How Anger Affects Your Life and How to Deal With it

How often do you find yourself getting angry about something? Is it just now and then or is it more like a constant status? The reason behind your anger is always justified or you think it is?

What is Anger?

Anger is a normal and in fact healthy human emotion. As an emotion anger exists to let us be aware of a threatening, an unjust or an upsetting situation. Anger should not be considered as either negative or positive emotion.

Getting angry when someone mistreats you or when something unjust takes place in front of your eyes is normal and healthy.

However, it is the frequency we experience anger, along with the way each one of us uses to express this anger that could turn it into something negative and harmful for ourselves or others.

angry man yelling while hitting his fist on table

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There is this common belief that anger should always be expressed. Some people think that it is their right to express anger in any way they like because in their mind their anger is justified.

There are people who might believe that expressing anger with shouting, breaking things or even by hitting others shows their power and rage and eventually will inspire respect to others.

The actual opposite is correct, meaning that expressing anger in such ways has a negative outcome for you and others. There is a negative impact on how others feel about you and also on how your judgement is affected.

Identify what is Causing Your Anger

I usually get angry when I understand that someone else does not listen to my opinion, suggestion or point of view and tend to ignore me or not take me seriously. I get angry when there is a long line in front of me in the supermarket or when I am stuck in a traffic jam.

cars stuck in traffic jam in city road

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Sometimes when I am really tired or stressed I might find it really easy to get angry over nothing. I think this stands for most people.

It is really important to identify where the anger comes from because most of the time losing your temper or acting in rage has nothing to do with other people’s behavior and words or with external circumstances. It is our fault that we do not manage to stay cool and keep ourselves under control.

Look For Possible Solutions

Understanding what makes me angry in my case means that I can change my daily routine, choosing another route or different time to avoid traffic jams in peak hours. It could mean that I decide to take advantage and enjoy my time stucked in traffic through listening to some audio book, learning a foreign language or just listening to music and singing along.

When it comes to supermarkets I could choose a supermarket with less people or try to shop online.

When it comes to specific people that make me angry I could choose to take some time to discuss with them in a calm way the impact their reactions have on me. They might also have their issues and use this kind of behavior as a defense mechanism. Well, if this does not work I could choose to share less with them or avoid seeing them that often.

If none of the above are enough I could look for and practice some anger management techniques or seek professional help and advice.

man and woman having a fight, both looking angry

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The reason why we should all look for solutions is because anger as an emotion will not be able to fix anything. As a matter of fact feeling angry and expressing it in a bad way usually will only make things worse.  

Is Anger Your Enemy or a Friend?

In case you are witnessing a human or an animal rights violation and you get angry about it, expressing your anger and using it to change the situation in front of you, means that you use your anger to take action for a good reason.

When you are in an abusive relationship and get angry with what you are going through, anger will help you to take action and get out of it. Same stands for any toxic friendship, getting angry with the friend who mistreats you or makes you feel bad about yourself will give you the courage to step out of this friendship.

In all the cases above anger is your friend because it gives you the courage and strength you need to change an unhealthy situation.

woman screaming to express her anger

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However, when your anger makes your loved ones suffer and feel distress it means that your anger is harmful for your relationships. If you find yourself regretting things that you have said or done while being angry this is also a sign that your anger is working against you. These are cases where your anger is your enemy and you should take some action in order to control it.

Identify Anger Warning Signs

Have you ever noticed your body’s physical reactions when you get angry? I don’t mean when you have already started expressing that anger in some way, but those few moments before you act.

Speaking for myself, when I start getting angry I am feeling an intense pain in my head and I am feeling like my head is burning. I start breathing faster and deeper. Other signs might be a faster heartbeat and clenched fists.

When these signs appear and you are able to identify them, you could do something about it to prevent yourself from words or actions that you might regret later. It is important to be able to understand how you feel each moment because it helps to identify any warning signs.

“Don’t hold to anger, hurt or pain. They steal your energy and keep you from love.”

Leo Buscaglia

Anger Effects

Human Relationships

Anger expression in unhealthy ways could be harmful for every human relationship. It could leave physical and mental scars to the people around us who we love most. It could destroy love relationships, friendships or work relationships.

