How is your anger level?

Angry with the world?

How is your anger level? Are you easy to anger? When things don’t go right, do you get angry with your partner? The dog? The world? Do you lash out? Say things you don’t mean? Read on for ways to deal with it now.

How is your anger level? Are you angry with the world? Here's how to deal.

While it’s frustrating when the outcome you were hoping for doesn’t happen, or when someone does things you take exception to, anger may be harming you more than the thing you were angry about by making you ill. And your anger may cause irreparable rifts in relationships. If you say something to a person you care about in the heat of the moment, you’ll probably regret it later.

How to deal with feelings of anger

Rather than have to apologize later, here are some ways to deal with your feelings of anger now.

  • The pause that refreshes. Rather than lash out and say something (or worse, punch something) immediately, take a breath and think. Let someone else take the lead and decompress the situation. Or give the individual who’s fermenting your anger an opportunity to think about his or her statement and realize that it may have been inappropriate.
  • Use “I” instead of “you.” If you do address the individual, use statements beginning with “I.” If you start by saying, “I’m upset by your statement,” or “I’m frustrated when …” and give your reasons rationally this may have a much better outcome than if you say, “You’re an idiot for saying something so stupid!” Likewise, avoid absolute words like “never” and “always.” Like, “You never …” or “I always have to …”
  • Resolve, don’t instigate. If there’s a problem and you see a solution that will make sense, offer it. Don’t just point out the problem and expect others to resolve it to your satisfaction. Take charge and you may get the result you want.
  • Be like Elsa. Let anger and frustration go. You may not forget, but be sure to forgive. Life’s too short to hold onto resentment, anger and frustration. You’ll be happier and more at peace.
  • Move. Be sure to exercise. Exercise is definitely the best stress-reliever. It doesn’t matter what form your exercise takes, but be sure you do it. After a good workout, you may be more likely to be calmer and solutions may present themselves.
  • Relax. Take time for you. If you’re rushing all the time, your brain can’t settle itself and figure out what it needs. Just a few minutes a day may be all you need to get your positivity back.

Take a breath

So, even if you see something, hear something or think of something that makes you feel your anger rising, just take a few seconds. Just a few. Think about your reaction. Take a breath. If you still feel angry, think about what you’re going to say that won’t escalate the situation and may, in fact, lead to a resolution.

Here’s the opposite of anger: Happiness!

I’m taking Nike’s slogan

Everyone recognizes Nike’s trademarked slogan, “Just do it!” But it has real meaning for me.

Lots of things I DON’T want to do

There are many things none of us wants to do on any given day. But in order to live with ourselves, we recognize that we just have to buckle down and “do it.” I don’t want to get up, but I have to take the dogs out or I’ll have a wet bed. So I do it. I don’t want to tackle the mess on my desk, but I have to or I won’t be able to find anything. So I’ll do it. I don’t want to face the crowds at the fruit market this afternoon in a mask, but we need stuff so I’ll just do it.

Cook?

I don’t want to actually cook meals, but they’re so much better, healthier and more affordable than anything out of a box or delivered, so I’ll do it. I made a dynamite soup on Saturday with sweet potatoes, chicken and swiss chard (that I should have taken pictures of ) that warmed us up on a raw, miserable day. And it was worth it.

So I remember those things as I stare at the piles on my desk as I write this. Now where’s that receipt from …

Working out

The same applies to working out.

I don’t like to work out. But I do it.

It’s become a habit. 

Samuel Johnson, the famous 18th century literary figure said, “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”

What does that mean? 

Just do it! That applies to exercise.

We do something and do the same thing, and do it over and over again. That thing becomes a habit. And then when we decide to not do it, it’s practically impossible. Not doing that thing creates a hole in ourselves that we are compelled to fill with that thing. Not doing it will leave you with the feeling that something is missing for the rest of the day. 

It takes conscious effort to break a habit. And it’s not easy. It may be easier to develop a habit than to break one. (Not that you’d want to break the habit of exercising.)

So, exercising is a habit. It’s just something I do. Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. It doesn’t matter what I do during my workout. I just do it on those days. Even if I just have 20 minutes to devote to my workout. I make those the best 20 minutes of exercise that I can. But I do it.

