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Freedom from Anger: Practicing Emotional Self-Regulation

I remember learning from my client a few years back about an interesting way to make a New Year’s Resolution.  Instead of making a resolution in the form of a particular goal like going to the gym for example, change it to a specific word.  This word would be hand picked with great forethought with intention and carrying an ongoing theme of the upcoming year.  Examples of words could be:  bravery; kindness; calm; security; self-acceptance; lovingness, open-mindedness, boundary setting, adaptability, authenticity, resilience, independence, to name a few examples.

What “word” can you come up with for your own New Year’s Theme?  
I have chosen a word. That word for my 2018 is:  Inner Peace.

To forgive is so freeing.  Forgiveness is a selfish act for when we choose to forgive, we no longer have to feel the hurtful feelings that come along with no forgiving. When I forgive others who have trespassed into my safe space, crossing the boundary between us, without permission, even unexpectedly I choose forgiveness.  Even when the hurt stings like a fresh cut. 

If forgiveness is not an option and is some rare cases it’s not, there is an alternative response.  Letting go of the anger, and moving on can be very healing when it’s done at a time that feels appropriate.  Really, what are the other options?  

Staying angry even when it feels justified is simply bad for your health.  Anger raises the stress hormone called Cortisol, which can lead to disease.  Anger is distracting from getting what you need to get done today.  Anger clouds your better judgment. Anger gets in the way of your ability to enjoy the present moment. Anger robs your capacity to create more meaningful connections with people and experiences.  Sustained anger can lead to chronic migraine headaches, stomach problems, elevated blood pressure, premature aging and a shortened lifespan.  So what good is it anyway? It’s 2018, just tell ANGER to take a #$%^-ing hike!
Holding a grudge is a very burdensome experience as the weight of the grudge can weigh us down, making us feel like we’re dragging a heavy load along with us as we go about our day. What a weight lifted when we can release that grudge, regardless of how long we’ve been holding onto it, regardless for the reasons behind it.  When we hold the grudge, whether it’s you holding onto it, or if it’s me holding onto it, we are the ones who end up suffering from keeping the flame of anger burning in our minds and in our awareness.
When you think about forgiveness, I bet you’re referencing anger you may have towards another, or someone you know who may be angry with you. That’s all reasonable to think about.  Here’s another way to look at forgiveness. …Forgiving YOURSELF for past regrets, mistakes, failures, disappointments or misperceptions of what you think was something really bad that’s hard to move past, but nobody has educated you that it’s ok to let go and move on.  We tend to be our own worst critics; emotionally beating ourselves up for reasons we may not even remember down the road. We just remember that we are habituated to being hard on ourselves. For what? 

It’s time for forgive yourself, and look forward to carrying a lighter load in 2018.  Give yourself permission to do so.  It’s easier than you think!! It’s the anticipation that’s harder than the actual change.  YOU CAN DO IT!  Don’t you want to create inner peace?

Shake it out. 

No need to have the last word or to argue to get your way or get your message across.

Think about it inwardly, talk about it outwardly. Talk it out. 

Find ways to channel your anger into activities that lend towards spiritual healing. Some good examples are:  journaling, nature walks, meditation, yoga and sleep, to name a few. Sublimated anger can be transformed to creating greater peace and greater harmony in your life.  Think back when there was a time when you were able to calm yourself down after feeling upset. Perhaps it was watching a funny movie, or calling a dear friend.  Take some time and reflect on what has worked for you in the past. If you can’t come up with anything, it's OK. This is an opportunity for you to create new ways of handling your emotions.  

 This is the step to move past anger, and cope with life’s disappointments.  Get it out of your system by creating a safe space to vent.  Allow yourself to create not only a safe space but also to carve out time for self-reflection even when it hurts like a bitch.  Face the feelings. Weather the storm of emotion.  Avoiding or escaping only delays the obligation of connecting with reality. No way to get around it.  Get through the storm even if you get wet with the pouring rain of emotional upheaval. Keep trucking through, keep moving even if you feel like you’re losing steam, and proceed with bravery and perseverance.  It will be over. All triumphs and disasters eventually come to an end.  You’ll be exhausted when the storm is behind you, looking back at the turmoil you’ve just endured, and wonder how did I go through that?  Was that me who weathered this storm? What just happened?  I didn’t now I was that strong to survive that.  I’m stronger that I credit myself.  And yet, I still have to process. It’s OK. I look back at the ugliness that pushes against my back, but I can see it from a rear view mirror.  Hindsight is truly 20/20. My learning is ongoing, and I accept that there is a time and place to go through this even if it inflicts pain. Even if I cry, grimace, avoid phone calls.... This is my experience and I deserve to nurture my feelings even when it’s uncomfortable for me and uncomfortable for you.   Eventually, I will move away from this. Time helps me create distance between the past and my subjective interpretation of what once was.  

This is a road map to be prepared to handle future situations.  When you travel through your journey with the greatest of authenticity regardless what the outcome is, regardless what others say about you, regardless of how much they care, your drive to live your life the way it’s supposed to be according to your wishes makes the trip well worth it. You’ll never be left empty handed even if there’s no one next to you to give you what you need, you have YOURSELF. That’s all that matters.  Love Yourself Today. Don’t wait. Self-love is the foundation for love of others. 

If you have no one to talk to about your feelings, write it out on paper.  Keep your authenticity alive and well. Isn’t that all we have at the end of the day? 

People who don’t release their anger at themselves or others are taking a “lifelong bath in their anger”.  They KNOW that they are bathing in their anger, and feel very justified in their reasons. They actually staying in their bath of anger, and they have no intensions of getting out any time in the near future.  So,….if you’re waiting for someone in your life to stop being angry at you, at society, at the world, etc. etc., don’t hold your breathe for them.  You don’t have any control over their choices they make.  News Flash!:   YOU have NO power to make them do what you think they should BE doing to live a life with higher functionality. It’s just not going to happen.  If they want to “relinquish their grudge” that they’ve been holding, it will be when they are ready.  We are the lucky ones if we get to witness their forgiveness in our lifetime.

For today, these people who like bathing in their anger are poison for us physically, emotionally and spiritually. Angry people emit toxic energy to anyone they can expose.  They are addicted to conflict, and share their predilections with their nearest and dearest.  When we are forced into situations where we cannot escape these unhealthy relationships, these negative kinds of people breed contagiousness of anger to those around them.  It is undeniable that when we have the pleasure of being around caring people who have our back that we feel emotionally safe. We can say to ourselves, “all is well”. But when we are around negative people, we begin to feel more pessimistic furthering ourselves from our authentic selves.

To achieve greater peace, we must reevaluate our relationships. To need to deeply consider whether or not the people we are associating with are HEALTHY for ourselves.  

Life is very stressful anyway. We don’t have control over natural disasters, or curing diseases. We do have control over managing our stress levels by surrounding ourselves with more peace-loving people.

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