Think about someone who makes you mad. Who doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain or treats you poorly. Now think about the last time they really made you mad. Got it?
Now that I’ve got you good and mad (you’re welcome!) pay attention to what is happening in your body as you think about them. Is your jaw clenched up? Ears hot? Chest feel tighter?
The Cost of Anger
Anger takes a physical toll, and can affect everything from stress levels to heart health. And in addition to the physical cost, there’s a mental cost as well. Anger is heavy, sours our mood, and damages our relationships with others.
So I encourage you to let it go. It can be hard, especially if you are feeling angry about longstanding relationships or years of grievances. But if you can stop drinking all that poison, I promise you’ll feel better.
Leave it Behind
Here are a couple ways to let go:
- Talk it out. Maybe not your preference, but have you tried telling the person about the impact their behavior has on you? Try starting all of your statements with ‘I’ instead of you, and keep focused on your own feelings. This might help them feel (a tiny little bit) less blame.
- Set Boundaries. Rather than continually getting frustrated about other people’s behavior, set some boundaries and stick to them. If you are tired of someone who is late to meetings, just commit to starting them on time whether they show up or not. And then let the rest be their problem!
- Focus on what you can control. Much of our anger and frustration comes from wanting to control other people. I encourage all my clients to focus on what is in their control, and let go of the rest. You are not going to change other people, so focus on changing your reactions.
This holiday season is a great time to trade that mug of poison in for a nice cup of tea, or even a hot toddy, and let go of some anger. Forgiveness can even help you feel lighter, so you can happily skip your way into 2020.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
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