6 Simple Tips For Dealing With Anger

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I have been working through my anger for a long time. A LONG time. Angry at my parents, angry at my peers, angry at my bosses, angry at the world, and most of all, the systems that keep people marginalized/impoverished/down.

I had a tendency to react quickly and dramatically. At times, I would be in a full meltdown over a minor inconvenience, and if someone wronged me I would hold a grudge. I was angry at myself and at the life I lived. It just kept getting projected onto others.

So yeah- I know plenty about being angry, but I have learned so much about working through my anger, channeling my anger into something positive, and sometimes just letting things go.

Here are my top 5 alternatives to getting angry, brought to you by psychiatric medications, lots of therapy, and slow but steady self-growth.

1. Wait 24 hours, then react if you are still angry.

It’s important that you give yourself time before you react, especially in a serious situation. My standard is to wait 24 hours if I feel alright doing so, and if it still bothers me in 24 hours I will speak up. After 24 hours, I use my voice in a calm way to clearly state what I am angry about and what I would like done.

2. Find the root of your anger, and deal with that.

Anger is often simply anxiety in disguise. Not always, of course. Sometimes an individual’s action can anger you, or another direct scenario that led to an angry response.

Are you angry at the amount of traffic there is at rush hour, or are you upset at yourself for pressing snooze one too many times and running late?

Are you angry at your partner for not doing the dishes, or are you feeling overwhelmed about how much you have on your plate?

I believe that more often then not, anxiety manifests itself as anger as an “easy” coping mechanism. By deflecting an anxious situation by simply getting angry, you are denying yourself the opportunity to recognize your triggers and work through them.

3. Practice deep breathing.

The key to successfully utilizing calming breaths in situations when you are angry is to practice when you are not. Being able to turn to a healthy alternative to anger must be practiced and its unlikely that you will be able to adequately calm yourself down with deep breathing if you are in the middle of an angry episode.

Meditation, a sister of practicing controlled breath, is also a great option if you’re looking for something more intense. I’m a huge fan of guided meditations on Spotify or Headspace.

I underestimated the power of stress balls for the longest time, until a friend of mine got me one. I LOVE these ones from Amazon. Squeeze while you breathe in, release as you breathe out. I keep one in my office, one by my bed, and one in my bag! It’s a must have.

In through the nose, out through the mouth. Breathe.

4. Move your body.

It might be the last thing you want to do, but getting up and physically removing yourself from a situation that is causing you to be angry is an easy immediate solution. It could be as simple as going for a walk or as intense as going to an exercise class.

You know yourself best, and might need to try a few options until you figure out what works best for you to keep your cool.

5. Check in with yourself and see what you need.

9 times out of 10 I’m hangry, not actually angry. By pausing for a moment and seeing what you actually need, you can address that before and then see if the response is necessary. Have a drink of water, have a snack, take a quick walk, put on some music, talk to a friend.

Give yourself permission something that makes you feel just a little bit better in the next few moments. By tending to one or more of your needs, you’ll be able to get yourself in the right mindset to properly tune into yourself and figure out what you’re angry at and why- and most of all, if it’s worth being angry about.

6. Be angry. Let yourself feel how you feel, then let that sh*t go!

If you’re angry, you’re angry. Let yourself feel anger for a moment or two, but don’t hold onto it. Life is too short to be angry, and you won’t feel any better for staying angry. Very little is worth your anger, channel it into something better, make a change, or let it go!


I am doing okay.

8.8.2020, 12:22AM

Sometimes I wish that I could fast forward through the next five years. Skip past the hustle and grind, not pinch pennies to make rent, advance in my career, and to settle in to the rest of my life.

Life is really fucking hard. Like really hard. Harder than I expected, but 15 year old me never thought 24 year old me would be around and living the life I am. I’m better than I thought it I would be but I’m not living the life I am.

Looking around it feels like everyone has their life together. Everyone has it just about figured out, my high school friends are getting engaged, even married. My college friends are buying houses, and my coworkers are having kids. Life seems to be moving faster for everyone else and I want in.

I love my little family and my home, I love my job and my car and all the wonderful things I have. I love my friends, though few in quantity and far in distance, I’m supported no matter how far they are. My life is good and I am okay.

Even though I know in my head that my life is good, I worry if any of this is real. I worry that I will wake up and lose everything I have worked for. I worry irrationally and all of the time. Knowing that the thoughts are irrational is half the battle, but the other half is still hard. The other half is filled with doubt, doubt of others intentions, doubt of love, worthiness, and trust. I think I’m fake, and someday everyone will catch on and see it’s an act. It’s not an act, I know that. Irrational.

About a year and a half ago I scheduled my first therapy appointment. I walk in, depressed and anxious as can be, and unpack as much as I can as quickly as I could so it wouldn’t hurt as badly. Like ripping off a huge bandaid but in front of a complete stranger.

My therapist is my sounding board, my voice of reason, and even at times my cheerleader. When my therapist felt as if I wasn’t making much progress in treating my depression, she referred my to a psychiatrist and we begun the medication tango.

