We've all been there...
You're late and stuck in stop-and-go traffic with no way out. Your boss dumped another pile of work on you just before for the weekend, and it has to be done by Monday. Your day-at-the-beach plans got canceled by Mother Nature's thunderstorms. You open the news and read of horrors.
We've all felt anger before. And while the emotion is useful during potentially dangerous situations, as it pumps your body with adrenaline and prepares you for fight or flight, most situations today where anger arises are not life-threatening.
And in most cases, therefore, our emotional anger causes more harm than good.
The positive news is that you can learn to control and alleviate your anger when it arises
Here are seven easy ways to stop feeling angry.
Anger is - at base - an energy that expresses itself in and through the body.
When you're angry, your muscles tense up and you get ready for fight or flight. An easy way to release this tension causing energy is through exercise.
So the next time you're feeling angry, hit the gym, go for a run, put on your boxing gloves and punch the body bag, get your body moving.
If you don't have time for the gym, drop down and do as many pushups as you can and follow it with 50 jumping jacks. Anything that will get your body moving will help to alleviate the physical tension caused by your anger and help you feel better.
As an extra bonus, exercise releases happy hormones in your brain, sometimes called a "runners high", and this will help you get back to your normal happy self even faster.
2. Use your anger as motivation to make a change
If your anger is coming from a situation or circumstance that you can change, do something about it! Use your anger as fuel to motivate you to make a change for the better.
If you really hate your job and your boss did something that made you angry, direct that anger into positive action, get online and start searching for a new job or finally take action on that online business idea you've been too lazy or afraid to start working on.
If someone is putting you down and making you angry, convert your anger into bold assertiveness and confront them about the issue, stand up for yourself.
Missing your ex? Take your anger over your current situation and channel it into self-improvement - whether through working out, finding new interests or getting back into hobbies that fell by the wayside (incidentally, this is the best way to get your ex back).
When you harness your anger to propel you into positive action, the anger will transform to feelings of power, which will leave you feeling much better.
3. Watch or listen to something funny
The next time you feel angry, watch an episode of your favorite sitcom or pull up Youtube and search for a funny animal video, cute babies laughing, or your favorite stand-up comedian.
Laughter relaxes the body, boosts the immune system, and triggers endorphins - feel-good chemicals that promote an overall sense of well-being.
Watching or listening to something that makes you laugh will distract your brain form the angry emotions you're feeling and help you feel better.
4. Shift your focus
Shift your focus away from what's bothering you to what you have to be thankful for in your life.
Take a walk and list 10 - 20 things you are grateful for. It may be difficult at first to get your mind off of the thing that's making you angry, but if you stick with it, you'll start gaining some positive thought-momentum and your anger will begin to dissipate.
As humans we have the privilege of getting to choose on what we focus our attention. Focus on what you are grateful for, choose more positive thoughts, and watch as your anger disappear - if not immediately, then slowly but surely.
The purpose of meditation is to clear your mind of the wild chatter of thoughts, become still inside, and connect with the present moment.
When you meditate it's almost as if you're hitting the "reset" button on your brain. When you're angry, your mind is a raging storm of negative thoughts, which generate negative emotions. By taking a break to meditate and calm the mind, clearing it of the negative turbulence, you will help relieve yourself of anger.
6. Do something -- anything! -- productive
Similar to channeling your anger into exercise, you can also convert your anger into productivity.
Clean your house, do some yard work, organize the garage; anything physical that gets you moving will do.
Your anger is energy so why not use that energy for something useful. In addition to releasing some of your anger, you'll feel accomplished at the end for doing something productive, which will help improve your mood even more.
7. Write it out
Another easy way to release your angry thoughts and emotions is to write them out.
Grab a notepad and write out everything that's on your mind. Get it all out, hold nothing back (don't worry, you wont be sharing this with anyone), just keep writing until you feel like there's nothing more to write.
Doing this will help to clear your head and 'vent' out your emotions without having to dump your anger on another person. Now, once you have it all written down, burn the paper.
You of course want to be safe about this step and have water near by to put out any stray flames, but burning the paper can help release the anger even more as you watch all the negative sentences you wrote down evaporate as smoke into the air.
Best Selling Author, Emmy-Nominated Producer, Screenwriter and Entrepreneur, Adam Gilad leads a community of over 80,000 men and women on their quest to create love and a bold, inspired life. Having served as a Stanford Humanities Center Graduate Research Fellow and host of National Lampoon Radio, Adam blends a bracing mix of research, humor and global wisdom traditions to help men and women break through the habits blocking their ability to open into love and freedom.