By Dr. Alex Avila
In our frenzied and turbulent world, many of us are becoming more frustrated and angrier by the day. How do you recapture your peace, calmness, and love in the frustrating and lonely environment we are currently living in? Here are some tips to reclaim your peace, joy, and love in today’s upside down world:
*Analyze your anger and frustration. Write down the things that make you mad—your anger triggers—and rate them from 1 to 100. Perhaps, you’re ticked off by rude people, traffic jams, waiting in lines, or mechanical failures (car, phone, computer). Once you’ve identified your anger triggers, note how often you experience them and how angry they make you feel.
*Ask yourself the question: Am I about to act from my higher self? When you’re tempted to explode with anger at one of your triggers, ask yourself if you’re acting from your highest, most noble, peaceful, and loving self. Or, are you lowering yourself to the level of an animalistic and lack of control person who is whipsawed by aggression? Will you regret what you are about to say or do?
*Give yourself a space between frustration and reaction. If you recognize that your lower, primitive instincts are kicking in, then you need to take a “time out,” –remove yourself mentally or physically from the anger-provoking situation. Take a deep breath, pause, go exercise, or take a walk in nature. If you’re in the midst of an angry argument with a loved one, tell them that you’re getting heated and are going to be gone for a while—shopping, exercising, walking. Explain that you will pick up the conversation when you are calmer and more relaxed. Doing so will help you avoid saying and doing things you will later regret, and allows you to return with a calmer and more peaceful mind to resolve the conflict.
*Create a calm down kit. Get a nice box and put all the things you can think of that can help you relax and calm down when you’re feeling stressed, angry, or frustrated. Perhaps, you can include rocks that have special significance to you, scented lotions, a picture of a beautiful landscape, a CD with soothing music, or spiritual writings. Create a nice “mental getaway” package that you can access anytime you’re feeling angry or stressed, and you will start to bring more relaxation and peace into your day.
*Express empathy. Empathy—putting yourself in the shoes of another—is one of the best antidotes to feeling frustrated and angry toward others. When someone cuts you off on the road, or drives too slowly, instead of yelling at them, put yourself in their shoes. Maybe, they’re having a bad day—perhaps, they just had a fight with their spouse, are worried about their children, or are concerned about financial or health issues. You may not know exactly what they’re going through, but you can give them the benefit of the doubt, with your desire to understand them as an imperfect human being (just like you) who is trying to live as best they can. With this empathetic understanding, you are less likely to harshly judge and get angry at them—you can replace your anger with kindness and compassion—bringing love into the situation. When you do this, your own out of control anger will be healed, and you will bring a peaceful conclusion to the encounter.
Yes, it is possible to live with a minimal amount of frustration and anger. It’s true that some anger can be useful to right wrongs and protect the defenseless; a certain amount of frustration can motivate you to get off your rear and do what you need to do. Yet, many times, frustration and anger develop a negative momentum of their own—causing havoc in your health, relationships, and self-esteem. If you learn how to monitor and control your anger reactions, while extending loving energy instead of unproductive aggression, you can take a great step toward recapturing your love, joy, and peace. With more love and joy in your mind and heart, you can offer your loving energy to others and help bring the collective consciousness of the world to a higher frequency of love and compassion.
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