Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Anger management, stress management, life management

In case the title doesn't give it away, I've had a lot on my mind and a lot on my plate lately. I'm pretty sure I'm having a quarter-life crisis, which seems fitting, considering my 25th birthday is actually tomorrow. (And I started this blog when I was 19!)

My Thought Catalog editor Kendra Syrdal recently wrote something about anger that really resonated with me. It was powerful and timely because I've been struggling to keep my own anger under control lately. I've become slightly more volatile in my day-to-day life, and I believe it is largely because I am neglecting parts of myself that need attention. It's easier to just lash out at the closest thing causing me the slightest bit of stress, whether it be a cheap ice cream scooper or a lazy coworker, than it is to slow down and ask myself where my anger is really coming from. Usually, it ends up having nothing to do with whatever it's being directed towards.

Rambling aside, I wanted to share a little bit of Kendra's post for anyone who may be having the same problem.  

"Anger is an easy emotion. Anger is a lot like love, hunger or fear. It's impulsive, it happens fast, it's easily accessible, it's one of those feelings that is palpable and tangible and we feel like we can and should reach out and grab it with both hands. Anger though, isn't the most rational of our feelings. Anger often steamrolls things like rational, empathy or tact. Which are necessary! Anger - is not.

I was a very angry person for a long, long time. Like stupidly angry. And I was always even angrier when I felt like I wasn't being heard. But one day I realized, people don't like to listen when you're yelling. So I took a step back. I calmed down. I learned to manage my anger. And then, when my heart rate dropped and my blood pressure leveled out, if I still wanted to say something, I would approach it levelly. With reason. With facts. With a discussion in mind.

And you know what happened?

I started being able to change people's minds. I started seeing humanity. I found common ground. Or, at the very least, I had discussions instead of fights. And discussions go places and end up with thoughts and notions and things that resonate. Fights just end with bruises and hurt feelings and two people who resent each other in the long run." 

I love that. It's so universal and so true. I've always been ashamed of my anger and viewed it as a highly negative emotion. But like any other emotion, it is valid. It's nothing to be ashamed of as long as you react to it in a healthy, constructive way. And even still, we all slip up from time to time. You have to forgive yourself. 

I'm at what I believe to be a critical point in my life right now, which is why I've been experiencing this onslaught of heavy emotions like anger, stress, anxiety and sadness. I want to do the right things, and sometimes we have no way of knowing what's right or wrong until we take the risks and see for ourselves. 

I want to wake up every morning with a sense of purpose and passion. I want to believe that at any time, I can make the choice to do what feels right to me - to do what I want without feeling as though I've committed a crime. 

But I, like most people, am responsible for a lot of things now. I have more to worry about than just myself. And maybe that's why I'm so angry. Maybe that's why I'm so stressed. 

I don't have a suitable conclusion for this hodge podge of words and thoughts. All I know is that something needs to change. And maybe that something is me.   

<3 Madison 

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