Here are 4 ways that exercise can become a habit: http://fitness-over-50.com/2017/05/4-things-to-make-exercise-a-habit/

Focus on what you’re doing

I hate running. But if I focus on my form, I get the maximum benefit in the least amount of time.

I’ve said it before – I don’t like to work out. I hate exercising. I hate getting out of breath and sweaty. I hate running. I hate working my joints when they don’t want to get worked.

But I do it. 

The benefits

I do it because of the benefits I know I’m receiving from exercise. Exercise helps my aging brain hold onto memories, as well as learn new stuff. Exercise helps my bones and muscles stay strong. Exercise helps my endurance. Exercise helps me sleep better.

So I do it. But I don’t have to like it.

Maximize my focus, minimize my time

So when I exercise, I want to make sure that I’m maximizing my time and not work any longer than I have to. So I focus on what I’m doing to make sure that I’m really targeting what I’m supposed to be targeting. 

Years ago, when I went to a health club to exercise I saw women (it was an all-women health club) lift one-pound weights with no attention to form. I saw women mosey on the treadmill while looking at their phones. And I saw women in group classes just going through the motions.

Time to kill? Not me!

I wondered about those women. They must have had so much time on their hands, they could afford to be at the health club for hours at a time and burn fewer calories than I did in my half hour or 40 minutes. (How rude were those women – not giving their all to that instructor? She was giving her all to them! The least  they could do was reciprocate.) But I had to get back to work! I was on a deadline! I had to put my time in on the stair machine or treadmill or rowing machine or free weights, clean up and get back to work. 

And now – I work out at home and I still hate it. But I give my all. If I’m going to devote that much time to something I dislike doing, I’m going to do it well and not feel guilty about it. Going through the motions doesn’t do anyone any good. I’m exercising for a reason so I’ll do it right! 

The secret to success

The secret is to just pay attention. Focus on what you’re doing. If you can’t do a move properly, modify that move to give you maximum benefit now and help you get stronger or more flexible so you are able to do that move the right way at some point in the future. Get the maximum benefit from every exercise you do. From your warmup through the workout to your cool-down.

Sharpen your focus

Everyone exercises for different reasons. Sure, some of them may be similar – like staying fit, losing weight, strengthening muscles. But exercise also helps you in other ways: it helps your brain.

Exercise equals food for the brain

Your focus will improve after you exercise.

As we age, it seems like everything deteriorates. It’s the old “use it or lose it” adage. If we don’t exercise, our muscles become weak and may even atrophy. If we don’t do weight-bearing exercises, our bones become brittle and may break.

Exercise provides oxygen for the brain, but even more, exercise helps our brain in other ways.

A recent study of athletes’ brains showed that they were better at ignoring distracting background noise and better at focusing on the sounds that really mattered to them. The study tested athletes and other participants by attaching electrodes to their scalps and studying the electricity their brains produced when different sounds were introduced. 

Dr. Kate Essad, Lead of Sports Neurology, Director of Concussion Management at Aurora Health Center in Milwaukee, says that “by doing activities like sports, which require habituation of reaction time and integrating many different sensory systems, your brain can function faster and it can perform tasks faster – and probably better.”

“Most neurological conditions, migraine, dementia – all of them are benefitted by regular exercise because the brain requires fresh blood flow and cardiovascular conditioning,” she says. “And all of these conditions are reduced by stimulating your brain. It’s the most important thing for dementia and cognitive decline – things people get when they age.”

Take a focus break

So, if you’re sitting at your desk and have been working away for a couple of hours and your mind starts to wander – you’re losing focus – take a break. Get up and walk for ten minutes. When you get back and start work again, chances are you’ll be able to concentrate better and be much more productive.

Dr. Essad also points out that there are other ways to help your brain too, like reading and writing, learning a new language, or playing a musical instrument.

Everyday things to help your brain

And everyday there are things we can do to make sure our brains age as well as the rest of us:

Get plenty of exercise, practice mindfulness or meditation and make healthy food choices.

Read about how I clear my mind so that it’s able to focus on important stuff.