Physical Health

If anger is something we experience regularly it is possible to give us heart related problems, high blood pressure, weak immune system, diabetes and insomnia.

Mental Health

Feeling anger all the time does not allow people to feel joy in life. Anger could also cause stress, depression and other mental health issues.

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

Mark Twain

Conclusion

When we come to the point to realize that our anger is a problem for us and the people around us we are not helpless. There are several anger management techniques that could be used to calm the rage, and even if these don’t work, professional help from an expert could be taken.

Truth is that we all have more control over anger than what we might think we have. There are always alternatives in the ways we can express our emotions, without hurting other people’s feelings, damaging things or creating problems to our own physical and mental health.

“The best fighter is never angry.”

Lao Tzu

Helpful links

Additional information about anger as well as anger management techniques and strategies could be found at the following links:

https://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/how-to-control-anger#1

https://www.verywellmind.com/anger-management-strategies-4178870

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/anger-management.htm

 

Stop Avoiding Your Negative Thoughts – Learn How To Handle Them

Are you one of those who often start thinking of the worst case scenario for every single thing? Do you sometimes think that others believe the worst about you? You think that everything is either black or white and there is nothing in between? Do you let small things bother you and think about them for hours, days or longer?

Well, if your answer was yes to some of the above questions then you have negative thoughts.

I know what you might say. Who is this person who doesn’t have any negative thoughts?

The answer is simple. Nobody.

We all have negative thoughts and that is absolutely normal.

The thing is that thoughts are just thoughts and nothing more than that.

Scientists and researchers would oppose this opinion since it has been proved that thoughts interfere with the way our brain works and cause us bad feelings and emotions. Yes, thoughts can be the reason behind lots of mental and physical problems in the end. I do not disagree with that. I even admit it as a fact.

woman on the floor embracing her knees due to negative thoughts
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Thoughts do live in our head and the bad thing is that sometimes we all spend more time living inside our heads than in real life.

Sometimes thoughts are just like feelings. They come and go and they may mean something or may mean nothing at all.

I don’t know about you but for me there are those days that I wake up in a really bad mood and I just don’t have the courage to have any positive thoughts. I don’t feel like lying to myself that this day is going to be a great day. I am in my blues but I know that this is just a day and not my life. I just accept the fact that these days exist and I watch my thoughts. Yes, even the negative ones.

Below are some of the things that I choose to do to cope with negative thoughts and may be helpful to you also. I am not a professional, so these are just my suggestions as a person who deals with negative thinking from time to time. In case your negative thoughts are persistent you should consider asking for professional help.

How to Handle Your Negative Thoughts

1. Accept the Thought

Do not try to avoid or push back your negative thought. Try to understand it and accept the feelings that this thought causes to you. Give this thought some time to stay with you and embrace the feelings that are caused by it. Even if it makes you feel sad or angry, feel the sadness or the anger for some time and let it go away. It is just a thought, there is no reason to stay with you forever.

2. Be Honest with Yourself

Do not try to force yourself to turn a negative thought into a positive one. Your mind is smart enough to realize that you are trying to play with it.

If it is one of those days that you feel like a loser and your thoughts are like “I am a total failure”, “I will never make it in anything” do not say “I am the best” or “Whatever I do is perfect”. It would be more honest to say “I am smart enough and I try my best and that is enough”.

Trying to stop a negative thought and turn it into a completely positive one could even have the worst results. In some cases people who try to push anxious and negative thoughts down only manage to build them stronger until they all explode or come rushing out at once.

3. Share your Thoughts

If you feel like a negative thought returns again and again try to share it with someone close to you. When we talk about something that lives in our head we have to let it come out in words. Even translating our thoughts into words and hearing them provides us with another perspective of them. Not to mention that someone close will also offer us his / her perspective.

4. Be Kind with Yourself

During the days you feel bad and your mind is full with negative thoughts try to be kind with yourself. Make yourself a priority, try to work less hours or less hard than usual. Choose to spend the rest of your day doing things that make you happy like playing with your children or watching a movie that makes you laugh. You name it!

woman and daughter playing and laughing
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5. Take Care of Yourself

This includes your physical and mental health. Watch your diet. Junk food is ok once in a while but making it a habit is not. Make sure you have enough sleep and find a way to work out that you actually enjoy. A healthy body makes us feel good and positive about ourselves, contributing to a better mental health.

