The COVID-19 pandemic and associated stress of the last year highlighted the need to take steps to address and care for our mental health. With busy lives and packed schedules, it can be easy to neglect mental health, allowing negative feelings like anger and frustration to become a prominent part of daily life. As we take time this May for Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s also pay attention to some of the factors that can add stress to our lives and how best to combat them.
Dealing With Stress
Anger and frustration typically stem from other feelings such as disappointment, fear, and stress. Those who regularly feel these emotions can have different responses, as managing these feelings can differ significantly. Some navigate stressful events without feeling effects, while others might have more of a short fuse.
The key for all people—regardless of your tolerance for negative emotions—is to reduce them whenever possible. Doing so not only will diminish anger and frustration but lead to better overall health. Of course, that is easier said than done. A survey from Mental Health of America reported that 71% of people felt easily annoyed or irritable at least half of the time or nearly every day.
Tips for Reducing Anger and Frustration
Both of these emotions tend to explode out of a person. Not only are they reacting to a stressor at the moment, but these emotions could be a build-up of the last several hours, days, or even weeks of pent-up emotion.
Here are some of the ways we find most helpful to cope with anger and frustration:
Move to a different location
Anger can make a person feel trapped, so walk away from your current environment and go somewhere else. It could be for a walk outside, a quick drive to a convenience store to get a drink or even another room in your home. Changing your physical location can help improve your state of mind.
Address your anger in a thoughtful way
Anger itself can be a healthy emotion if dealt with properly. It becomes a problem when people bottle up angry feelings, and they spill out all at once. Take time to address the problem and calmly think about or discuss what makes you angry and how it can be addressed in a constructive manner. Don’t be afraid to seek outside help as well.
Take a time out
There is a reason that misbehaving children get taken out of environments when they misbehave. Time away from a situation can help angry feelings decrease or help you get control of your emotions. This can allow you time to categorize your thoughts and find a constructive way to address them.
Eliminate possible stressors
Some of life’s stressors will be unavoidable—traffic isn’t going away any time soon—but there are likely things in your life that can be better managed. Look at what’s causing stress and find positive ways to eliminate or minimize them.
Frustration often comes from expecting one thing to happen and being let down. For some people, that may require them to be more vocal about what they expect in certain situations, like the workplace, or finding ways to set expectations knowing they may not be immediately met without proper communication first.
Physical activity can reduce stress and release endorphins, helping to put you in a better overall mood. Lifting weights, running, or taking part in a group exercise class can all have positive effects. Physical activity can significantly reduce anger while giving your mind and body a chance to reset and reevaluate what makes you mad.
Sometimes anger and frustration comes from things you can’t control. You will feel better, though, if you take more ownership of the things you can have a direct impact on. Take time to organize your home and work and develop a plan to tackle the jobs and tasks weighing over your head. Having a greater sense of control can help your overall mood and reduce anxiety.
Anger and frustration are widespread but can have negative impacts if not adequately addressed. During Mental Health Month, take time to find ways to reduce stress in your life and practice techniques to keep emotions in check. Use this time to create positive habits that you can carry with you the rest of the year, and don’t let anger and frustration run your life.
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