Hello, my wonderful friends!
Today I want to talk about being angry. Because, let’s face it, we all get mad. Some people more than others, and each person in they own way, but we all do it.
Recently, I got really upset and negative about something that was really not a big deal at all. This caused some major reflection for me. Here are some of the advice that I have on handling being upset in as healthy of a way as possible (things that I needed to check in with myself about during my recent angry moments).
Identify the kind of “upset person” you are.
Identifying the kinds of ways that you manifest your emotions, as well as the things that help you sort through them, is an endlessly valuable thing to learn about yourself. It can be really challenging, though, because it is societally engrained in us to occult anger or any negative feeling, and that there are very few acceptable manners of expressing sad or angry emotions. I think that expressing these emotions doesn’t have to be some huge intense thing, it can just be about getting them out of your system and moving on.
I’m a crier (Alexa, play “La Llorona” by Alba Reche) and an out-loud thinker when I’m upset. If I need to cry and hold it in for too long, it genuinely gives me a headache. If that means I need to go to the bathroom by myself for a minute, dramatically cry silently in a stall, and go back out to face the world, that’s what we’re going to do. Crying needs to be de-stigmatized, y’all.
I also know that when I’m upset, my overthinking and overanalyzing leaves my head and needs to be verbalized. It’s important to surround myself with people who are willing to listen without judgement, whether that be with friends in person or on the phone with my mama. Knowing what you need and finding doable strategies to practice these needs is a really good goal to work towards on the self-improvement front.
Let yourself feel what you’re actually feeling.
I was listening to the podcast, “Unf*ck Your Brain,” the other day (specifically episode 70 on clean versus dirty pain), which talked about how to approach pain in difficult, potentially traumatic situations like deaths or breakups. My favorite line was this one.
“What if I were willing to just feel how this is going to feel?”
That line genuinely relieved some anxiety for me the moment that I heard it. What if we decided not to spend all of this energy on forcing ourselves to not feel how we do feel in actuality? This concept is seemingly simple, but really powerful. There are healthier and less healthy ways of handling different situations and emotions, and you can make the effort to approach all emotions in healthier ways, but you can’t force yourself out of a genuine feeling. If you’re going to be sad, there are healthy ways to cope with being sad, for example.
Try to put a time limit on anger over less significant issues.
This might sound counterintuitive to what I just said, but hear me out. Sometimes, we just need to feel the anger or the sadness. However, in many cases, the things that we are worked up about are something that aren’t necessary to be too affected by. We can’t deny our feelings, but we also can’t let them take the wheel.
I used to do this a lot, giving myself time limits to fully feel my feelings. In more intense cases, this may not be a good idea. You have to assess what is appropriate case by case. But, for example, with it being internship season for the past few months, whenever I got a rejection that I was upset about, I told myself that I got 15 minutes to be pissed. 15 minutes to do what I needed to do. 15 minutes to cry, to call my mom and be salty about it, 15 minutes to listen to angry music, or 15 minutes to eat a brownie and feel sorry for myself. Once those 15 minutes of genuinely being upset and embracing it, it was time to wrap it up and move on with my day.
Sometimes, depending on the circumstance, you may need more time than you allotted for yourself. Give yourself that time, if you find it necessary. This piece of advice is kind of unstructured, but I think that it can be helpful sometimes to say to yourself, “hey, this sucks, I get a few (hours? days? weeks? minutes?) to be completely and fully upset. After I get it out of my system it’s time to heal, if needed, but always move on.
Only you get to decide whether your anger is valid.
This is one that I’ve always struggled with. It’s not a competition, your situation doesn’t have to be compared to that of other people and be “more” or “worse” in order to justify your reaction. We all have our ways of reacting to certain things, and nobody’s way is more valid than another.
Also, in terms of making a decision about how much time to spend dwelling in your feelings, only you get to say “this is not that big of a deal,” or “wow, this actually really matters to me and I am affected.”
A full post on this topic is to come, because I have a lot to say about it!
Have a playlist.
This one is more of a breakup playlist, but it’s got a lot of good angry tunes. I’m a firm believer in the fact that there needs to be a playlist for everything.
The chaos can now be under control. I hope this post helps in moments of distress.
With so much love,