9 Best Ways To Relieve Stress And Anger
Sometimes stressful situations can seem to stick with us. Most of us find ourselves ruminating or holding onto negative feelings we have about stressors or conflicts in our lives at one time or another. Unfortunately, this tendency can prolong the stress that we experience and even magnify it.
As the tension and frustration build, it can harden into anger—which can make it all the harder to shake. Here are some proven strategies to stop ruminating and finally let go of your anger. Do you fume when someone cuts you off in traffic? Does your blood pressure rocket when your child refuses to cooperate?
Anger and Stress are normal and even healthy emotions and responses — but it's important to deal with them in a positive way. Uncontrolled anger can take a toll on both your health and your relationships. Ready to get your anger under control? Start by considering these stress and anger management and relieving tips.
1. Write It Out
Learning to express yourself effectively takes practice, but it can be a really helpful first step in reducing stress and anger. This method of emotional expression can also be very cathartic. Imagine that you are talking to an “enlightened friend,” someone you can be completely honest with.
Sit down and write down everything that's bugging you, no matter how small. Focus on getting it all out—so you can let it go. This exercise is a great tool for clearing your mind and taking your focus off your anger or stress. Unaddressed stress and anger are costly in terms of the mental and physical effects they have on you. The best way to stop the tormenting thoughts that are keeping you up at night is to express them.
Write down what you feel and what you're trying to do about it. You can write down your concerns, details of what happened, and your options for how to solve them. Don't expect an immediate and total relief of all your stress, but writing down what you're feeling may help you gain a bit of perspective, which can help you formulate a solution to the problem.
You might also want to consider taking some time out to write a letter or an e-mail to the person that you feel has wronged you. Sometimes simply talking to someone we trust about our stress can help keep the burden off our shoulders. No matter how big or small the issue that's causing you stress, writing it down can be a great way to ease the tension and reduce your stress level.
Simply take a few moments to put pen to paper, and you'll soon realize that a creative outlet like writing gives you a different perspective on a stressful situation and can help you deal with your anger in a constructive way. The key is to turn your rage into a more constructive way of dealing with your stress. Consider it as a new way of exercising your vocal cords.
2. Get Physical
Physical activity can help soothe anger, for both men and women. A healthy level of activity will keep you limber and help you lose weight; it will also increase your energy level. If you can't meet the recommended minimum of two and a half hours a week, start with one hour a day and increase it as you feel able.
Be Active, Meditate, Move! Exercise, just getting up and doing it, releases endorphins that make you feel better and improve your mood. This can give you a sense of control and power over your stress and anxiety. That's because when you exercise, you are also toning your body and keeping yourself in shape.
Physical exercise can help to release stress. Whether you're going for a walk or engaging in a sport, exercise can be a great way to release stress and energy. It can also provide the opportunity to focus on the moment and tackle a problem from a different angle. Another reason to get moving?
There's evidence that physical activity can help to control brain chemicals that affect both your mood and your behaviour. That means that, just like exercising can boost your heart health, it may also help to keep your stress levels in check. While being physically active is a great way to tackle the stress and anger that build up in us, it can take a back seat to the strategies that will help you to deal with anger in the long term. And that's where mindfulness can help.
Meditation can ease tension and lower your blood pressure. It can also help calm your mind and focus your attention. Meditating by listening to and following your breath can provide a calm and zen-like experience. This is helpful when you're feeling angry or frustrated. You don't need to spend hours in a meditation center to reap the benefits. Even just five minutes of meditative breathing can be enough to relieve stress and calm your nerves.
The key is to set a goal—even five minutes. Don't let yourself get too self-conscious, however. You can begin your meditation practice in a chair or lying down, and you don't have to be the “enthusiastic type” or stare into space. As you practice acceptance, you'll start to see that your anger is actually a byproduct of negative thoughts about the world, your situation, or yourself. You're taking a self-indulgent approach to your stressful life, and it's taking its toll.
The more you recognize your thoughts and emotions, the easier it will be to let them go. You may even begin to notice that you're in a better mood. You'll be feeling more content, and a good mood helps you handle your stress. Meditation has been shown to increase your tolerance to emotional and physical pain, relieve stress, decrease your blood pressure, and help you manage anger and other emotions.
Plus, meditation works to change your brain—which helps to control emotions and increase your ability to deal with stressful situations in a better way. Meditation is also a great way to relieve stress. In fact, it might be more powerful than some prescription drugs. In one study, participants who were randomly assigned to learn how to meditate for five minutes a day reported feeling less upset than those assigned to the waiting group.
