Anger Management

Red stop sign in country field

Let Go of Resentment, Let Go of Stress

“Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life.” – Joan Lunden

One of the best things you can do for yourself when it comes to letting go of stress is to let go of old resentments. Nothing good ever came from holding a grudge or letting the resentment build up inside you.

Resentment is like a broken record, where your mind plays out the same scenario repeatedly. Each time you hit the replay button you also replay the anger and other feelings associated with the incident. The more you do this, the deeper the bitterness, resentment and pain wedge into your mind and body.

Reliving anger also evokes the stress response in our bodies: racing heart, spike in your blood pressure, shallow breathing, and even muscular tension. And the worst part is, by holding on to all this anger, resentment, and stress the only person you are hurting is yourself. Quite often, the person you are upset with has already either forgotten or moved on from the incident that has you so upset.

Fortunately, there are methods you can use to work on letting go of resentment and the stress that goes along with it.

Hit the “stop” button.

Instead of continually hitting the replay button in your mind, hit the stop button instead. Living in the past causes stress in its own right because you can’t do anything to change the situation. Recognizing this helps you to move on and let go of the anger and resentment, and the stress that those negative emotions carry with them.

Accept responsibility for your thoughts and actions.

In order to move on, it’s important that you accept responsibility for your own part in the incident, and also for your own thoughts and feelings now. When you are feeling resentful, it’s easy to get stuck in the victim mentality. If it fuels a sense of righteousness at the same time, it’s also hard to let go and admit that maybe you played a part in what happened as well.

Using a journal to record your thoughts can help with this. Putting your thoughts and emotions down on paper is a great way to let them go.

Practice forgiveness.

As tempting as it might be to hold on to past hurts, forgiving others makes it much easier for you to let go of resentment and stress. Forgiveness is more for you than it is for the other person. It doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten the hurt, it means you have made a conscious decision to let it go and move on with your life.

As you learn to let go of resentment, you will find yourself living more in the present moment. It’s very freeing to not have those old hurts taking up space in your head and causing you stress.  It may not happen overnight, but as you practice letting go you will find that it does get easier.

You are the only one who can change your thoughts and decide when the right time is to stop the continuous loop in playing in your head. Use these tips to move through the process from feeling resentment to practicing forgiveness, and you will also find that it’s easy to let go of the negative emotions and the stress caused by them.

Mastering Anger Management Skills

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson

In order to handle anger, you may need to learn skills to manage your emotions differently. You'll need to get into a frame of mind that allows you to think before you act or speak. Dealing with a temper becomes easier when you have a cool disposition. If you don't learn skills to cope with your anger, you may destroy the relationships around you and cause potential physical and emotional harm to everyone, including yourself.

About Anger

Anger serves an important purpose. It may even help us to get out of dangerous situations, but sometimes the threats are just perceived and anger is not an appropriate emotion. Anger itself is not the core problem here though. It may help you to try to feel less angry in some situations, but for the most part your goal should be to learn how to express yourself in a healthier way.

Here are some ways that will help you to keep a cool head:

1. Don't react immediately. Think about the situations that have gotten you into trouble in the past. You likely immediately reacted to the problem at hand with angry emotions. Whenever you're presented with a stressful situation, it's important withhold impulsive reactions. Think about what's really going on, and then decide how you really feel about everything.

2. Take Cool Down Time. You're not always in a situation where you can take as long as you want without a reaction. If you're feeling extremely angry, make sure you take a few moments of cool down time. Before you react, let the other person know you need space. Then give yourself at least a moment to get into the right mindset. 

3. Don't worry about what others think. Sometimes you feel terrible about other people's opinions of you. When you get caught up in making everyone else happy, you end up forgetting about yourself. This is how your emotions can take control, but you can only put off taking care of yourself for so long.

4. Start Exercising. A daily exercise routine can help you to release energy and other emotions. If anger arises, you can also go out for a walk or play some sports as an outlet for that anger.

