It’s amazing how many people waste so much time each day apologizing for their actions that happened when they were angry. “I’m sorry I called your mother a worthless piece of bacteria, I was angry.” “Dude, sorry I hurled a rock through your windshield, I was angry about something else.”
Instead of being angry about something and going on with your day while being angry, why not lose the anger? No, it’s not terribly easy, but it’s also not monumentally hard. Below, ten ways to quickly dump 95% of anger on any topic right out of your head.
1) Work out. Without fail, this is the best, hands down way, to get over anger. I was pissed off last week. I had two options: Take it out on my wife, since I was in Rome and no one else spoke English, even though she had nothing to do with it, or put my iPod on and go workout. I chose the latter. Ran at full-speed for a mile – nearly had a coronary. Then lifted 10% more than my max. Busted out six reps before I started seeing stars. Did all of this while listening to “Breaking the Habit” by Linkin Park. Came back to my hotel room a half hour later smiling.
2) Take a nap. 15 minutes of sleep refreshes you, drains some “I’m going to kill him” endorphins” and puts you back in a calmer place. It really does work. Don ‘t make it more than 15 minutes though, or you’ll wake up groggy, and be even angrier.
3) Go find an animal. Go sit down on the floor and play with a dog or a cat for 10 minutes. Scientific study after scientific study has shown that playing with animals makes you happy, calmer, and better able to react well to life. Plus, they’re PUPPIES AND KITTENS!!!
4) Buy something. Don’t go all Wesley Snipes-in-debt, but go splurge on a pair of shoes, or a new flat-screen. There’s a direct correlation between shopping for something you want and dopamine production. Dopamine is the brain’s happy juice. Occurs when you work out, too, but sometimes, running your AmEx through a Veriphone terminal is more fun.
5) Water. Drink some, play in some, cross over some. Drinking water in itself is beneficial. See this post for why. Playing in some makes you feel young. Crossing over some lends to good views. All three of which will lose the anger and promote happiness.
6) Call an old friend. Connect with someone who knows you well, who puts up with your crap but calls you on it. Chances are they can tell you why your anger isn’t worth it.
7) Volunteer somewhere. Go serve soup at a homeless shelter. Go build a house at Habitat for Humanity. Even just give a guy on the street a dollar. Counting your blessings can usually make you realize how petty your anger is.
8) Write an email and don’t send it. Turn off your wifi, write whatever to whom you’re angry about, call them every name in the book. Save the email. Come back to your computer an hour later. Read it again, and then delete it. Trust me, you won’t want to send it.
9) Go to Temple, Church, a Mosque, or a prayer room at an airport, if that’s what moves you. There are reasons houses of worship are open all day – If it’s something that helps you, make some time to do it.
10) Ask someone to tell you the corniest joke they can think of. It’s hard to stay mad after someone says to you “So a guy walks into a bar… You think he would have seen it and avoided it.”
Plus one: Just take a deep breath. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
What else can you do to stop being angry? Leave it in the comments.
By Peter Shankman