Your mind is always busy, so clearing it can be a daunting task. Try starting your meditation session by reminding yourself of the reason for your meditation. For example, instead of thinking, “I have to relax,” you can think, “I am meditating so that I can be a better listener and support my partner through a challenging time.” Meditation and mindfulness have been shown to ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and even burnout.
And it's one of the easiest things you can do to reduce stress and anger—all you need is 10 to 20 minutes a day. Although self-soothing activities can calm you down, to really move forward with your anger management and stress relief, you have to master the way you respond to your feelings. Studies have shown that meditation can help decrease the level of cortisol and fight off anxiety in people who are experiencing chronic stress.
Another study showed that meditating for just one hour a day was associated with an 11 percent reduction in chronic stress symptoms. In addition, a study found that meditating at the beginning of each day reduced the negative physiological symptoms experienced throughout the day.
Spiritual meditation is simple to do. In a simple pose, sit tall and just allow your breathing to settle into a deep and quiet state. You might repeat a name of God or a loved one such as “Peace” or “Jehovah.” Take some deep breaths in and out. You can even incorporate a few simple exhalations into your meditation.
4. Change Your Perspective
When we're in the throes of a negative situation, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. We may wonder, “What did I do wrong? Why am I the problem here?” Think of stress relief as a way to make peace with the situation. Although you may not like the person who cut you off or the situation in which you find yourself, try to find a way to see things from the other person's point of view. Most people would appreciate a friendly greeting or a smile when they're running late.
Take a few moments to put yourself in another's shoes. Most people can't change a situation until they acknowledge the problem. We can avoid the stress of situations we can control by becoming aware of the pressure we're feeling and recognizing that we don't have control over everything.
Anger and stress often go hand in hand. Anger may be associated with emotions such as aggression, fear, and grief, while stress can mean the adrenaline response to fight or flight. For many of us, our stress response makes us feel angry. But in our rush to deal with the stress, we often mistake the emotion for the source of the problem. For example, a conflict with a colleague could provoke anger if we view the issue as a challenge to our beliefs, values, or abilities.
And a traumatic experience could lead us to blame a person or group for causing the situation, leading to angry feelings such as jealousy or rage. When stress and anger are viewed as separate issues, they tend to lose their power to create unneeded and unhealthy stress. What you see and experience on a regular basis may be rooted in your life experiences.
The circumstances you find yourself in today—from your stressful workday to an argument with a loved one—may have stemmed from a similar situation you had experienced in the past. The trick is not to dwell on the past and to recognize and let go of the stress it created in the first place. Try reframing and focusing on the potential positive effects of what you're currently experiencing.
5. Try Therapy
A therapist can help you to explore the past, look at what's going on in your present, and explore the future. This type of therapy can help you identify what type of negative thoughts you hold, the ways in which they're impacting your life, and the thoughts and feelings associated with them. Your therapist can also help you develop strategies for changing your thoughts and reactions.
A professional counsellor, therapist or coach can provide professional guidance on how to deal with negative feelings and become a more balanced and at peace person. Therapy doesn't mean you have to immediately address or resolve the issue that is fueling your anger. Instead, it can help you identify and accept the source of your stress and turn it into a productive and positive emotion. Are you often stressed out or fearful?
Anger is your body's natural response to danger, and many of us tend to store up anger about threats or pain. At times, however, anger becomes a problem, when we allow it to take over our minds and lives. When you're angry, you may even sabotage your relationships.
Relationship-enhancing therapy can help you learn to recognize and work with your anger. During a session, you'll have the opportunity to talk through your feelings, problem-solve, and find constructive ways to approach and respond to your stressful situations. Counsellors also tend to provide you with helpful tools, such as coping strategies, stress reduction techniques, and other tools to help you make positive changes in your life.
6. Scream – In Private
We've all heard the expression, “To scream is to let go,” but there is no definitive evidence that “screaming relieves tension,” as the expression states. You can certainly release your anger verbally by shouting or screaming in the right circumstances, but even then, the effect is not always completely realized. When you first release pent-up rage, your body reacts violently, releasing adrenaline and other chemicals.
Your body over-reacts to the adrenaline and, in the next few minutes, produces more stress hormones than you can handle. This cycle of intense emotion, along with hormone surges, usually keeps you in an agitated state. As the adrenaline peaks, your brain's “stress” center becomes overactive and floods your body with hormones that inflame your entire system.
The R-word: raging Unlike yelling at your children, venting your anger verbally in a “safe” environment like a private room or bathroom or on a cellular phone may be more useful in releasing pent-up anger. Research has shown that talking to a therapist about your anger tends to make you feel better. Sure you could stomp your feet, yell at them through the closed door or face them in the other room.
