When you feel your stress levels rise and your emotions reach their peak, cursing someone out seems like the only way to relieve your anger. True, shouting and cursing the world (or just the person who wronged you) can feel cathartic, but often only at the moment. When the feeling of euphoria has died down, that’s when you might start to feel regret and see the consequences of your outburst.
Anger is a legitimate and healthy emotion to have. We experience it often throughout our lives. More importantly, anger isn’t necessarily a negative emotion as some people may lead you to believe. Expressing your anger can lead to positive mental and physical changes.
3 Common and Negative Ways People Deal With Anger
While all of us feel anger, what matters is how we express our anger.
This is a common reaction of people with a short fuse — they react explosively and let the cause of their emotion feel the brunt of their anger. Sometimes, even the people around them who are trying to diffuse the situation can get caught up in their outbursts.
Erupting like this can lead to scary, inappropriate, or even fatal consequences. Even if you don’t harm them physically, the psychological and emotional scars can be irreparable.
Conceal, but Feel
Swallowing your anger may seem like a good thing. After all, you’re being the “bigger person” in the situation. However, appearing calm and collected on the outside while still feeling all of your anger and other emotions inside can be destructive for your mental and physical well-being.
There’s only so much of any emotion that a person can keep bottled up. As your anger eats away at you inside, it can disrupt your body’s immune function, stress response, and even cause depression.
Being passive-aggressive seems like a good balance between the first two options. You keep a mild front, feel the anger inside, but find sly and indirect ways to let it out.
A sarcastic comment here, some nitpicking there, maybe a sneaky little backhanded compliment there — all of these feel satisfying, but too much can negatively affect your relationships with others.
Expressing anger positively is an essential life skill. So when you feel your anger rise and are on the verge of cursing someone to high heavens, here are some ways to remain classy, dignified, and just better than them.
Take a Hike
Not literally, though. Then again, doing it literally might help, too.
What’s important is to distance yourself from what is happening. This can be physically or just mentally. Whether it takes ten seconds, 10 minutes, or 10 hours — do it.
Let your brain catch up to all your emotions and process them. Give yourself time to cool down, think more rationally, and strategize a perfect retaliation.
Physical activity is always a good response to anger and other triggering emotions. Make sure the method you choose to let out your anger doesn’t get you or someone else hospitalized, though. Hit the gym and start boxing or cycling your anger away.
You can also go with a less sweaty way of expressing your anger physically. Recording your feelings in a journal or writing a revenge email (that you wouldn’t and shouldn’t send) still have physical aspects. Moreover, putting down your emotions in writing may let you see from an outsider’s perspective.
Find Someone Who’ll Listen
Trying to imagine yourself as an outsider observing the situation may not always work, particularly if you’re too deep or emotionally compromised.
Finding someone you can talk to gives you an outsider’s perspective. Choose someone who cares about you but is also willing to call you out on bad behavior. Talking through your feelings and the events that happened is a healthy way of processing.
Once you start shouting and ranting, you’re only setting yourself up for a loss. In the heat of the moment, the person you’re angry with is unlikely to listen or consider their actions as well.
Don’t Give Empty Threats
If the situation is extremely bad and you feel like there’s no appropriate response but if you plan on cutting the person out of your life, make sure you fully mean it. Don’t go around giving empty threats in the heat of the moment.
If the person is someone important to you and they call your bluff, you might end up hurting yourself more in the process.
“Think before you act” is a mantra you should always follow, especially when angry. Make sure you’re prepared for any possible consequences of what you say.
Shut the Front Door
When you reach your boiling point, even after taking the time to cool down and positively process everything, just leave. Stop engaging them. Stop listening to any excuse or explanation they may offer. Go low to no contact and prioritize taking care of yourself, instead.
Walk out with your head held high and live your life happily and successfully. As cliche, as it may sound, “Living well, is the best revenge.”