Take a step back.

The next time you’re faced with a stressful or frustrating situation, take a step back.

What do I mean by this?  Well, sometimes, it’s easy for us to surrender to anger and let it consume us when in the middle of a heated debate, or stressful situation. But more often than not, letting that anger consume you doesn’t make anything better; it usually makes things a lot worse. What’s the best way to let it out? Well first, how shouldn’t you handle your anger?

We’ve heard before that bottling up your anger is bad for you, but is that really true? In Claudia Hammond’s article “Is it bad to bottle up your anger?”, she states that holding it in actually isn’t all that detrimental to your health, but rather, expressing your anger, especially in violent, aggressive ways, is worse for you. Hammond writes that people who frequently lose their temper are three times more likely to suffer a heart attack.

But anger is a natural emotion we all feel. So how should you let it out without endangering yourself and others? I see two ways in releasing your anger, an active and a passive one. The active approach could be using your anger to actually benefit you. If you’re frustrated by a specific task, you can use your anger constructively to help you push through it.

The passive approach would be to take a step back, which I mentioned above. This is my preferred method, for while you can use your anger to get things done, I’d rather avoid it in the first place.

Now what I mean by taking a step back is to remove yourself from the stressful situation or environment. Get some air, clear your head, calm down, and realize that you’re not going to get to a solution any faster if your frustration is clouding your thoughts.

There’s a lot of ways to do this. You could simply step outside and take a break for a few minutes. Invest your time in a different task or goal. Find a quiet place to meditate. Or my favorite, you can exercise, whether it’s playing a sport, walking your dog, going for a run, or doing some yoga. It not only quickly releases your anger and stress, but also is good for your health. So take a step back next time you’re blood starts to boil, and try taking a calmer approach to your problem.

“Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.” Benjamin Franklin


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