10 Tips for Finding Peace When You are Angry

Your journey to finding peace starts with these 10 simple practices.

We’re journeying through some uncertain times, and anger is welling to the surface for many of us…now more so than ever. I’m seeing it in my practice, and I’m sure you are, too…

It’s okay to experience negative emotions during times of extreme stress. The challenge is to find healthy ways to address your feelings of anger and frustration…ways that don’t harm yourself, your loved ones, your clients, or colleagues.

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Finding peace of mind in the midst of a storm is possible. You can prevent anger from dominating your day-to-day life…even grow and change in ways that will last well beyond these troubling times.

Here are 10 practices for finding peace in your daily life.

1. Go on a media diet.

This will be difficult. We’re all conditioned to watch 24-hour news networks with constant “BREAKING NEWS” banners on the screen. Pick and choose the times you consume current events…don’t allow yourself to binge-watch breaking news.

It’s helpful to schedule a time to get caught up on the issues happening in your backyard and around the world. Commit to a set amount of time – 30 minutes, an hour – at intervals during the day. Then step away from the computer or television…and call a friend, go for a walk, or get to work.

2. Choose your conversations carefully.

You can diffuse negativity with positivity – make a deliberate effort to have conversations with friends, family, and colleagues about the ‘good news’ around you.

My longtime friend Dave Ellis explains this concept perfectly in his book Falling Awake. He encourages us to think carefully about what we say and to whom…

Moment by moment, we get to choose our conversations and community. What’s at stake is enormous – everything we say, hear, watch, listen to, read, and see. No choices are more powerful than these.

Dave Ellis, Falling Awake (2002)

It’s vital that you balance the inevitably ‘bad’ news coming to you through media streams online and on television with the ‘good’ news, as well. Go looking for it…you’ll find it.

3. Begin with positivity in your heart and mind.

Some people have a morning ritual based on their faith – Devotions, for example. Others choose to meditate, read an inspirational poem, listen to peaceful music. Perhaps something physical – yoga, Tai Chi, a long walk or run – gives you the healthy start you need.

There’s no ‘wrong way’ to begin your day with calm in your heart. The art of starting your day with positivity is to schedule the time and stay true to the schedule. Create a ritual and dedicate yourself to following it every morning.

There might be mornings that include unexpected interruptions – don’t worry if you have to skip it once in a while. But do your best to maintain that restorative morning practice.

It might be helpful to tell your friends and family about your ritual so they know to give you the space and time to practice it before getting into the busy-ness of the day…

4. Create a place for your personal power.

Mental imagery is a powerful tool. Do you have a strong image in your mind’s eye of a beautiful place you visited? A garden? A sunrise or sunset that put your heart and mind at ease?

Make an effort to draw that image from your subconscious to your conscious mind – when you feel anger welling up inside, embrace that calming image.

5. Don’t take things personally.

It’s easy to slip into the habit of thinking everyone else’s actions and words are ‘about you’…but they seldom are…

Often times, if someone is pushing your buttons they’re processing their own negative emotions and you just happen to be caught in the crossfire. Unless you know there’s something you’ve said or done to hurt a friend or colleague, shed the belief that you’re a victim of their negativity.

6. Remember that opinions aren’t facts.

Lively discourse is healthy…if you approach them from the point of view of an observer. Engaging in an argument fuelled by opinions is destructive, though, and rarely results in enlightenment or understanding.

Be willing to take another person’s perspective into consideration. “You may be right about that…” is a great way to keep a healthy dialogue going between friends, family members and colleagues. It’s often helpful to keep your mind open and your mouth shut sometimes, as well…

7. Have a committed listener or two who let you rant.

It’s healthy to have a friend who allows you to vent once in a while..someone who will allow you to visit your anger and frustration but won’t let you live there.

Resilience is a learned skill: it’s developed, in part, by expressing your fears or anger and having a sounding board to talk through solutions to the problems triggering these negative emotions.

You can master the art of resilience…it simply takes practice and a good listener now and then.

8. When your buttons get pushed…pause, reflect, rewind.

Stephen Covey called it “examining your tendencies”…it’s the willingness to take a step back when you’re in a frustrating situation and look inwards instead of lashing out.

Lasting solutions to our outward conflicts are possible only to the extent we find real solutions to our inner ones.

The Anatomy of Peace, Arbinger Institute

Seize the opportunity to apologize if your overexuberance for a certain point-of-view or belief has clearly crossed a line. Revisit the conversation with respect and deference.

9. Find a local cause and get involved.

The gift of charity is its own reward. If your negative feelings are weighing you down it might be time to give your time and energy to a local cause, whether it’s a soup kitchen or an animal shelter.

Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself. All things are bound together. All things connect.

Chief Seattle

It’s harder these days to take part in charitable acts, but if you use your imagination you’ll find ways to share your care with people in your community…and feel the richer for it.

10. Take a break from your routines.

Don’t be afraid to break from your daily routines once in a while – turn off your devices, go for a drive, maybe turn down a road you’ve always driven past because you were in a hurry.

Give yourself permission to ‘unplug’ once in a while and switch things up. Think of it like rebooting your laptop…shut down…restart…

It might seem elusive these days, but there is a great deal of good news out there in the world…and if you can’t find it, perhaps you can create it! Seek out the positive forces in your life – it’s medicine for your soul.

Do you have a source of affirmation or positive news you turn to in times of stress and anger? I’d love to hear about it.

Did you find this article helpful? Then you might enjoy these, as well.

How We Greet People Is Changing, And That Is A Good Thing
9 Ways To Create Peace In Your Life – Even When The World Is Pure Chaos
The Secrets Of Intimacy In A Long Distance Relationship

This article was originally published in October, 2018, and has been updated.

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