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How to calm down when you're really flamin' angry!

Photo credit:doug88888 

Short of time? Skinny version & summary here.

I was flamin' angry this morning!

Ranting and raving! Standing up. Making stupid snarling noises. My face and ears getting all heated and flame coloured.

For a full two minutes.

Sitting down and stewing.

For a full three minutes.

Then I had an idea......

Anyway, my fume-atious, hot-under-everything, explosure (did you like that word?) was ridiculous, out of all proportion to my perceived injustice.

I had let myself be affected negatively, emotionally, irritatingly, by a downbeat conversation with an aggressive, up-her-own-backside, patronising, so-called "important" media executive who in real terms, has little or no impact upon my life - if I don't allow her to that is.

What kicked me off, without boring the hell out of you, was one of those business situations: where a so called "established", "respectable", "mainstream", person or organisation says one set of things, pretends to stand for something important, something worthwhile, something you believe matters, and then, you find out that that person or organisation is not what they claim to be, do, or stand for at all.

Instead, their "good" image is just a facade for some self-serving, benefiting the same old, same old, elite group of people, keeping the status quo, while outwardly hoodwinking the rest of us into believing there's a greater, noble cause that's worth supporting.

Such projects can attract money and investment through subtle deception. They're presented as good for the community. In reality, they're lying to people, but with a smile on one of their two faces.

I hate running into that stuff. And that's why I was flamin' angry this morning.

So what was the idea I had?

Well my idea, after that angry outburst (I try to have those only when I'm on my own!) was to turn things around and help me do something to make a positive difference. I'll get to what it was in a moment!

What often happens when folk get irritated is they just whinge, moan, complain, and generally drive other's up the wall with their unproductive grumbling. But they take no action.

I'm in training.

I'm learning to turn crap into good stuff, oh yea! It definitely isn't easy but like most things, it gets easier with practice. Course I'm a long way off where I want to be but I'm in for the long haul.

Anyway, I decided to use my heightened state of resolve to get on the phone and set some good stuff in motion: things that could challenge that bull-crap project, create something genuine that does what it say it will do, and benefit lots of people. "Yes!" I told myself, "I flamin' well am gonna use this irritation to make something good happen".

But first, STOP!

Being wound up is sometimes good for entertainment value, or if you're a bare-knuckle street fighter (a relative told me my great, great, grandfather was Clogger Jack, a well known Lancastrian pub fighter, but that's another story). On the whole though, it's not good for business, building better relationships, or handling difficult situations. No. For those we generally need to be calm.

Here's how I calm myself down, and it works!

I've got nothing magical to tell you and I know you'll have heard this stuff before but DO IT!

Changing our mental state and re-positioning our thinking is Reallygood Thinking!

* Go on then......have a flamin' good rant!

I've never been much good at covering up my emotions. I don't think that's very healthy. It's not a good idea to have a full on emotional free-for-all just anywhere you happen to be. I believe self control is a good thing you know!

But when I'm angry, I will let rip. I acknowledge how I feel. I rant and rave. I describe in great detail and at great verbal speed, all that's bothering me. I get it out.

And then, I literally move on.

* Get moving. I go for a run.

Yip. For me, running is the ultimate calming action. I love it. It might not be the best thing for you, but getting off our arses and moving about definitely seems to work to change a negative mental state into something more positive.

I always, always, always feel better during, and after, a run. I reckon fast walking works well too, or cycling, or ...whatever. Find something you like and get moving. Or even just go somewhere and have a physical break in an environment other than where your anger started.

* Let's stop feeling "hard done by".

I bet most of us reading this are not that badly off. Though I'm aware there'll be some who are going through extremely difficult times, bad health, the death of a loved one, money worries, suffering violence, abuse, or seemingly insurmountable problems. If you are then what I'm saying must sound shallow and pointless. We live in a world where random, unpredictable, harsh circumstances can come to any of us at any time, so I feel for you.

For the rest of us though, I'll say it again: stop feeling hard done by!