This works for a little while—but soon you get a headache, feel guilty and are sure they know how much you hate them. If you're serious about trying to cope with your anger, instead take the high road and sit in a quiet room alone and just scream. Make sure you are alone and no one can hear. If you're not that brave, try using the bathroom—but the bathroom is not a private room. Most importantly, make sure you use your voice at just the right moment—so you sound like you mean business.
7. Do A Tough Workout
Exercise can help you release negative energy, combat depression, and ease stress. It can also make you feel better physically, so try a light weight-training class or go for a walk at lunch. Physical activity releases endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. They give us energy and boost our mood. It can also give you a sense of control and help you focus on your workout.
Whether you take a group class, work out on your own, or use a fitness tracker to measure your steps, you'll feel less stress and more in control as you get your sweat on. Getting regular exercise is key to treating any angry stomach. It's time to dust off your resistance bands and give resistance training a shot.
While a steady, basic routine will likely do the job, some folks with psychological trauma may benefit from challenging workouts that use more difficult techniques. Try leg raises, squats, or hamstring curls with a resistance band. If you aren't a big fan of leg lifts, you can try adding weights to your routine.
8. Dance It Out
It may seem counter-intuitive to think about reducing stress through dancing, but research shows that dancing actually does help you feel calmer. As you dance you burn calories and ease stress—even if you're doing the class or the club moves. In a study at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 94% of the participants reduced their stress and cortisol levels while on a stressful excursion to the North Carolina Museum of Art.
A study at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden showed that a specially-adapted dance class helped rats calm down after stressful situations, and researchers at Harvard found that hip hop dance could even be used to help overcome a fear of public speaking. Are you tense after a long day at work? Maybe you just sat through yet another meeting, got stuck in traffic and skipped dinner.
Maybe you're trying to raise a child who won't eat and who is always out of breath because you don't let him off the leash. You have a lot on your plate and when things don't go the way you want them to, it's natural to become irritable. Try taking a few minutes to sing, dance and run in place to find a quick way to release the pent-up tension in your body. While exercise is the most obvious way to release stress, dancing is even better.
The movements you make can lower your heart rate and enhance the release of endorphins in your brain. Find a music video or DVD that you enjoy and pop in the tape or DVD player. Whether you do it on the dance floor or in the privacy of your own home, dance is a powerful tool to get rid of stress. Dance is an excellent way to release pent-up emotions that are difficult to express verbally.
“Dance is the fastest way to get rid of your anger,” said Dawn Bearden, author of “Celebrate! The Comfort and Joy of Dancing.” Dance is an effective way to relieve stress, relieve physical tension, and improve your body image. Dancers are drawn to dance because it can reduce stress, restore a sense of beauty and harmony, improve self-esteem, and create a happy feeling—making it a good antidote to anger.
The satisfaction from dancing is a natural and highly satisfying feeling that does wonders to reduce stress and negative feelings.
9. Sing It Out
Working to reduce feelings of anger may be as simple as recording and singing your thoughts out loud. When you're in a negative space or stewing, singing can be the perfect release. “Singing is really something that I find soothing,” says Ann Thompson-Wallace, a self-esteem coach who specializes in anger management. “I find that just singing about things that are upsetting will, on my end, actually alleviate them.
The melody of it brings about a certain kind of stillness within me that is usually not present when I'm just hearing the same things over and over again.” When you focus on the good things that you have, you'll start to feel more positive and satisfied with your life. You'll also be less likely to waste energy on worries and negativity. To calm the stress and tension of an angry situation, give it some song.
You can belt your anger to your favourite song, or grab your favourite childhood toy and make a duet out of it. If your anger is boiling over, you can focus it by chanting or singing a mantra—a short affirmation to help focus your attention and energy and make you feel happier.
Feelings like anger, sadness, and stress don't have to cause havoc in our lives. Learning to let go of our negative emotions and make the best of the situation will keep you feeling and living in the moment. You'll find yourself experiencing more satisfaction and less tension as you release your anger, and you'll likely notice an increased level of happiness in your life. An angry emotion is not inherently bad.
However, some emotions are more unhealthy than others. If you find yourself displaying unhealthy anger—like shouting at your child, insulting your spouse, or smashing up the refrigerator—you need to take steps to make changes to your behaviour. Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives.
If you recognize that you're experiencing anger, as a result, try to figure out what you're really feeling and identify the source. By accepting what's really bothering you and finding a way to resolve it, you can feel better about your situation.
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