9 Powerful Ways to Overcome Anger or a Bad Mood [Episode #826]
This week’s topic is: 9 Powerful Ways to Overcome Anger or A Bad Mood
We’ve all felt that anger rising up, frustration, irritation, moodiness, and when we’re in this state, we often do things that we don’t feel proud of later, whether that’s eating a whole bag of chips or cookies or saying something out of character or being snappy with a loved one or however it shows up.
Anger also creates a lot of irritation throughout our system, which can really inhibit our digestion. It can elevate our blood pressure, create hormonal imbalance and extra cortisol, the stress hormone being created and so many other things. And we really want to find very practical ways to alleviate and avoid anger and moodiness because this has such an effect on our physical health and of course our overall life enjoyment, our emotional wellbeing and our relationships.
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Kimberly: 00:03 Namaste loves and welcome back to our Thursday Q&A show where our topic today is a very practical one for most all of us, I think, which is 9 Powerful Ways to Overcome Anger or A Bad Mood. So we’ve all felt that anger rising up, frustration, irritation, moodiness, and when we’re in this state, we often do things that we don’t feel proud of later, whether that’s eating a whole bag of chips or cookies or saying something out of character or being snappy with a loved one or however it shows up. Anger also creates a lot of irritation throughout our system, which can really inhibit our digestion. It can elevate our blood pressure, it can create hormonal imbalance and extra cortisol, the stress hormone being created and so many other things. So we really want to find very practical ways to alleviate and avoid anger and moodiness because this has such an effect on our physical health and of course our overall life enjoyment, our emotional wellbeing and our relationships.
01:26 So quick reminder that over on our website, mysolluna.com, you can submit questions for future shows and you can get these show notes and see our many other offerings across our four cornerstones, which are food, body, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth.
Question around the topic of: 9 Powerful Ways to Overcome Anger or a Bad Mood: I often find myself getting upset and in bad moods during the day. What can I do to snap myself out of them?
Today, let’s dive right into our show. And this one is in the emotional wellbeing category. Today’s shows when we’re talking about moods and anger, but as I just mentioned, it really is holistic. It really does affect all our other cornerstones. When we’re in a bad mood, we can often make poor food choices and it affects our bodily organs and our digestion can shut down or we can get more bloated or we don’t feel the motivation to work out or whatever it is. We also find it very difficult to meditate when we are moody and our thoughts are racing. So our question comes today from Devin in Seattle, Washington. And Devin, thank you so much for being in our community. Thank you so much for highlighting this topic and submitting your question, which so many of us could benefit from talking about in an open way. And your question specifically is, I often find myself getting upset and in bad moods during the day, what can I do to snap myself out of them? So Devin do not feel alone. I think that
Kimberly: 02:59 Moodiness is such a common thing that the great yoga guru, Paramahansa Yogananda talked about moods quite a bit. He talked about them being a great hindrance on our pathway of spiritual progress because when we’re moody, we’re simply not in our hearts. We are not in our true selves, we are not ourselves, and we end up wasting a lot of energy and sulking or drama instead of putting our energy into our vitality and into our projects and into our goals and into loving interactions. So it’s a very common thing, and we’re going to dive right into the points and the research around what is the root of this anger and what is the root of the moodiness.
#1. 9 Powerful Ways to Overcome Anger or A Bad Mood: Mindful Meditation
So the first point here, which is perhaps the most important has to do with mindfulness. And there are many research studies around this and one in particular we will link to in the show notes from 2010, finding that mindfulness and practices to increase mindfulness like meditation, help to improve emotional regulation and reduced drug abuse.
04:21 So this is really important because mindfulness is awareness, and when we get angry or we get moody, it is a form of resistance, meaning we don’t like what’s showing up here. And so it’s a sort of an unhealthy coping mechanism. We can think of it as instead of being mindful that we’re aware, I like the word awareness more because mindful makes me think of excess thinking, being in the head so much. And really awareness is about this energy or this greater knowingness in the present moment. And it’s very connected to the heart. It’s not just about the mind. So when we feel what is really going on here, and it could be great upset or disappointment, someone didn’t show up on time or someone crossed a boundary or did something they said they weren’t going to do or didn’t do something they said they were going to do whatever it is.
05:27 And so the anger or the mood comes, it’s this quick reaction and it may be programmed in our amygdala, in our brains, which is the part of our brains that houses old memories and creates emotional significance. It attaches emotional significance to events happening now. So it happens so fast. So what we want to do when we start to feel it coming on, we start to notice our heart racing, our voice changing. We start to notice, Hey, I’m getting triggered. We want to be aware of that so that we want to catch ourselves ideally before we go into the bad mood or into the anger. We want to see what is really going on here. And in my life I can say that this has reduced anger, annoyance, frustration, which I used to feel quite a bit of, especially frustration in my life. So much anger is putting the power outside of ourselves and the mood saying, this has the ability to disrupt my day or to make me not feel happy right now.
06:44 And so what we want to do instead is we want to turn the mirror inward. And by doing that, we want to create this awareness again of what am I feeling? What is really going on here? And then when we focus on that sensation, which is something that I talked about as well in my last book, you are more than you think you are. It can start to be felt and processed through instead of projected out into the anger. This has been a very powerful practice for me, and I had no idea that I wasn’t feeling in a lot of the negative spectrum. I wasn’t metabolizing a lot of old pains and fears and negative feelings, and so they kept coming up in terms of strong reactions in my present. And so I would sit and breathe and let it pass through. And sometimes it takes a couple seconds, sometimes it takes 90 seconds because it’s energy and it’s meant to move.
