What to do when you feel like the top of your head is going to blow off and flames shoot out of your eyes, nose and mouth….Hmmm…? Surrendering to the feeling always seems like the easiest route until you factor in consequences. Who wants to have to post bail just for expressing consternation and upset about something? Not me. In an effort to avoid legal entanglements, I have compiled a short list of things to do when anger makes it hard to talk, see or walk straight.
- Do NOT drive … anywhere.
- Talking – for me talking about what has my knickers in such a twist tends to keep me revved up and frothing at the mouth rather than calming me – at least initially. Talking may work well for some in the heat of the moment. I have to wait to talk until I have expended some of the “incredible hulk – type” energy that builds up with a MAD.
- Doing something that requires a moderate level of control can take the edge off. Washing dishes probably isn’t the best option if you’re prone to throwing things. Folding laundry, sweeping the floor, re-arranging furniture (in a good way) and filling bird feeders are all actions that help change my focus; In addition to calming me, these activities give my brain a chance to process the cause of my displeasure and come up with ways to address it that are legal and productive and basic household tasks that are otherwise far down on the to-do list are accomplished. As an aside, watching birds at full feeders is soothing and entertaining.
- Taking a brisk walk – even just around the block – can help put things into perspective.
- When the danger of saying something regrettable has subsided, it is a good idea to talk to someone about what pumped the rage machine into high gear.
Figuring out how to avoid chronic blow-ups (even if the anger isn’t actually expressed outwardly) can go a long way toward a happier life. If that means checking out self-help books from the library, signing up for an anger management class, taking up meditation/prayer or feeding homeless animals in the neighborhood – DO IT. It’s worth it.