5. Don't Hold Grudges. Resentment only hurts you in the long run. Learn the art of forgiving and letting go. This will bring peace to you and the person you're holding a grudge against.

6. Practice Relaxation. Anger arises more often if you're tense and stressed. Study different relaxation techniques that will help you to unwind.

Some of these techniques include:

• Yoga
• Meditation
• Taking a Bath
• Deep Breathing
• Listening to Music
• Journal your feelings

7. Learn Healthy Anger Expression. The trick is not to completely ignore your anger, but to express it in a healthy way. After you have taken some cool down time, consider your words and talk about why you're feeling angry in a calm fashion.

Stuffing Your Anger

You may think that you have mastered your anger, but you might actually be suppressing your anger, which could end up making everything worse. It’s really important to know the difference,

When you suppress your anger it ends up stuffed deep inside and will come out in unhealthy ways. You could start to feel really stressed, you could get headaches, or you may even start to have problems with high blood pressure. Your mental health may begin to suffer as well. Suppressing anger has been known to contribute to depression.

There are many ways to learn how to deal with anger effectively. Expressing anger appropriately takes practice. If your anger has turned to rage, you might seek the help of a professional that can help you with anger management skills.

Managing Your Stress and Anger When Driving

Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you and scorn in the one ahead.–Mac McCleary

Summer is just around the corner in a couple of weeks. Soon folks will be planning vacations and traveling to their favorite relaxation spots. Increased traveling also brings on more opportunities for road rage situations. Have you ever been in a road rage situation?  Personally, people driving two ton or more machines while angry is a bad idea. When you’re driving, it is so important to keep your cool. Controlling your emotions helps ensure a safe trip for you, your passengers and everyone around you.

Road rage can occur when folks are riding your bumper, cut in front of you quickly, or even argue over a parking space. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety posted a quiz to determine if you could be an aggressive driver. The quiz makes reference to such behaviors as:

• Tapping on the brakes annoy the tailgater
• Block cars who attempt to change lanes
• Race other drivers

Consider these strategies for successfully managing your emotions when you drive:

1. Remind yourself you’re in control of yourself and your vehicle. The good news is that you’ve got driving knowledge and skill and a car to drive. You make conscious decisions about what you will and won’t do behind the wheel. Make a personal vow to avoid allowing other drivers to negatively affect you.

2. Recognize it’s not your job to manage how other drivers behave. It’s a fact that you’ll occasionally encounter drivers whose driving you dislike. Fortunately, others are responsible for how they behave while driving. Even though you disagree with their methods, the both of you are still on the road. How other drivers behave is up to them.

3. Stay cool and drive defensively. Be on the lookout for drivers who are going too fast, travelling too close or driving erratically. Keep your emotions cool when you notice other drivers are being unsafe. Make it a point to drive in a way that keeps you and your riders safe. If you need to pull off the road for a minute and let a driver pass you, then make that choice rather than remaining in the unsafe zone around them.

4. Plan to enjoy your trip. Play your favorite music. Listen to your kids talk in the backseat. Have your favorite hot or chilled beverage with you. Make a decision that no matter how busy the traffic, you’re going to have a great time during your drive.

5. Keep your distance physically and emotionally. Allow plenty of room between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. This way, you’ve got no worries if the vehicle should slow down or stop quickly. Even though it’s easy to get annoyed when a vehicle swerves into your lane in front of you, choose instead to remain calm and simply slow down for a few seconds to leave your safety space open.

6. Set an example. When you make it a point to drive the speed limit, leave plenty of room between your car and other vehicles, and keep your emotions under wraps, you’re showing others in your car and those in other vehicles how to properly conduct themselves behind the wheel. Be proud of how you’re driving. Take the high road by setting a good example.

