We all experience frustrations in our daily lives that can build up and make us feel angry, upset, and all around unpleasant.
When these aggressive triggers happen, it can really ruin our entire day (or even week!) Allowing your anger and frustration to put you in a negative mood and ruin your day can be easily overcome.
Whether you’re battling a situation or person that has upset you or tons of tiny annoyances that build up and compound into aggravation, these tricks will help you overcome your anger in the moment and return to a more pleasant and relaxed state.
Here are 5 tricks to help you overcome your anger:
1. Replace the angry thought with a positive one
Say a fellow river cuts you off while you’re on your way to work.
Immediately, you get angry and experience road rage.
Instead of yelling at the other driver for being careless, take a deep breath and wish them safe travels and hope that they just made a mistake and will be more cautious on the rest of their drive.
What you’ve done by replacing the angry thought with a positive one is you’ve removed yourself from the situation.
What causes anger like this is the feeling that it was a personal attack.
By altering your perspective and changing the angry thought into a positive one, you’ve taken out the personal aspect and replaced it with a general goodwill that leaves you feeling better and peaceful.
This can be applied in many situations where you feel aggravated by everyday annoyances and frustrations.
If a coworker is getting on your nerves because they keep asking questions you already answered in your presentation, instead of getting mad that they weren’t listening, silently thank them for asking questions now so that they won’t cause problems later.
If some someone you’ve met 20 times just can’t remember your name and keeps calling you the wrong thing no matter how many times you’ve corrected them, just tell yourself that clearly it won’t be a close connection you have with that person and that’s okay, you can still have a pleasant interaction.
There are dozens of ways to change your angry thought into a positive one.
It won’t resolve the situation—the person still cut you off, your coworker still didn’t pay attention, that person still won’t remember your name—but you won’t be carrying around that personal anger with you which will allow you to move past it faster and continue enjoying your day.
2. Take a moment and breathe
It’s an easy thing to do and it probably seems too simple to be very effective but it actually makes a huge difference.
Part of what can escalate a situation is reacting in that anger and allowing your emotion to influence your words and actions negatively.
When that anger swells up inside you, just take a moment before doing anything else.
Take a deep breath in, let it out, and repeat until your mind is clear enough to process the situation.
Breathing works to get oxygen back into your brain and it allows a moment for the chemical reaction of anger to work its way through and return you to a more calm and logical state of mind.
Once you’ve calmed done and are no longer in the immediate, emotional, chemical response, you can evaluate the situation and have more control over how you would actually like to respond instead of just escalating it out of anger and making things worse.
3. Take space
It’s okay to remove yourself from a frustrating situation or conversation.
It won’t always be an option, and you might not be able to go far, but it’s absolutely okay to take a step back and give yourself space so that you can collect your thoughts.
If you are having a confrontation with someone, respectfully tell them, “I need to take a moment and think about this.”
If it’s a situation at work, see if you can take a quick restroom break to remove yourself.
Getting a little space between you and whatever is causing your anger will give you a moment to process, calm down, and get away from the immediate stimulation that is making you angry.
4. Stop the replay
When something happens that makes us angry it can be easy to fall into a habit of replaying that moment over and over in our minds.
A replay might be good to help find closure, but only if you have already processed your emotions and are looking to find understanding.
Replay while you are still emotional an angry will only fuel the anger and negative thoughts.
Stop focusing on the moment of aggravation.
Remind yourself that it is now in the past—no matter how long ago it happened.
It could have happened months or weeks ago, but even if it was only minutes it is still in the past, it still happened, and you can’t go back and change it or undo it.
Replaying it over and over will solve nothing.
When you start to replay it in your mind, consciously change your train of thought.
Remind yourself that it’s over and there’s no use dwelling on it at that moment and change your focus to something else that is more productive.
You don’t have to think of happy memories or try to cheer yourself up if that is too difficult, sometimes just moving on to a different project or activity is all you need.
5. Solve it or leave it
Once you have stopped fueling your anger with the replay and have calmed down, then you can start to process the occurrence logically and see if there is anything you need to do to problem solve and improve the situation.
You can’t fix anything when you are angry, you need to have a clear state of mind then you will be able to constructively repair the situation and mend whatever conflict there was.
Sometimes, though, nothing needs to or can be mended and it just needs to be left alone.
Don’t pick at the scab, just let it heal and move on.
This can be little things that you were dwelling on such as someone else having a bad day and taking it out on you.
If the relationship is important enough, you might want to tell them from a calm state that their actions upset you and, while you know they were having a bad day, you didn’t like being treated that way.
But, not every relationship is worth that conversation.
In those cases, whether it’s an angry customer at work or an unpleasant person on the bus, you just need to leave it be and let it go.
There’s nothing to solve and it is unfortunate that it happened but you can’t let it fester in you and ruin your mood.