Tip #106: Look for the silver lining, even when it seems impossible.
The Why: Before I begin this post, I just want to add a little note that I get angry very rarely, as the following makes me sound a bit like the Hulk.
When you have anxiety, there are times where you feel frustrated. More than frustrated. Angry. More than angry. Furious.
It seems so unfair. You question why this horrible thing is happening to you. You feel an uncontrollable rage bubble up inside of you when you have a setback or relapse. You feel trapped with worry and fear that you may never get over it.
This is the lesser known side of anxiety. The side that most people never speak about.
You can end up taking out this anger at those closest to you. I know that if I’m going through an episode of increased panic, I have a tendency to snap at people, to be short with people. Simply because I’m just so frustrated that my mind is holding me back from so much that I want.
Frustrated that I can’t just be normal.
You see people who walk around so happy, so joyful, without the chains of anxiety or a mental illness and can’t help but feel jealous.
This can make you feel worse. You then feel anxious at the fact that you may have hurt someone or made someone else feel bad. That then they’re going to be angry at you.
It’s an awful cycle.
I think people talk about these feelings less because anger is an ugly emotion, it makes us seem like we’ve got this dark side. We get worried that saying we have these feelings out loud will push people away even more.
But fear not, dear reader, these emotions are perfectly normal. It’s hard not to feel angry at your mind, considering what it’s putting you through.
But, here are five things that have helped me overcome my anger when it comes to my anxiety.
Number One – Count To Ten
This is a pretty basic tactic. But it really does help. Next time you feel your blood boiling with rage or frustration, take ten large deep breaths.
Did you know that apparently the hormone that causes anger only lasts in the body for ten seconds? So after that time has elapsed, if you’re still angry, it’s in your control to stop that emotion.
If you can get through those initial ten seconds, you can get through the rest of it.
Taking ten deep breaths will not only calm you down, but it will also give your mind something to concentrate on that isn’t vengeful thoughts that include a possible self-lobotomy or ripping your amygdala out.
Number Two – Tense Your Muscles
This one is a really useful tip. The hormone in your body that causes your anger to swell can stick around if it has no outlet.
So, next time you feel like you’re in a fit of rage and are about to turn into the Incredible Hulk, tense all the muscles in your body, giving your anger a quick outlet.
Tense, squeeze then relax.
Number Three – Find An Activity That You Can Take Your Anger Out On
This one is less short-term and more of a long-term way to deal with your anger.
Finding an activity that you can really push yourself in, that you can let all your rage out on, is one of the best ways to keep yourself sane, and from taking it out on other people.
Anger is like a volcano. If you bottle it up, eventually it will explode and erupt and take out an entire Roman city with it. It needs to be let out in a safe environment.
Some people take up sports like boxing or martial arts for this very purpose. You can let all of your frustration out on a big hanging red thing, rather than keeping your emotions bottled up inside.
For me, whenever I feel like I’m feeling too angry, I drop to the floor and do push-ups until I can’t feel my arms. Which is usually after about ten seconds, but it’s still a good outlet.
Number Four – Tell People When You Need Some Space
This one is less physical and more mental.
When I am in a particularly bad mood, I tell the person I’m with that I need some space, and that she should leave me be until I’ve calmed down.
Just letting people know what to expect, or that you need some you time is a really valuable thing. It means that you don’t end up suddenly springing the worst on them when they ask you to wash up.
It’s a perfectly valid thing to ask for, and it’s okay to take the space you need to chill out, relax and cool off.
Number Five – Look For The Silver Lining Somehow
This one can sometimes seem impossible. Or at least, very difficult to do.
In fact, it took me months before I finally began to see the silver linings that anxiety could bring to my life.
It’s not so much that I would recommend having anxiety to anyone, or that I’m saying having anxiety is a good thing, but a big part of dealing with the anger that comes with it is accepting the cards you’ve been dealt, and learning how to make the best of them.
For me, I think that my anxiety has pushed me to become a more brave and fearless person. It means that I have to challenge myself, to go outside of my comfort zone, to do things that I wouldn’t ever dream of doing, because I know it’s the only way I’m going to get better.
Anxiety has also made me a more compassionate and kind person. When other people are suffering, I will do all I can to help them. To ensure that no one ever feels the way I have.
Anxiety has also made me stronger. I know that once I finally get over this, once I’m finally free, I’ll know I’ll be able to get through anything.
Anxiety also led me to start this blog, which I hope has helped and is helping people from across the globe. As cliche as it sounds, even if I help a handful of people get through this hard and difficult time in their lives, I think it will all have been worth it.
Sometimes really, really bad things happen to us, with no reason or explanation. It can take us years to finally see the positive impact that it could have possibly have, when while it’s happening it seems too dark and too hopeless.
But you have to give meaning to suffering, you have to give silver linings to dark clouds, you have to find a way to accept the sometimes crappy hand you’ve been dealt. It’s the only way we can survive. It’s the only way we can keep going.
But just know this, dear reader, one day you’re going to be fine. One day you’re going to get over this. One day everything is going to fall into place, and make you wonder how you ever doubted yourself. That day is coming. That day is worth going through it for. That day is worth fighting for.