7. Let it go. Regardless of what other drivers do that you might find irritating, learn to let go of any negative feelings that start to creep in. Tell yourself, “This situation is unimportant to the rest of my life and not worth getting annoyed about.” You’ll feel better about it and the people travelling with you will be relieved. It can be a real teaching moment for any kids or teens in your vehicle as well.

When you make it a point to have a pleasant driving experience, you most often do. Put these strategies into action to keep your feelings under control and you’ll find that, not only have you become a safer driver, but also that you enjoy driving more than ever.

Are your emotions making you crazy? Learn how to stop the emotional roller-coaster with essential oils.

Tips for Coping with Past Conflicts

dealing with conflict, conflicy management, anger, resentment“Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.”—William James

Conflict is never an easy thing to deal with and be quite stressful. Old, deeply rooted conflicts can really affect your life and how you relate to day to day life. When you allow a past conflict to turn to resentment and become a defining part of a relationship, it can be challenging to move forward, but it's not impossible. It's just a matter of taking the right conflict resolution approach.

Look at the Conflict with an Open Heart and Mind

Many times a past conflict can be resolved by simply looking at it with a fresh, calm perspective.  When you learn how to look at a past conflict without raising your blood pressure or losing sleep, you'll be much more likely to find an amicable resolution.

The first thing you should do is look at the conflict objectively.  You need to raise all of the issues and truly look at the situations from both sides. Keep in mind to be respectful. Actively listen to the other person. Too many times it’s easy to be plotting your next comeback than to actively listen. Remember to focus on the problem, not the person because personal attacks have never solved anything.  If you're having a difficult time communicating, a third-party can help mediate the discussion so that all parties are equally heard.

Use your mutual interests and concerns as a starting point.  For example, if you were fighting with a sibling over a parent's estate, perhaps you were both trying to ensure that the estate was as fair and balanced as possible.  Go forward from this point so that you start at a place where you both agree.

Brainstorm resolutions that everyone can agree on.  Conflict usually occurs when one or both parties sense inequality, so get together and brainstorm ideas that will help you resolve the conflict.  You may find that you are actually building on one another's ideas. That's a good thing! The goal is to come to a resolution that provides mutual gain.

Create standards of how things will be going forward and create all of your agreements surrounding these standards.  This will help to ensure that you don't have the same obstacles in the future.  By setting specific standards, everyone will be able to communicate in the most respectful and effective manner moving forward.

Accept What You Cannot Change

We all hear that we should accept the things that we cannot change, but this is easier said than done. When it comes to past conflicts you should always seek to resolve them first. If you cannot, it's time to accept the things that you cannot change.

Give up control.  When you give up trying to control what is uncontrollable suddenly the stress of dealing with the conflict dissolves. You will feel like a mountain has been lifted off of your shoulders and you may find that you have a whole new look on life as well as the conflict and the person or people involved with it.

Share what you feel.  When you are feeling angry, hurt or upset, try sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or family member. It's easier to move past conflicts when you have sounding boards at your disposal.  You don't necessarily have to talk to someone who was involved in the conflict, just share your feelings openly and honestly. I personally use a journal to help release my feelings. By getting it out of your mind and off your chest, you're able to find peace within your heart. Be careful not to turn the conversation into attacking the other person. Seek resolutions instead.

Look for the positives.  There are always positive things that come from every situation, even the bitterest of all conflicts. For example, you may have realized the importance of communication, interpersonal relationships, or forgiveness.  When you can find something positive about a past situation you'll find that coping with conflict is much easier.

Focus on forgiveness.  When you focus on forgiveness, the pain associated with conflict can dissipate. After all, we all make mistakes from time to time. When you realize that we live in an imperfect world it'll be easier to let go of the hurt feelings and anger associated with the conflict. Forgiveness does not say the other person’s actions were all right. Instead, you free yourself from living in painful resentment from the situation.

For over 25 years in the health care profession, Lisa Birnesser has studied stress relief techniques and have helped hundreds of people reduce stress in their lives. Lisa specializes in stress management coaching by helping people do what matters most every day.

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