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Mindful : February 2015
It’s amazing how often the little things in life cause us to blow our top—which is rarely constructive. Once an angry outburst is unleashed, it’s hard to get things back in perspective, and now you have to put the pieces back together. Anger isn’t a bad thing. It’s a necessary emotion. But letting it run wild is no fun either. Here’s a little toolkit of tactics and preventive measures to keep anger from messing up your life. Defusing Anger 1 Recognize the warning signs that you’re getting ticked off Do you notice rising irrita- tion, a sense of frustration, increase in your breathing rate, or a quickening pulse? Take a moment to get things in perspective and explore your feelings. Breathe mindfully for a few breaths as you notice your body sensations change. Lis- ten for your thoughts without adding to the inner dialogue, or trying to silence them. What are your thoughts say- ing? It ca n take some patience to stick with the unpleasant feelings, but remind yourself to come back to obser ving the anger with self-compassion and discover what your a nger has to teach you. 2 Know this: You have choices Acknowledge that in many situations your only choice is how you react. During challenging times, remind yourself: “I have a choice here,” and choose not to waste your time wallowing in negative emotions. 3 Meditate! Meditation slows down the heart rate, lowers blood pres- sure, reduces anxiety, and, as a result, relieves stress. In one trial participants in an eight- week mindfulness meditation stress-reduction program experienced sig nificant reductions in reported daily irritation (24%) and psycho- logical distress (44%), and the benefits were ma intained three months later. 4 Eat! Food can easily wind up low on the priority list, but when blood sugar drops and tum- mies grumble, it’s hard not to get irritable. Even a small snack can make all the dif- ference to your mid-morning meeting. Be good to your body—when you’re physically uncomfortable, your mind ca n’t help but follow. 5 Sleep! No amount of caffeine can replace a good night’s sleep, which is something most of us don’t get often enough. In the long run, insufficient sleep ups our risk of heart disease and diabetes. In the short term, we become groggy, foggy, a nd downright unpleasa nt to be a round. When our minds aren’t well rested, we’re quicker to anger and slower to see reason. Take time to plan your daily schedule a round a proper night’s sleep. And avoid coffee and alcohol for two to three hours before bedtime. → PHOTOGRAPHS:©SEBRA/DOLLARPHOTOCLUB,COLOURBOX.COM how to live a mindful life 11ways to take time for what matters