5 Tips for Letting Go of Anger

April 20, 2012

in Life Lessons, Parenting, Song of the Week

anger As I was upstairs getting ready to leave for baseball practice yesterday, I heard a commotion on the first floor. There was yelling, door slamming, and  sobbing. As I started down the stairs I saw my daughter with her face scrunched up in an evil look and my son, suited up for practice, sitting on the stairs crying. Both began to tell me the story simultaneously with the truth somewhere in the middle of what was being shared.

We could either be late for practice so we could discuss or a resolution could wait until we returned. My son did not seem capable of calming down and having a discussion in his current state so I chose the latter. Separating the two and cooling off was the thing needed most.

The moment the doors to the car were closed, Monkey started telling me all about what his sister did to him. I reminded him of something we discuss often. You can’t control what someone does or says; you can only control your reaction to it. Then I asked, “Are you going to allow her to rob you of happiness at this moment? If so, you are choosing to allow her to have that if you continue to be this angry over the situation.”

Through newly forming tears he responded, “But mom, sometimes I just can’t let it go.”

He’s right of course. Sometimes we can’t just let it go. Something someone has done or said to us wounds on such a level that we lose control of the situation. Maybe we lash out with words. Or possibly we can’t stop feeling sad. Whatever the reaction, we feel powerless.

But are we truly powerless?

I started by telling Monkey he is right; sometimes it is hard to let something go and that is okay because we are not supposed to be perfect. But since it doesn’t feel good, feeling powerless over an emotion, there are things we can do that will help us gain that control and feel more at peace. It might not happen right away, but these ideas can help us move in the right direction emotionally.

We then spent the rest of the drive making up a list of ideas. Here’s what we came up with:

5 Ways to Let Go of Anger 

  1. Exercise–this helps our body and mind.
  2. Read–a great way to put your mind somewhere else.
  3. Playwater gun and water ballon fights definitely help you laugh and forget your troubles!
  4. Talk–discussing the feelings is always helpful to gain a new perspective.
  5. Laugh–this might be more difficult to do when you are angry, but calling a funny friend for some comic relief is therapeutic.

After a 2 1/2 hour practice, my son didn’t even remember he was mad at his sister when we returned. I also noticed my daughter was trying hard to be kind to him. It was probably simply the space from each other that brought about the change. Regardless of how peace was reached in my home last night, I am happy we now have this list to refer to when anger strikes and one of us can’t let it go. Having tools to cope in all that comes our way in life is essential. After love, I hope I am giving my kids many important life skills.

~~~~~

It’s not on the list Monkey and I created, but of course music can certainly help calm emotions (or evoke them–depending upon what you are listening to). For Song of the Week you can thank my friend Lance Burson for providing the inspiration. It’s a fun song to start off the weekend. Here’s Third Eye Blind with “Never Let You Go.”


{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Brett Minor April 20, 2012 at 4:34 pm

This is something that just comes naturally for me. I’m not trying to brag about it, it is not anything that I have overcome, so I have accomplished nothing. Because of this, I am of little help when trying to help someone else to calm down or get over something, because I cannot relate.

Thank you for this list. It will be helpful when speaking with my kid about this issue. (The other kid is like me. She just never gets upset.)
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Corey Feldman April 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm

For me writing has helped tremendously.
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Naked Girl in a Dress April 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Writing helps me too Corey. I am glad you have the outlet.

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Lance April 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm

You’re welcome and good post. I need all of these tips.
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Naked Girl in a Dress April 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Oh, I doubt you need all these tips Lance! You seem like a laid back guy, but maybe that is just your internet persona. :)

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Jennifer April 20, 2012 at 6:57 pm

This is a very helpful topic! My daughter was really angry yesterday and wanted to run away rather than talk about her feelings. We ended up talking and mid-conversation our dog did something funny and we both ended up laughing…poof! Totally broke the tension. Love these suggestions!
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Naked Girl in a Dress April 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I am glad you enjoyed the posts and find the suggestions helpful. Thank you for sharing the story about your daughter too.

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MaryD April 21, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Came by at Nikki’s request.

I sometimes do a listable merits if I am upset with a certain person. I tend to remember rather good things when I do that. Takes the edge way off.

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Naked Girl in a Dress April 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Thanks for visiting Mary D!

That is a great idea to write out a list of positive traits a person possess when angry. I love that idea.

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Meredith P. April 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Wonderful post Kelly!

Up until recently (in the past several months), I had always had a big problem with letting go of my anger. I’ve already put a lot of what you have suggested to work in my life and it has really helped me realize that staying angry is a horrible waste of time, energy, and to never do it again.

Admittedly, there are times when it is harder than others to let go, but when you do it feels great! :)
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Naked Girl in a Dress April 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Thank you Meredith. I am glad you are happy with your own progress. It is liberating to shed the anger, isn’t it?

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Kimber April 22, 2012 at 4:13 pm

This is a great list. Glad your kids were able to make peace with each other again! :)
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Naked Girl in a Dress April 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I was happy too Kimber. Bickering kids is never fun!

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kim April 23, 2012 at 11:58 am

I love this post. I particularly like the idea of playing as a way to let go of anger. I can admit to that having worked in the past. Sometimes a distraction from the momentary rage is all I need to refocus.
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Naked Girl in a Dress April 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm

It is so important to focus on something else when the anger rises and won’t seem to subside. Another reader commented she and her daughter were fighting and unexpectedly found themselves laughing over something unrelated; it was the cure they both needed.

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Tina L. Hook April 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Following over from Cyber House Rules today. This is something I say often in my own life, “You can’t control what someone does or says; you can only control your reaction to it.” Words to live by.

#1 on your list has always served me well.
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Naked Girl in a Dress April 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Thanks for visiting Tina. I am so happy you found me from her blog.

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Robert April 25, 2012 at 5:28 am

In my case, exercise the most effective way of letting go of my anger. Maybe an hour of playing hoops will do the trick.
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Naked Girl in a Dress April 25, 2012 at 11:45 am

Running helps me Robert.

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Classic NYer May 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I’ve noticed that if I make a joke while someone is yelling at me, it will just make them more angry. And then I’ll be all “what? I was trying to lighten the situation!”

Same for my husband if I kiss him while he’s yelling at me. Then he’ll be mad at me for not letting him be mad. Usually that anger is a little easier to let go of than whatever he was yelling at me for, though.
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Naked Girl in a Dress May 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm

I was in an argument with a boyfriend several years ago. He was angry and arguing his point. There was a moment I could disengage, realizing how much I loved him. I was able to just lose the fight in me. He of course didn’t know. I had a water bottle in my hand. Opening the bottle, I dumped the water on him. He started laughing and, well, clothes started to come off. It was the best moment diffusing an argument ever.

He turned out to be the Antichrist.

But the moment was awesome.

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