One of my first job interview questions “When do you get angry?” that changed my perspective about anger!
When do get angry? When most of us are pushed to a corner, where our minds are unable to have a normal reaction (as in our minds it is already the last straw), we feel cheated, helpless, tricked, taken advantage of, not able to express our emotions in any other better way, unable to get the importance across to the other person etc etc. The rush of emotions when not channeled in the right way get to clog up and burst out as anger.
So, does it make sense to meditate? Somehow meditation has not been something that I can look at to reduce my anger. Sharing some tips that have worked for me.
- Single-task consciously – Constantly multi-tasking pushes us to a zone of bursting emotions. The people who are the most helpless get the brunt of it. People multi-tasking at work, get to take out their frustration on their family or vice versa. Consciously switch to single-tasking for a few hours a day. Would be tough initially, but slowly you tend to deal with all aspects of your emotions.
- Figure out your Zen-zone – Each of us have that special activity which helps calm our minds down. For some it may be arts, for some house cleaning, or organizing, or de-cluttering your computer, meditating, praying, yoga, star gazing, talking to friends, gardening, or as simple as cutting vegetables. Find out what it is – and get time in a day to operate in that zone for at least 15-30 minutes.
- Do not skip meals – My in-laws taught me this. Do not wait for your spouse or kids to eat your meals. On an empty stomach, your brain tries to deal with hunger first and everything else is an added emotion. Eating regularly without skipping meals ensures you are able to give the time and patience to the people you are dealing with (yes… team at work and kids – we can deal with both better :)) And make sure you eat food that makes you happy 🙂
- Look for constants among all variables – In a day, setting our minds to operate in a constant routine helps. Even if the work we do across two days might not be the same, having a routine helps – as it increases the number of constants that we deal with in our life. If you are at a point where you need to deal with too many variables in life, cut down consciously on the variables that you create for yourself – like what food to make, what creative activities to do, what interesting projects to pick up etc. Gives you time to balance your day and emotions better.
- Prioritize yourself – What you NEED to do, what you WANT to do needs to get into your priority list. Being supportive of other people’s dreams and projects alone does not cut it.
- Find a way to express – For some this may be verbal communication, some may read it as open up your long pending secrets, for others toning down your voice/pitch to not sound rude. Everyone knows their sweet-spot they want to be in, if you do not, talk to your friends and family and inputs will pour in! Point is – to be able to speak/write/ do what is necessary to express yourself and not bottle up your emotions. Being assertive (firm, yet polite) is a good start.
- Avoid snowball effect – One call / email in the morning that upsets us, can have a snowball effect on all the people and meetings we need to deal with during the rest of the day. How do we avoid that? Maintain a to-do list, put that item on the list and consciously switch your mood before your next meeting/call. What has helped me is to skim through my facebook page or whatsapp chats with friends groups for 10-20 seconds before I get onto my next meeting. I end up smiling and am able to approach the next session with a better mindset.
- Drink water frequently – While dealing with someone else who is angry, counting to 10 before you react or drinking water helps. My parents and grandparents used to say this. I feel, staying hydrated is a huge mood booster as well. Our mind stays fresh and we feel energized dealing with these scenarios better.
So, how do all of the above help in dealing with anger better? It does. By doing these, we would have time for ourselves and in that, our mind figures out a way to deal with emotions, rationalizes and figures out solutions/approaches to handle it better. It gives you to the time and space to be empathetic to others (as you already have prioritized yourself, you have time for others), listen better (as you have figured out a way to express yourself better) etc. Remember getting angry is not a bad thing – it is a normal human response, however reacting in anger makes it bad.