Dealing With Your Anger (Part One)

Getting angry is easy, but dealing with its effects can be anything but that. When you get angry your breathing becomes more rapid, your heart rate increases, your muscles tense up, and you narrow in on whatever provoked your anger. Whether you were cut off in traffic, yelled at by your boss, or talked down to by your spouse or friend, the effects of one episode of anger can last for a long period of time even after the situation is over that caused the anger to surface.

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If you deal with frequent anger, you know what it is like to lose control. It feels good in the moment and it seems as if you have to get it out or it will continue to build until you lose it. People around you, whether they be close friends or family, all know too well what you are like when you get pissed off. Maybe some people walk on eggshells around you because they have been hurt by your outbursts in the past while other less familiar people may know you as the over-passionate person who always seems to be irritated or worked up about something. If you are a boss, there is almost a guarantee your employees are atrophying from your constant frustration, and if you are in a relationship, your significant other is bound to be hurt by your lack of control and painful remarks.

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Anger in Relationships

Uncontrolled anger puts you in an ironic predicament of attempting to gain control by losing it. At times, it can seem to be working, but over time, after consistent outbursts, it does just the opposite. Yelling at your employees to get things done works at first. Soon though, they will either shrivel from fear of your temper, which can cripple their ability to get things done, or leave the company hoping to find a boss who doesn’t blow up on them every chance they get. Within the context of a relationship with a significant other, things aren’t much different. Depending upon the spouse, they may shrivel in fear or match your anger with their own. Regardless, over time, there will be a lack of intimacy and connection, leading to drifting apart, which can feel like living with a stranger.

Relevant Reading:

https://revivecounsel.com/making-marriage-last/

Anger Underneath The Surface

Anger isn’t what it seems on the surface. Underneath the raised voice and red face is oftentimes a lack of support and fulfillment. The angry boss and spouse long for support and connection, and when they don’t get it, they lash out, attempting to control people or situations to get that support. Whether that’s projects done on time or the chores done around the house, it is all an attempt at connection and support. The angry boss has his own boss, who demands results, and he needs his employees to perform or he will get into serious trouble. So when he asks his employees to get things done, and they don’t, it seems like a personal attack and he becomes angry. The same goes for the angry spouse. They ask for the chores to be done because when they weren’t done before mom or dad got home growing up, they were punished or ridiculed.

So now a messy house brings up feelings of anxiety and whenever their significant other refuses to do chores, it seems like they don’t care about them or how they feel.

What Now?

Anger is not simple. It is layered and can exist on the surface of deep hurt and pain. Usually, the stronger and more pervasive the anger, the deeper and more complex the hurt and pain is right below it. We long for connection and support, and the more we continue to face rejection and unmet needs, the more we become defensive to protect ourselves from the vulnerable place of being hurt over and over. That protection and defense can be anger.

Luckily, there is hope. Anger does not have to be something that overpowers you in the moment. Instead, if you make some adjustments, it becomes a great ally. Part two of this blog explores some tips for dealing with your anger and harness its usefulness as your great ally.

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The Cost Of Perfection

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When life gives a perfectionist lemon, they make lemonade alright. In fact, they make lemonade muddled with mint, mixed with pure cane sugar, stirred but not shaken, served over seven ice cubes, and garnished with a lemon twist and one lemon wedge on the edge of the glass.

The good news is that it will probably be a great glass of lemonade. The bad news is that if someone points out that they missed a step or added too much sugar, it could lead to intense stress and maybe even thoughts of “I’m not good enough” or “Everyone thinks I’m a failure”.

 

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Making the best glass of lemonade probably is not the largest concern for most of us. It is more likely that we are worried about being the best employee, student, spouse, or parent. For the perfectionist, it can be all of these. Wanting to be a great employee, student, spouse, or parent is a wonderful thing.

The problem comes whenever the perfectionist makes a mistake, such as making a B on a paper, forgetting to grab an item at the grocery store, missing an error on a report at work, or forgetting that your kid was supposed to be at basketball practice yesterday, which can be enough to cause significant stress, fear of failure, or anxiety for the perfectionist.

The anxiety can spiral into thoughts like “I’m such a failure”, “I’m useless,” or “I can’t do anything right.” Sometimes these thoughts do not go away and stick around for a while. When they do, it is not surprising to see more anxiety or depression begin to surface.

