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Coping with negative feelings: Anger and Hate
Disasters and crises can bring out the worst in you, if you let yourself carried away by negative feelings. When something bad happens, you tend to blame someone or something for it. God, nature, the government… these are the most common examples.
And it’s only natural to place the blame on someone or something more powerful than you. After all, we’re talking about events you can’t control. But here’s the thing: what starts off as anger directed at the culprit (real or imagined) easily develops into deeper, more dangerous emotions.
For example, you can develop a real obsession that can eat up your time and energy… and even turn you into a whole different person, hateful and superficial. Maybe now you’re thinking: “I could never end up this way”, but I personally know two different people who thought the same before the crisis struck in 2008 and lost everything they had. Now they’re absolutely unrecognizable: depressed, angry and hopeless. They’ve lost the will to fight for a better life. They gave themselves up.
Now, I’m not saying you’re going to go through the same changes, but they did, despite their belief they never would. So maybe it’s best not to take this chance and train your mind to avoid falling into this tricky trap.
It’s not very difficult, once you know a few tricks you can use at the first signs of negative feelings. And I’ll show you every step of the way right now, so close your door, make sure no one bothers you, and pay attention to these techniques only.
Dangerous Feeling #1: Anger
The Air Force Search And Rescue Survival Training defines anger as “a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a real or supposed wrong.”
People usually get angry when they cannot fulfill a need or desire, which makes them frustrated and useless. Anger is a natural feeling that occurs in this sort of situations, but, if not controlled, it can turn into an attitude of hostility and hate. And it’s far more difficult to change an attitude than a temporary emotional reaction.
So here’s what you need to do to prevent this from happening: the moment you start feeling anger burning your chest, try to make it a positive feeling. This means you should direct your negative state of mind into a positive action.
For example, if you’re angry that looters have trashed your yard, use this feeling to reinforce your home defense. “I’ll show them! When I’m done with the place, it’ll be a citadel, not a house! They won’t enter this place not even if they’re Santa Claus coming down the chimney.” See how anger was turned into a constructive action? Use this trick next time you feel angry and write down the results. Keep doing this until it becomes a natural reaction.
Dangerous Feeling #2: Hate
This is one of the most powerful emotions that can take over your mind. Just like love, it can make you act irrational for a long time, without even realising you’re doing something wrong.
And you’re not only hurting yourself by adopting this behaviour, but everyone around you: your family, your friends, your colleagues… Once you get blinded by hate, it’s almost impossible to control it. It speaks for you, it acts for you, it react for you. It becomes you.
But as hard as it may be to change this attitude, there is a way you can keep it under control. An easy one, actually. It takes just 10 minutes a day and it’s also very pleasant. Every night, before you go to sleep, take the time to write down all the reasons why you’re thankful for that day. Remind yourself how much you love your spouse, your kids, how great your friends are, how happy your dog makes you… but don’t forget about the little things: the delicious meal you’ve eaten, the fun you’ve had in the park, the wonderful way sunrays lit your whole room in the morning and whatever else made you smile.
Just enjoy every day to the fullest and don’t get caught up in the pitfalls. Stay safe!
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