Managing anger

I saw a segment on TV this morning that started my train of thought going. The segment was on the fact that those who express their anger live, on average, two years longer than those who bottle it up. I know that bottling up anger is bad for your heart, and for your health in general. I also know that years of suppressing anger can lead to a person exploding – i.e. ‘going postal’ as it was termed. That explosion can be catastrophic for not only the person exploding, but also those around him/her.

I was taught from an early age that expressing anger is not okay. We, as women, are supposed to just go along with whatever happens because it isn’t ‘ladylike’ to get angry. So we bottle up the anger and suddenly, sooner or later, we find ourselves depressed, or unhappy with our lives, or suicidal. Men are taught that expressing anger isn’t okay because expressing any emotion is not ‘manly’. So men bottle up their anger until they also find themselves unhappy, depressed, or attacking their loved ones or strangers.

I wonder if this is why we have mass shootings. Do these people just explode from bottling everything up for so long? Have they been bullied? Do they not know how to express what they are feeling? I don’t know the answer, but I do know that we all should learn how to express our feelings in a constructive way.

I don’t get angry very often; I’m an easygoing kind of person. But when I do get angry, I tend to spew words all over the place. I don’t yell; I don’t even raise my voice. The words are preceeded by a deadly calm quiet. My ex and my kids never knew when I would reach my limit, and it happens maybe once in ten or so years, so they never learned the warning signs.

Other people I know tend to rant and rave and jump up and down for hours when they get angry. And some people I know don’t express it at all. We need to teach our kids that expressing emotions is healthy and necessary, because if we don’t tell people how we feel, how are they supposed to know? I’m not advocating that we begin emoting all over the place, but to learn what and when it is appropriate to express ourselves and when it is necessary to just walk away.

Abundance

Abundance. What is it and how can we get it?

Abundance is defined as a very plentiful or more than sufficient quantity; overflowing fullness; affluence or wealth. I like the thought that is is a plentiful or overflowing fullness. We all have an abundance of something. I like to think I have enough of everything.

There was a time when I focused only on what I didn’t have; I was very unhappy. I would look at other people and wish I had what they had, whether it was a new car, a big house, more than enough money, or just plain being happy. Over the years, I came to the realization that I was just making myself miserable by comparing my life to anyone else’s. I used to be resentful when someone else got their dream job, their perfect mate, a beautiful home.

Eventually I realized I was making myself ill with resentment, literally. I suffered severe depression as a young adult.


Over a period of time, I changed my attitude. It didn’t happen overnight; I didn’t wake up one morning with a new way of thinking. And there are still times when I catch myself feeling a little bit jealous. But I have discovered I am genuinely happy when good things happen to my friends. And even though times are hard, I have enough money to pay for what I need. I am content with my life.

I have been called a ‘pollyanna’ by some who don’t understand that a positive attitude can make all the difference to how your day goes. Bad things still happen: I have car problems; things go wrong at work or at home; but I don’t wallow in what I call the ‘why me?’ frame of mind as I once used to do. My car breaks down? At least I have a car. Someone at work does something stupid? At least I have a job. Something breaks down at home? At least I have a place to live.

I have dear friends in my life, a partner to share my life with, and two furry children who make me laugh.

I feel so blessed to have such abundance in my life.

Do-over

There are no do-overs in this life. What is in the past is done. But it is hard to leave it there. Decisions we have made long ago can still haunt us; and we may still be feeling the repercussions today. We don’t have to live in the past. It can sometimes be useful to remember things that happened; but to dwell on them is counter-productive. So how can we get out of the cycle of living in the past?

Live today as today. We only have one chance to make today count. Once today is gone, it can never be recaptured. To try to hold on to today is futile. We can only live today to the best of our ability and go forward from here. This isn’t to say that we can’t plan for the future. We can. It’s important to be flexible, though. Setting small goals is much more manageable than setting some grandiose goal for some point in the future and than getting frustrated because it isn’t getting here fast enough.

So even though there are no do-overs, we can still live from today forward. Was today a total bust? Start again tomorrow. We can’t go back and change the past, but we can resolve to do better in the future, one day at a time.

Giving Thanks Part 2

Thanksgiving is over, but that doesn’t mean we can stop giving thanks. There is so much to be thankful for, even if you can’t see it right now.

I can remember one of the darkest periods in my life: I had moved to a new place by myself and was recently divorced. For a period of about 2 months, I felt totally alone, depressed, had nobody to discuss things with. I became withdrawn, didn’t go out except to walk the dog and shop for groceries. Gradually, I began to notice my surroundings and began to appreciate where I was. I began a gratitude journal and resolved I would find at least 3 things every day to be thankful for. At first, it was so difficult to find even one. But with practice, I found much more than 3 things every day; some days I had a hard time picking only 3. And so on to today.

I still have so much to be thankful for; even things that seem negative at the time. Yes, there are days where it is difficult to find one thing to be grateful for, but when I persist, the grace begins to pour.