4 Ways to Let Go of Your Stress and Anger

stressed manBeing stuck in a traffic jam. A last-minute deadline that will take hours to complete. An unappreciative partner who complains about your every step. Petulant teens who argue about doing homework and chores.

These are just a few of the many triggers that can cause anyone to feel stressed out or even angry.

While it’s normal to feel anger and stress from time to time, when these tense emotions build up they can lead to serious health issues. As the Mayo Clinic notes, the symptoms of stress such as headaches, insomnia and being unable to focus at work can also contribute to other problems like obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure.

In order to tame the stress monster and get a better handle on negative feelings, try some or all of the following tips.

Learn to Meditate

Also known as mindfulness, meditation can be done in as little as 15 minutes a day. All that is needed is a quiet place to unwind for awhile. Allow yourself some peaceful quiet time to focus on your breathing and settle into a non-judgmental awareness of your feelings, sensations, emotions, and thoughts.  This small “peace break” in your day can go a long way in helping to relieve stress and anger.

If you don’t have 15 minutes to spare, just spend some time in silence. Shut off the radio on your drive to work. Sip your coffee on a balcony that overlooks nature. Eat your lunch alone without talking. We can all find a little peace in our lives, even if it is just for a few minutes.

Put the Cell Phone Down

Yes, our smartphones can do amazing things and yes, we can stay connected with everyone and everything 24/7 year-round. Unfortunately, this level of technology can lead to increased stress. To escape the stress, take a daily technology break and turn off all of your devices. If you are running errands, leave your phone in your pocket and do not check emails or news headlines while you are waiting in line. It’s also important to stay away from technology and electronics in the evening, as it can interfere with restful and restorative sleep.

Take Care of Your Health

In order to manage stress and anger, you have to be well-rested and well-fed. Although crunching on potato chips and prepackages snack foods can feel great when we are angry, junk food can make us feel worse—both physically and emotionally. Eat a well-balanced diet, cut back on coffee, and make sure you are getting enough sleep at night. To help relax in the evenings, instead of watching television or scrolling through emails, decompress peacefully in a hot tub. Lounging in a hot tub or spa can help soothe tight neck and back muscles. Although the pulsating jets and warm water are relaxing all on their own, to make your time in the hot water as comfortable as possible, consider purchasing a spa pillow or seat—then just sit back in the bubbly warm water and let your stress and anger melt away.

Give Yourself Permission to Vent

When your boss is being unreasonable or that bozo driver cuts you off in traffic, you will feel angry. In order to pass through this normal emotion and not let it take over your day or your health, Tiny Buddha suggests giving yourself permission to feel your anger as fully as possible instead of pushing it back. In addition, allow yourself to feel mad for a limited time period—say one or two days. Talk to a trusted friend or family member about what is bothering you. Talking out your anger will help with the healing process by getting the negative energy out of your body. Once the heated feelings start to dissipate, remind yourself that anger will ultimately hurt you more than the person who is bothering you, so be kind to yourself and visualize the emotion slowly evaporating away.

At a certain point, you might want to get at the root of your anger. Seeing a counselor who specializes in anger and reactivity can transform old reactive patterns into new peaceful responses.

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