6. Connect with the Right People

Make your small community of people the community you want to be a part of. Get rid of people who put you down or make you feel miserable. You don’t need toxic people. Keep your loved ones close, enroll in activities that offer you joy, join the team you always wanted to. Enjoy your life with those you want to.

group of people gathered around, a small community of multiethnic people
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Conclusion

Negative thoughts are normal. We all have them and there is no reason to be afraid of them or to try to prevent them. We cannot stop negative thoughts from coming or choose not to have them, but we can change the way we deal with them and what else we choose to think of. After all negative thoughts are just thoughts, we don’t have to believe them.

I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains“.

Anne Frank

How about you?

How do you feel about your negative thoughts?

How do you choose to deal with them?

The tyranny of excellence

I don’t know how many of you are able to make a living out of your writing. However, I don’t. Actually in order to make a living I work in a company which implements Information Technology related projects to several customers. I am the analyst, the developer, the project manager etc in every project I am involved in. Is this a good practice you might ask? If I have to be honest the answer is definitely no. But this is not the subject of this post.

Well, this last month of my life turned out as a living hell to me. And let me explain. 

I was assigned to implement a project which was of really high standards. A complicated algorithm which everybody else seemed they were trying to avoid in every possible means. But, no, not me.

I thought that no matter how complicated something is, I could just try to break it down in smaller pieces and reduce the level of complexity. And that is what I did. I had completed almost 85% of the project and it was working as expected. There was only this 15% missing and the project would be successfully completed and delivered to the customer.

Sometimes you just are not enough

I was working on this for more than two months. Constantly trying to squeeze my brain, break the big problem to smaller ones, thinking of ways to overcome each one of them and produce a solution. I was really happy about it and my superiors were happy with the results. 

Until one day I just could continue working in the same rhythm. I might have gotten tired, I might also have had other personal problems that were just distracting me from the project. I also had some health issues that were considered as more important, since they were.

The struggle with myself

The thing is that I did not want to admit that I was going through something like this, that I was unable to produce results. I wanted to convince myself that I could continue working as I did for so long. I got extremely stressed. I could not think of anything clear and make a good decision. Even when talking with others about the project I had a feeling that there was a black sheet in front of me and I could not hear, see or process anything that was discussed. 

I started having those terrible headaches and in order to make it through the day I had to take 4 painkillers a day. My heart was beating like I was constantly running. At night I could not fall asleep. These last few weeks the maximum night sleep I could get was 2 hours. And even within these 2 hours I would jump out of bed due to dreams or thoughts related to this 15% of the project that was missing.

I was longing for the weekend to come when I would finally find some time away from everything. I thought that I would use this time in order to relax and take my mind out of it.

But, I didn’t. Instead of that, I spent those two days fighting with myself because I was not good enough. No matter how much help I might have been provided I just couldn’t finish the project I had started. My head was ready to explode and my nerves were stressed to their limits. I was crying every time my thoughts went there, which was almost all the time. I even called my director on Sunday afternoon to submit my resignation, just because I could wait until Monday morning.

I was advised to take some days off just to relax and take care of myself. This is what I am still doing until I get my final decision.

Now that I think about all these I had to go through, I realize that my expectations for the excellent performance of myself were the ones that actually caused my problem.

Why did I have to put myself into this?

And ok since I did, when I realized that I could not proceed anymore why didn’t I want to admit that I just couldn’t?

Because I was afraid to admit that I was not enough.

Sometimes we just are not enough, and you know what? I think it is OK!

We should not struggle and make ourselves suffer. Our body sends us a message and we should be able to hear it. When we try to ignore it we make it even harder to deal with.

We are humans. Most of us are mediocre. And that is also OK. Thinking that we must be excellent in whatever we are working on could be just an illusion. Could be just a way to make us suffer because we realize that we are not excellent at all.

Do you try to perform excellently in whatever you work on? How often do you make it?

How do you react when you realize that you cannot make it as good as you thought you could?