Feeling hard done by lead to my feeling angry and upset with that woman this morning. So I decided to re frame it. I acknowledged the world is what it is. There are things we can change. There are things we can't. A lot of things are random. That woman's being in a position of power and privilege is just how it is at the moment. It's not that the universe has decided to exclude me and give her the "good stuff", not at all. She's played the game, been, from what I can see, an approval seeking, automaton and political game player to get into her current position.

I've made different choices and I'm finding ways to do what I believe are the right things. Those things are getting me where I need to be to help people and make a difference in a way that doesn't require a disconnect between my values and lifestyle.

* Try not to make sweeping, unhelpful judgements about stuff that's impossible to judge.

Hey, I'm not saying that media executive is a bad human being.

We can't look into the apparently unhelpful, smug, and selfish way I feel she acted toward this morning and conclude much at all really. Certainly we are not able to make any big judgements about people's lives in general without the benefit of complete insight into their total history, psychology, and beliefs. We can't know or understand all the circumstances that lead them to behave as they do or to make the choices they make.

When we think like this we realise how daft it us to make massive judgements about folk! All we can reasonably say is that their specific actions, in specific circumstances, appear to be unhelpful, unkind, inappropriate, or selfish or that we simply don't like them!

So let's restrict our judgements to very specific things and then decide what we can do to move things forward to a more positive place.

This kind of thinking really does help take the sting out of my feeling angry and helps me re-position myself and calm down.

* Here's a great idea that seems to always help me - fast!

That rude TV executive was very annoying and her stinking attitude wound me up. But what I'm training myself to do is to re-focus things. Instead of concentrating on her and how crap I allowed her to make me feel (if only for a little while!) I used this very powerful technique to turn my thinking around - fast!

In the last few weeks, I've met, interviewed, and chatted with some of the most amazing people. They are kind, thoughtful, bright men and women who want to work with others to create a better, more sustainable world. These folk do not live just for their own personal gain, comfort and status. Rather, they are part of a massive global movement toward thinking and behaving differently, to help re-shape things!

These are the people that inspire me.

I want to work with them, help them, talk to, write about, film, interview, or support them. Focusing on these people and not the crap ones makes a huge difference.

So that's another key. Every time we come across someone unhelpful, who diminishes us, let's try to move on from them as soon as possible and get around the good people! I know it's not always easy, or even doable physically, but we can do it in our thoughts.

* So I turned my negative , ranting and raving anger into a kind that is helpful, overcomes obstacles, and gets things done.

After my run, I was still annoyed with that earlier conversation, though in a very calm and clear thinking way. In a focused manner, I was able to use that momentum to pick up the phone, push through the gatekeepers and objections, and discuss my big project idea with someone who could help make it happen.

Those were my tips on how to calm down when we're flamin' angry and get something good out of it!

Hope you found them helpful. I'd love to hear what you think and how you cope with situations where you get wound up and need to calm down. Thanks for reading. See you in the comments! Much love, Ian.

Your comments:


1-3
James says:
27/11/2011 17:50:11

hey its me again, while I was thinking i just thought about a way to calm down (which you may use) , you should clench your fists let the anger build up, untill you start to shake, and the scream into your pillow. it really helps because you press out nearly all the anger you have built up. Now, if you still feel a little angry you should splash some cold water over your face untill your face cools down, then simply sit down on your bed or if you have a wooden floor in your room sit on that as it'll keep you cool (well it does to me anyway), now you've sat down close your eyes and imagine everything you see is white and (and keep slow steady breathing going) , now start putting objects (prefarably outdoor types such as trees or swings etc.) in this white. now start building a small area and when you've finished or decided to stop the anger will be gone! :) hope it helps, James
James says:
27/11/2011 17:33:55

really helpfull thanks a lot, ;)! This really helped and the running bit was just for me! as i said thanks a lot :)
AnnHawkins says:
09/09/2009 20:23:57

I agree with all of this (except the running bit!) I recently got really angry with someone then I found this great quote http://bit.ly/58R4b and the result is - get over it and get on with it. Well done Ian, another brilliant insight.
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IAN ASPIN

  • Ian AspinLocation: Lancaster Lake District, UK
  • Bio: I’m passionate about my work:TV journalist, producer, presenter, business ideas person. I care about: family, friends, helping people, finding meaning, running