely causing a ripple before being absorbed.
9. Create a universe of peace in your bedroom.
Make a night sky with luminous stars and planets. Lie on your bed with the lights off, and pick a star to project your anger onto. Now re-focus to see the whole galaxy with your anger as a tiny dot among a universe of peace.
10. Put your anger to bed.
Anxiety and irritability are instigated by lack of sleep. More sleep can be as effective as conscious meditation. “Sleep is the best meditation.” ~Dalai Lama
11. Take responsibility for your anger.
Someone can influence your anger response, but only you control it.
12. See your anger as a boiling kettle.
Flick the switch to off as if you were turning off your anger. Let your temper cool down like the kettle.
13. Look at who you’ve become.
See how letting go will allow you to be true to yourself and finally at peace.
14. Paint an angry mouth on an hourglass egg timer.
Now paint a happy mouth on the other half. Turn your angry mouth upside down and watch the happy mouth fill.
15. Understand that you are only hurting yourself.
“Holding onto anger is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” ~Unknown
16. Recognize their inner angst.
This is the real reason they acted like they did. Heal your anger by setting out to help them feel better about themselves.
17. Blow up a dozen balloons.
Write an angry thought on each one and step on them until they pop, leaving only the shredded remnants of your deflated anger.
18. See your anger as a runaway horse.
Imagine it trying to break out of your “mind paddock.” Rein it in.
19. Use wise words to halt angry words.
In confrontational situations, remember: “Speak in anger and you will have made the best speech you will regret.” ~Dr. Laurence J. Peter
20. Wear a calming color.
Avoid confrontational colors like red and black. Instead wear calming blue or soothing green.
21. Have a calming message engraved on a ring.
Avoid anger by playing with your ring and thinking of those soothing words.
22. Use a mirror for self-reflection.
Look in the mirror and let your anger out. “The more you hide your feelings, the more they show. The more you deny your feelings, the more they grow.” ~Unknown
23. Shred a physical representation of your anger.
Take those hurtful letters, print off those emails, or write out your angry thoughts. Push the pages through a shredder, and reduce your anger to tatters.
24. Record yourself describing your anger.
Capture your angry thoughts on your phone or computer. Listen back to this as if it were a good friend telling you theirs. Offer yourself the empathetic advice you would give a friend.
25. Repeat a happy mantra.
Regain control of your emotions by repeating, “I’m a happy person who does not see the benefit of staying angry.”
26. Choose a positive, healthy outlet.
Use feel-good endorphins to dispel anger by going for a run or singing loudly and dancing energetically.
27. Express your anger to a friend.
A supportive environment can be hugely beneficial in getting your emotions out safely.
28. Use a self-hypnosis video.
Hypnosis can help you get your anger under control. Alternatively, try a registered hypnotherapist.
29. Shift your perspective.
If you cannot change the events that have made you angry, change your perspective for the sake of your peace of mind.
30. Take a soothing shower.
Wash away your anger with calming ylang ylang or chamomile shower gel.
31. Personify your anger.
Imagine it as a fiery-tempered troll in your path. Push it away.
32. Remind yourself that you have a choice.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.” ~Viktor E. Frankl. Decide that your response will not be anger.
33. Keep this quote on you at all times:
“He who angers you, conquers you.” ~Elizabeth Kenny. Repeat it to yourself when you feel anger rising, or pull it out and read if possible.
34. Take a step back.
In a confrontational situation, physically take a step back.
35. Be honest with yourself.
What are you achieving by holding on to anger? Is it a case of injured pride that you would really love to swap for forgiveness?
36. Picture angry thoughts as bitter, poisonous seeds.
Stop these from taking root in your mind. Instead, raise a happy, forgiving “mind garden” by populating your thoughts with anger-defeating quotes.
37. Plant a garden of compassion.
Take the idea above a step further with a flower border or window box. For your own well-being, plant a flower for anyone who has angered you to signify your wish to forgive them.
38. Weed out your anger.
When you tend your Garden of Compassion, picture each weed you root out as further uprooting your anger.
39. Seek help to defeat your anger.
If you feel stuck in a cycle of resentment and anger, consider taking a course.
40. Laugh at your anger.
“People are too serious. All the time, too serious.” ~Dalai Lama. Anger is sometimes just injured self-pride. It’s not easy, but try not taking yourself so seriously.
Beat Your Inner Anger Monster for Good
Being angry has stolen your happiness for too long.
It’s eaten you up from the inside and shattered your peace of mind.
It’s even affected your health.
But worse still, it’s allowed the person or events that caused your anger to have power over you.
Just imagine getting through a whole day without losing your temper.
Imagine that seething resentment disappearing, leaving you feeling liberated of all those toxic thoughts.
Imagine being able to react with forgiveness instead of rage and being able to respond by letting go rather than clinging on to old hurts and wrongs.
By taking small, simple actions, you can take great leaps in beating your anger monster for good.
Try to be open-minded in letting these ideas speak to you. Pick the ones that shout loudest.
Put yourself back in charge of your emotions, your life, and your happiness.
Happy woman image via Shutterstock