The cost of being perfect is not limited to the perfectionist. Not only is perfectionism responsible for suffering in their life, but others, such as their spouse, friends, family, co-workers, or subordinates can experience similar struggles. Since a perfectionist is very critical of their own performance, they can be equally critical of others. Therefore, they expect perfection not only from themselves but from most people around them. If they have to put so much work into everything that they do, why should anyone else be off the hook? Unfortunately, holding others to this impossible level of performance can lead to the same intense stress that the perfectionist deals with on a daily basis. This stress can create wedges in their relationships, which can either drain the other person or push them away. This is unfortunate because a huge factor in relieving the perfectionist’s stress is positive and supporting relationships. When the very support they need is taken away, they are left to deal with their feelings of anxiety or depression all on their own.

The cost of being perfect adds up, and the bill only gets more costly with time. If you have suffered from the perils that come with having to be perfect, I hope that you find healing. The good news is that there are ways to deal with these impossible expectations and the feelings that come along with them. An important one is to extend grace to yourself and accept yourself for who you are, mistakes and all. The road to self-acceptance can be a long and windy one, but the reward is well worth the travel.

Recommended Reading:

https://revivecounsel.com/importance-of-self-care-why-caring-for-yourself-is-caring-for-all/

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4 Ways To Navigate The Depression Fog

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Dealing with depression isn’t easy. Approximately 1 in 10 Americans reports suffering from depression which means over 32 million people in the US report having depression.

It can be one of the most crippling psychological problems to deal with. At its worst, depression can keep you in bed running thoughts through your mind like “What’s the point in living anymore?” or “No one will care if I’m gone, so why should I continue living with this pain?” At its best, it can steal joyful moments away from you leaving you with little motivation throughout the day.

Navigating depression is difficult, but there is hope although it may seem impossible to grasp. Luckily there are ways to deal with depression and escape the painful grip of its symptoms.

 

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1. Give Yourself Permission to Feel

One of the most challenging parts of depression is that you can begin to turn on yourself. Sometimes it can feel like you are being a drag for no reason. Maybe you have more than most people and you still aren’t satisfied. Maybe you feel like you will never be enough. Maybe you live in fear of being exposed as a failure. What the heck is the matter with you?

Well, you’re depressed. Depression is hard for any person to deal with. Some of the strongest and most confident people I know have struggled with severe depression for long periods of time. To feel bad about feeling bad leads to a cycle that can get worse with time. By allowing yourself to feel things like sadness, loneliness, and discouragement you are giving yourself permission to be human. Those feelings are helpful and used to signal the need for connection and support.

The more a person denies the feelings of depression, the longer it takes to realize that they can use help and support. The longer it takes to realize that you can use support, the longer you are stuck in the cycle of depression.

 

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2. Get Out and Eat Right

Get out of the house. There is growing research that supports exercising at least 20 – 30 minutes a day can significantly reduce depressive symptoms.

Some research suggests that exercise has comparable effects to reducing depressive symptoms as depression medications. Exercise is a great way to fight depression, but getting out of the house in general, whether it be hanging out with friends or taking a walk around the park, can help keep depressive symptoms at bay.

Not only will getting exercise help with fighting depression, but so will eating right. Staying away from foods that are processed and high in fat can help you avoid feeling sluggish or suffering from the crash that comes from eating refined sugars.

Relevant Reading:

https://revivecounsel.com/importance-of-self-care-why-caring-for-yourself-is-caring-for-all/

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3. Make Connections and Establish Support

Another difficult part of depression is feeling alone. No matter how many people you interact with in a day, you can still feel like no one is there for you. It can seem as if no one can understand what you are going through, or worse, no one cares to understand. Ironically, even if you do have people in your life who care, because of the depression, you push them away which leaves you feeling more isolated and depressed.

Making attempts at pushing through the feelings of isolation and connecting with a few people can help tremendously. It is important to share your feelings of depression with people you trust. If you are not used to sharing your feelings, pick one person that you trust and share with them a summary (maybe two to three sentences) of how you are feeling. You might be surprised by their response. I wouldn’t expect immediate relief from the depressive symptoms, but over time, as you build more trust with someone and allow yourself to share more, healing happens.

 

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4. Seek a Professional

If you have been dealing with depression for a while now and feel like you are just spinning your wheels trying to find relief from your depression, then seek out professional help. Therapists are trained to help people who struggle with depression. They go through years of training, and some have years of experience in helping people journey through their depression to find hope and healing. One of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself is therapy when struggling with something as difficult as depression.

Depression is incredibly painful, but there is hope. Fighting depression involves using every bit of energy that you have. Some ways of fighting depression are easier than others. Picking out healthy food at a grocery store is certainly easier than running a few miles or trying to grow relationships, but eating well is a step in the right direction. Every step towards fighting depression matters no matter how small or large the step. Keep pushing forward.

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