Wellbutrin, clonidine, lexapro, zoloft. Those are the four I’ve tried, currently I’m taking all but lexapro. The journey has been a literal roller coaster but slowly we are getting a good balance that works for me. The self care and therapy and coping skills are half of it, my medication is the other half. I’ve never been ashamed, the outcome has been too positive.

I’m working so hard on myself but I still want to skip ahead. I want to enjoy the here and now, the today, the present. I want to picture myself 80 and happy. But me as a happy 80 year old won’t be happy if I waste my time being sad about money or stressing over work. I have to become the woman I am meant to be.

I have it together more than I’ll ever give myself credit for. I’m a badass, working a cool and exciting job and making the world a better place. I am compassionate and honest and healthy. People want to be around me, they’re just also busy. I am doing okay, I am okay.

This is hard, but as my favorite human being Glennon Doyle repeatedly says, “We can do hard things”.

5 Tips For Embracing Our New Normal

A new normal.

That’s the latest description of this confusing time we’re in. We are literally in the middle of a global pandemic that has ravaged through each continent, took a hit at hospitals and emergency rooms, and created a lot of business for funeral homes.

“Unprecedented times” we call it. There is no guide on how to get through a global pandemic in 2020.

The serenity prayer comes into play in my field of work often, as I work with folks trying to maintain their sobriety.

“God, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.

Let’s break that down, it’s more relevant today than ever.

Accepting what I cannot change. This has always been hard for me. I’m passionate about making change, fighting for social justice, and honestly, I feel better being in control.

I have the courage to change a whole lot, working with one of the toughest, most complex, and vulnerable populations.

I help folks whether or not they’re ready to be helped.

I advise alcoholics who have an important appointment for social security or housing to take a nip before going into their meeting, because otherwise they would go into withdrawal.

I provide a safe place for addicts to spend their day in between shooting up, because we can’t monitor for their safety on the street.

The harm reduction model keeps addicts alive so when they are ready to accept the help, they’ll be alive to do it. (Thank god for narcan!)

We can’t change someone who doesn’t want to be changed.

Likewise, we can’t end a global pandemic that has only just begun. There won’t be a vaccine for quite a bit of time, in the grief process of all we have missed out on or lost I am in the acceptance phase.

I won’t, however, accept things as they are. I won’t stay inside and binge Netflix (not everyday, anyway). I won’t mope about not being able to go to the movies, celebrate Pride, go to summer concerts, and vacation in Florida.

Here’s what I’ll do instead, I encourage you to try some of these too.

1) Spend time with your loved ones, however you can.

Check on each other, and do it intentionally. In this digital age, it is so easy to stay connected with your loved ones via FaceTime, FB Messenger Video, or my newest favorite, Zoom!

Add some structure in your life, and schedule these visits or hangouts in advance. It will give you something to look forward to. Living close to my family, we have also had visits in person, in lawn chairs 6 feet apart.

There’s just something about seeing your loved ones in person after not seeing them for a while that really makes you appreciate what you’ve got.

2) Move your body!

Exercise in a way that makes you feel good, get the blood flowing and bring on those endorphins. Personally, I enjoy going on hikes with my pup, riding the stationary bike at my apartment complex gym, and doing yoga.

I believe in the importance of embracing exercise as means to feel good, not to lose weight or be skinny. I exercise because I feel better after I move my body. I exercise because I feel more powerful as I get stronger. I cannot stress this enough – we are in crisis mode.

Go easy on yourselves, do what makes you feel good in every aspect of your life.

3) Get outside.

Go to the beach, go for a hike, read a book on your porch, lay in the sun, go to the pool.

I have never spent a beautiful summer day (with proper hydration and lots of sunscreen!) and regretted it after. Embrace nature, vitamin D, and all the beautiful world has to offer.

Do this safely: wear a mask when you cannot safely remain 6 feet apart, don’t go with people you don’t live with. Carry out what you bring in.

The pandemic has cleared the air in many smoggy, polluted spots. By taking a pause on life as we knew it, our planet is thanking us!

4) Learn something new.

As I scrolled through social media at the beginning of the pandemic, it seemed like everyone had become a professional baker and mastered the sourdough loaf recipe overnight.

Whether it’s baking, writing, drawing, yoga, knitting, or learning the inside scoop behind the BLM movement, how to be an ally (which I’m hopeful for many of you, you’re working on this!)

5) Allow yourselves time to rest.

Between worrying about coronavirus and the toll it is taking on our friends and families across the world, and fighting for the lives of BIPOC, it’s easy to get burnt out.

Rest, embrace self-care, meditate, drink water, and continue carrying on. Go easy on yourself!

As I’ve said, this global pandemic is not over. States and countries can continue to open, but for as long as there is not a vaccine and there are still positive cases, we will be dealing with this new normal for a while.

Embracing what is going on, even when it’s hard will allow you to sit in the acceptance phase and keep moving forward.