When thinking about an event, situation or person you’re not so happy with, you can start to feel annoyed, frustrated, wound-up or just down-right angry. The more you dwell on it, the more angry you become. You feel the emotions rising, the physical tensing, the black clouds descending and maybe even the need to let out one almighty verbal rant to an empty room (just me?).
When the rant is over, you’re left with a sense of negativity, a bad mood. It sets you up wrongly for almost every other situation you will face before your head hits the pillow that night.
It’s important to re-balance as soon as possible. If you’re trying to live a more ‘zen’ and positive lifestyle, an immediate reaction can be to instantly try to quell these negative feelings, to push them away or bottle them up; and to chastise yourself for feeling them.
But in actuality, it’s important to feel through these moments of anger, to allow yourself – in a safe environment – to release it and not hold it in.
Go on, scream it out, punch the pillow, shout at the empty room with all the reasons you’re feeling this way, let the neighbour’s think you’ve lost it. Let it all out and then breathe.
Calm yourself by taking some deep breaths for at least 1 minute (close your eyes whilst you do this if it helps). Then take a moment to accept that the situation or event occurred in the past and you can’t change the past. Wish it well and send it on its way. Also acknowledge that whilst the situation or event may occur again in the future, it is not occurring right now – right now you are in the present and the present moment is calm. Just as you allowed yourself to let out the anger, now allow yourself to let go of the negative feelings and be calm.
To further help shift your mindset, you might like to try to re-frame what has made you feel so angry. Think of the anger you experience as a picture that has been zoomed-in. Your entire focus has been on that one part. If you allow yourself to mentally zoom-out to include the entire picture, you’ll start to realise that there was more to see than just one point of frustration. Spend some time thinking about the whole picture and start to mentally list everything that was good or that you can be grateful for. Try to find at least 5 things, no matter how inconsequential they seem – they will help to adjust your way of thinking onto a healthier path.
By letting go, re-balancing ourselves and allowing our thoughts to focus on a more positive bigger picture, we will prevent negative events in the past from hindering us moving forward.