5 Steps to Let Go of Anger for a Happier Life

Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by Alden Tan

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” ~Albert Einstein

Hi. My name is Alden, and I’m an angry guy. I’m 26 years old.

Anger has always been an issue for me. I hate the feeling of being angry, especially for no particular reason.

It feels like it’s eating me up from the inside out.

It can get so bad sometimes that I can get pissed off while I’m alone in my room, just blogging or surfing the net, whenever a negative thought passes through my head.

Anger makes me feel upset with myself. I wonder why that I, a grown adult, still have to deal with issues that have been around since my high school days.

Am I still as immature as I was then? Why is it so hard to let go?

Some Angry Milestones

These are some of the events that made me angry with life:

My dad passed away when I was 20—from an incurable disease. Someone I grew up with was taken away suddenly. I still feel pissed with the world.

An ex-girlfriend cheated on me—with a guy with a bad reputation. It felt like an insult to me.

A friend who I was very close with betrayed me. He accused me of something he messed up himself. Years of friendship went down the drain. I never felt such disgust for a single person before.

I got punched in the eye once—by this guy in a club. I won’t go into it, but I didn’t think I did anything wrong.

These are only the major events of my life. I also get angry with other things in life, like a late bus or rude people.

Anger has been always one of my greatest challenges. Sometimes it feels like I need to get it all out, once and for all, but I don’t want to end up like some people who act rashly, by getting into fights, for example.

If you’re reading this, you might be like me. You’re very aware of a problem you have and you want a way out of it.

I’m sharing this now because I’ve worked on it for a long time and I hope it can help you do the same.

I can’t say I have it all under perfect control, but I’ve learned a few ways to tame that angry monster inside:

1. Replace a negative thought with an awesome one.

More often than not, it’s a negative thought derived from a bad memory that makes me upset, instantly.

As stated, this is where you should replace the bad thought with an awesome thought.

Don’t even approach the bad thought.

Don’t try to rationalize it.

Don’t even think about it.

The way I see it, any of the above is a passive reaction to the negative thought, hence making you feel the negative feelings that follow, which isn’t helping you at all.

So, replace the negative thought on the spot.

Just think of something you like. It could be a fond memory in the past or something you really want in the future.

I personally like to go crazy with my imagination and come up with amazing scenarios, like when I’m listening to a song I like, I imagine myself singing it in my own music video.

Sometimes distraction is a good approach, if it’s something you’ve already dealt with but keep rehashing in your head. Watch TV, listen to music, read something, or just go out. It helps.

2. Let it all out in cliché manners.

You know something?

The clichés work.

Every tip you can find in blogs, magazines, or the newspaper work.

You just have to apply yourself and try it out.

Screaming onto your pillow actually makes you feel like you released a ton of emotions that are trying to get out.

Writing an angry letter to the person you bear a grudge against allows you to clearly articulate your feelings. Just make sure you don’t send it.

Exercising really helps with anger too. Sweating it out and letting the adrenaline take over your body can clear just about anything.

I know how it is when you feel angry and then listen to advice that you doubt will help your situation. It feels like nobody out there can fully empathize with how you feel, so who are they to talk, right?

I can empathize, and I promise that if you give it a shot, you’ll be surprised with the results.

3. Surround yourself with positive people.

Anger is a personal issue for everyone.

But unfortunately, some people around you cannot fully understand what you go through.

I find that most people feel angry because of their surroundings.

You hang out with supposed friends who make condescending remarks at you, but you don’t think you should do anything about because you don’t want to come across as petty.

You have a really dysfunctional office environment, filled with shady colleagues and a controlling boss.

Do these things sound familiar to you?

The problem is, people think they are “stuck” or they absolutely “must” be with such people because of their circumstances.

I say otherwise.

Make the conscious effort to surround yourself with people you can look up to and talk to. It won’t always be easy—if you need to look for a new job, for example—but it’s worth the time and effort.

Our surroundings influence our mood in a major way. So instead of focusing solely on addressing your inner anger, also address the external factors that trigger it.

4. Make caring for yourself a priority.

I used to be a lot angrier before my dad’s passing.

Sounds contradictory? Continue reading.

You see, as I grew up, I always did the “right thing.”

I never talked back to people who insulted me to my face. I walked away from fights. I held back a lot of my emotions.

But as a result of doing all the “right” things, I went home feeling angry with myself.

When my father died, it just hit me there and then, “I did so much for people around me, and yet this still happened.”

My biggest takeaway from my father’s death was that you have to live life to the fullest, and sometimes, if not all the time, it’s okay to take care of yourself more than anything in this world.

I’ve fallen out with friends who kept insulting me.

I now actively make the choices that suit me, even if others disagree. (For example, I may not even go to a gathering when I know someone I dislike is there.)

I even quit my job to be a full-time blogger, much to the surprise of my friends.

Caring for myself more has allowed me to truly express myself and not hold back any longer. The anger has subsided a lot as I don’t have to look back and ask, “What if?”

Your life is your own. And life is short.

If you feel anger taking control, let it go by caring for yourself. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. It is by being yourself that you can fully realize the life you’re meant to live, and anger has no part in that.

5. Decide you don’t want to add to the hate in this world.

When I feel angry sometimes I have crazy ideas of seeking justice, of finding my wrongdoers and letting them have it once and for all.

But I don’t act on it because I don’t want to add on to the crap in this world.

Let it go, not just for a better future, but also because you’re a good person. And a good person isn’t angry most of the time. Instead, he sees beauty in the world and strives for a positive life, in which others around him can be inspired too.

Choose to let go of your anger so you can be that person.

There are many other positive emotions you can enjoy when you make the effort to let go of your anger.