After spending a wonderful weekend with my amazing and far-flung family, I flew home and realized the bliss I had so thoroughly been enjoying was over and I didn’t know when it would come again. I got up the next day and went to work as usual. It turned into a terrible day.
I was unmotivated, frustrated, and full of anger at how I saw my life at the moment.
The day proceeded as you might expect. Loads of work. Late train. Terrible traffic. Incredibly hot. And a long list of tasks that I wanted to get done but had no energy to accomplish.
I went to bed having gotten nothing done and got up with the same simmering attitude.
It took me a couple days to finally step out of my continuous anger fest and admit I was becoming rather destructive.
In just two days I had successfully put my closest relationships on edge and twisted myself up into a pathetic ball of irritability. Has this happened to you? I imagine every human being has had a bad day or week or weeks.
The question is, how do we get ourselves out of these ruts?
Having just been through this I will share what worked for me. It just might work for you too. Actually, I know it will.
First, realize what is going on. I understood I was in a bad place but in an awful way I was ok with it. I felt like I should allow myself to be irrational.
It is so easy to just let ourselves feel the annoyance and let it build into anger. But there is nothing beneficial gained from allowing that anger to build in the mind. A mind on edge is a body on edge.
The most common symptoms of an Angry Day are headache, anxiety, food cravings, impatience, and tense human interactions. I experienced all of these. That is a lot to go through in just a couple of days. Logically, I knew if I allowed myself to remain in this state I would soon become physically ill and burdened with a sad outlook on life.
I knew I was discontent but why? What was the trigger? I didn’t even realize what was going on in my head. I was suddenly in a miserable place and I let it spiral into a nasty mindset.
It is important to take time to sit and listen to those thoughts. I forced myself to sit quietly and listen to all the angry, sad, and somewhat crazy things my mind was saying. I had to dig deep and look for the thoughts that were causing me discomfort and ask why.
Finding the trigger thought will allow you to focus on it and change your reaction to it.
Once I had listened and discovered the thoughts that had dragged me into this mess I broke them down to their very essence. Changing my perspective of the trigger thoughts moved me into the driver’s seat. I was no longer a victim. I could now change my mind and approach these worries, fears, and annoyances differently.
That is a long first step but it is absolutely essential to recovery. Getting over a bad attitude is only possible if you truly know what has caused it. If you don’t address the trigger thoughts they will come back and that Angry Day will return.
Second, get back into a balanced routine. Traveling and coming back home with the stress of work on my mind had successfully broken my healthy habits. I had neglected my yoga practice, and made poor food choices.
I didn't feel like unrolling my yoga mat but I fought the urge to sit and stare at the TV. I created a playlist and unrolled the mat. That first breath is always the hardest but then everything started to flow. Working through those tight muscles helped me work through those difficult attitudes.
Whatever your routine is get back into it. Do the physical activity you enjoy - every day! Physical activity aids your body in producing all the good hormones. This will help move you through that angry mindset.
A balanced routine also includes eating the right foods. Eating highly processed foods will only feed the angry mindset.
Don’t believe it? Try eating a piece of pizza (I’m not talking about homemade veggieful pizza) when you’re in a rut. It may seem like that is what you want because it is your form of comfort food but do you actually feel better now that you've eaten it? Rarely. One piece of pizza will soon turn to a whole pizza or two because it is not satisfying the mental and physical need for resolution.
Another example would be when the love of your life has chosen to end the relationship you've been so carefully tending to - or not - and you sit on the sofa and eat a bucket of ice cream. It is what you think you deserve and you believe it will make you feel better. I have never felt better after doing that. I’m usually just as upset but now also sluggish and annoyed with my choice.
So, you get it. The processed, sugary, salty, product that pretends to be food is not what you want when you’re in recovery mode.
This is probably the simplest of the steps but for a majority of us it seems the hardest. What I have to do is remove everything from the kitchen that tempts me. I replace it with only healthy options that will also force me to be creative. My favorite recovery dish has become kale chips with Nutritional Yeast sprinkled on top. Delicious!
Third, take a day off and do nothing. NOT! Don’t do that. Seriously! It is typically the first thing suggested when you’re in a rut and trying to climb out - just take a day off and do nothing. While this tactic can be beneficial for some things, I don’t suggest it for overcoming Angry Days.
Instead, you need to do what is on your to do list. Let me rephrase that because some of us have to do lists that are longer than Rapunzel’s hair. Pick something you really want to get done, something that has been sitting in your brain nagging you to remember to do it. Write down the steps you need to accomplish it and do them.
Getting things done and being productive on your own terms is empowering and will boost you back to positive action.
My favorite and most empowering task is almost always to clean the bathroom. That may seem silly and perhaps your bathroom never gets dirty. Mine does. This is a love/hate task. I dislike that it needs to be done but I love having a sparkling bathroom. Instant gratification!
And that is it. Do these three steps and appreciate the many wonderful things in life.
1. Recognize the thoughts and change them.
2. Bring back the balance.
3. Get it done.
For some, these steps will be easy and for others they will be very difficult but, for whichever category you find yourself in, if you stick with them and do them mindfully you will recover from the Angry Day.
Angry Days happen but instead of letting them take over our lives use these tools to address them. Take action to change your mindset and change your life.
Will you be trying these tips? What works for you to get over an Angry Day? Leave your comments below!