We expend a great deal of energy feeling angry. Many of us carry anger around like a heavy weight on our backs, around the middle and in our heads. No wonder we suffer from these specific aches and pains. Physiologically, our heart beats faster, our blood pressure rises, our stomachs tense up and secrete more acid and we toss and turn at night to awaken with blood shot eyes. We look unattractive and feel tired. Ironically, the person at whom this rage is directed does not even know that we are angry, or that we harbor a grudge.

However, who are we really angry at? We are upset that we did not tell the other person what was in our heart and mind: “I should have said…” We are enraged that we did not take precautions; instead we let it happen again. We are resentful that we allowed ourselves to be trivialized. All of this means that we are most angry with ourselves!

In order to overcome anger we have to address the source. Instead of expending energy trying to change and correct some aspect of the other person, why don’t we correct that same trait in ourselves? We can work on ourselves to be better, more patient and less tolerant of perceived indiscretions. We can start loving and respecting ourselves. We don’t need external validation.

Venting our feelings and projecting them to others prevents us from working on our inner self. It is much easier to blame someone else or a situation than to take responsibility. Anger gets to us when we do not have a developed sense of self, or self-esteem. If we have a good self-concept, then we cannot feel trivialized and do not act accommodatingly against our will. For example, if we feel angry that a friend or family member does not show us empathy for what we are going through, we can try to give ourselves that empathy. We do not really need it from outside sources; we need to discover that compassion from within.

We also need to learn how to let things go. A new argument with a friend or relative is layered with old ammunition. “But I apologized for that already!” A husband will tell his angry wife who associates the conflict of the moment with a past event which she cannot let go. Anger management implies self-management. 

Here are some suggestions:

If something bad happens in your life, don’t expend extra energy descending into anger. Instead of saying, “Why me?” Think how lucky you are to have recourse to support, physicians, professionals, community and family. Do you ever ask, “Why not me?”

Redirect your focus from what you do not have to what you do have. Be grateful for every little thing.

Don’t wait to descend into the abyss of anger where it is difficult to climb out. Catch yourself on the downward spiral. Communicate your true feelings. Reinterpret the situation with a positive spin.
Exercise away your anger. At least, walk it off. You’ll burn off stress hormones, raise endorphins and oxygenate your brain to think more clearly.

Stop wondering if you are wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, or driving the cool car; get comfortable with who you are and you will never have to waste time thinking about what others think because most of the time they don’t think about you at all.

Don’t worry about the grade you get- just take the course and enjoy it! Live your life that way- to learn.

Everyday say to yourself: “I am good enough!” Don’t second guess how you take care of your children, your husband or your parents. When you doubt yourself, you will take it out on others, usually in the form of anger.

Don’t qualify your positive statements with a but. But will negate the positive words that precede it.

To learn more about Debbie Mandel, author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, go to www.turnonyourinnerlight.com.