Today I’m talking about how to change from “stressed and angry” to “calm and happy”. “Healthy living” includes our emotional well being so today, let’s make a start on how to let go of anger.
In “How to Break the Habit of Being Ourselves”, Dr Joe Dispenza talks about how we get “addicted to being a bad mood”. (That’s not an exact quote!)
We get hooked on whinging and complaining but it’s not good for our health.
Being angry is stressful which can contribute to bad health.
Also, it’s WAY more fun to be happy and content.
Anger is an emotion. It often triggers a physiological response called the “fight, flight or freeze” response. Other emotions can also trigger physiological responses, often less obvious. (E.g. being happy makes us relax and decreases our heart rate.)
During the fight or flight response, the hormone adrenaline pumps around our body. We gear up to fight a bear or run away from a tiger. Useful in a dangerous situation but a bit overkill when it comes to spilling a coffee (or not being able to park your car).
This is the secret that most coaches use (and many self help books.) It’s actually based on Buddhist theory.
This model of events can be used to fix any problem…from how to lose weight to how to be happy. Or in this case, how to let go of anger.
It’s possible to change your persona overnight but most people take time for it to work in. Personally I’ve been working on being less “stressed and grumpy” and more calm and happy for a few years.
The idea isn’t that you don’t feel emotions, but that you centre yourself more quickly.
When you feel anger instead of lying on the floor screaming for half an hour, you recognise what’s happening. You do a few breathing exercises and wait until the emotion has passed.
The starting block is to examine yourself without judgement. As if you’re a person outside yourself. You start to see patterns and understand when you do certain things. e.g. eat cake or yell at people in the street.
You can think of this model as a straight line. Thoughts lead to emotions that lead to actions.
You can also think of this model as a circle that repeats itself. Thoughts lead to emotions that lead to actions that lead to thoughts that lead to emotions…
You can keep going around in circles.
You can access the circle at any of the three points. You can make changes to your thoughts, your emotions or your actions.
Let’s look at each area individually.
Or “No-one can eat heaps of sugar without it affecting them.”
When reframing, you need to be kind to yourself yet realistic.
If you think “I have a fat and ugly body”…going straight to “I’m thin and beautiful” isn’t realistic. But you can be neutral and go with “I have a body”.
“Thinking positively” doesn’t mean pretending everything is great when really it sucks.
But it is possible to see benefits in many situations that appear to be “not so great”.
Or even hold the space for something positive to come out of a situation. Often we can’t immediately see the positive until a while after the event. We’re too busy focusing on the negative and drama.
Mantras are short phrases that you repeat to yourself. Perhaps whilst you’re exercising or before you go to bed.
“I love myself”
“I surround myself with loving people”
“Aim for progress, not perfection”
They need to relevant to what you’re trying to achieve and realistic. You can’t change your beliefs by “pretending”.
When we take the time to think about all the amazing things in our life, we feel more content.
Your kids might be noisy and annoying. You can be grateful that they’re healthy.
Your boss might be driving you up the wall. You can be grateful that you have a job, a car, a house.
We take so much for granted. It’s a fantastic practice to spend time looking at what we do have and being thankful for it.
If you’re a parent, I bet when you were handed your baby for the first time you thought “help!”
You didn’t feel like a parent. I know I didn’t.
What did we do? We just got on with it! We performed the actions that needed to be done, even though we didn’t feel like parents.
Eventually we began to feel like parents! (And many of us have now forgotten what it felt like before we were parents.)
You can also see this with “Impostor syndrome”. People who don’t feel as if they are what they are (e.g. a doctor or lawyer.)
There’s so much that you can do to move from “angry and grumpy” to “calm and happy”.
Remember it doesn’t happen over night. It’s a journey to be enjoyed.
I hope you’re looking forward to taking the first step of your “letting go of anger” journey.
Dr Orlena is a medical doctor turned health coach. She helps busy mums go from "I can't lose weight" to feeling fit and fabulous. Find out more about her here.