07:49 So the more you can take those very sacred pauses and feel those feelings and energies and let them move through, you’ll definitely heal a lot of your anger and moodiness. And then once they’ve passed through, you may still have to have that conversation. You still may have to be direct and say, Hey, I really do need you to be on time, or you didn’t hold up your end of the bargain, or, oh, I wish it had been this way, but now we can go forward in this way. So we address it, but we shift and we pivot in the moment and wasting our energy and going into bloating and fight or flight and all these things that happen and our bodies can be greatly avoided. And it’s so amazing when we do that and when we really learn this skill, it’s going to change your physical health and it’s going to greatly increase your life, the amounts of in your life and your overall life fulfillment. I promise you, it’ll be really wonderful.
#2. 9 Powerful Ways to Overcome Anger or A Bad Mood: Physical Exercise
09:02 The next thing that we can do, and this is a bit more general, we’re going to go broad and specific here as we move through our nine points, but number two is, and this comes from research which I will also link into the show notes, talking about the acute effects of exercise on your mood state. This reminds me specifically of my husband who’s very Pitta. We say in Ayurveda, he’s got a lot of fire. Fire is his dominant energy. He gets fiery, he can get moody, especially if he doesn’t exercise. He’s like a dog. He needs to be walked. I always say this, he needs to go to his gym and work out some energy, and he used to work out later in the day. But what I found was what we found was if he would get up early and work out in the early morning when I’m writing, he would really be in a better mood.
10:04 And so that is so clear to me, seeing it in him. I feel it in my own body when I walk, which is my main form of exercise now. I do a hilly walk in our neighborhood for about an hour a day. I feel good, I feel calmer. And what this study found was that exercise releases endorphins. It creates a natural mood lift. And I also feel that it helps to work out pent up energy in our body, especially if we’re sitting in the car, we’re sitting at our desk, we’re sitting a lot, and there’s all these thoughts and thoughts or energy and there’s all these things coming at us and emails and digital things and all sorts of things happening. And so exercise is a way to dispel that exercise is a way to move that energy, and you’ll intuitively feel this yourself. The more you exercise, it doesn’t have to be pounding and something you don’t enjoy, which for me would be running on a treadmill perhaps. Maybe you love that, find what works for you, but the key is to make it consistent and then we will consistently be in a lighter, better mood.
#3. 9 Powerful Ways to Overcome Anger or A Bad Mood: Social Support
11:26 So the third point here is social support. And there’s lots of research around this as well, including a study from 2004 saying that understanding the health, social support and physical health, understanding the health consequences of relationships. This was published from the American Psychological Association, and what this found was that when we have strong social connections, this can help us buffer the effects of negative emotions. Sometimes I will say though that our friends can help us get into a negative loop. So it’s great to find social support that can be a neutral bouncing off pad or a mirror. If that’s not possible, I definitely recommend going to a therapist or someone that can really help you to move through the energies of what is happening, especially if it’s a repeat trigger, you’re repeatedly getting mad about the same thing. We don’t want to feel isolated, we don’t want to feel alone.
12:37 But at the same time, there are occasions where your friend is just validating you. And research that I’ve come across as well, which is in my new book, is that it can keep anger alive actually, if you keep replaying, oh, he shouldn’t have said this to me. This is what happens and this is what happens. And you actually feel that drama in your body again. So yes, social support, but from the perspective of processing it instead of blaming more and feeling that victim mode. So we want to make sure that we have that goal in mind is that we want to get to a place of neutrality, not rising the anger up again. So there may be friends that are better suited for that. You can share that intention with them. Hey, I’m trying to move through this. I’m trying to get neutral. I just want to express this.
13:33 And you stating that intention, and I found this with my friendships and the people that I share with. I stating it so I’m creating it. And the same thing for you. If you have that intention, you create that because we’re all such powerful creators versus just going down this unfortunate rabbit hole of reliving the anger, which can create a lot more incoherence in your body and through your heart rhythm and the various systems in your body and your nervous system. So we don’t want to do that, but friendship can certainly be a very powerful thing and having a bouncing off board.
#4. 9 Powerful Ways to Overcome Anger or A Bad Mood: Smiling and Stress Reduction
So the next thing is smiling. And this is really funny because there is a coin termed by Paramahansa Yogananda, which is to be a smile millionaire, and he was writing about this great yoga guru who came from India to first Boston and then California and started lecturing all around the country.
14:42 He talked about, again, as I mentioned at the top of our show, he talked a lot about moodiness and he said that a smile can actually change your body’s constitution. And so we don’t want to fake it per se long-term. We don’t want to force positivity, fake positivity, which feels inauthentic. But if we take a pause and we breathe and we find something lighthearted in the moment, something we can be grateful for or something actually funny or humorous, research finds that shifting your face, forcing a smile during a stressful situation can actually lead to a reduction in the body’s stress response. So isn’t this so funny? This came from Sage Journals. The title of this article was Grin and Bear. It, the Influence of Manipulated Facial Expression on the Stress Response. They’re talking about forcing it, which you could also do. I like the feeling of or my go-to is just trying to find something really funny or something really silly in that moment.
16:01 If we can make that little shift, it doesn’t have to feel so heavy, it doesn’t have to feel so serious. We don’t have to go into that stress response, which can really derail our endocrine system and our hormonal system and our digestive system for six hours or more research shows. So we really want to take this seriously in that regard, meaning we want to do something about it. So just a simple smile if you want to force it or find something a bit funny in that moment can lift you out of this. What can feel trapped the moods and getting so angry can make us feel trapped.
#5. 9 Powerful Ways to Overcome Anger or A Bad Mood: Sleep
16:48 So the next point that I want to mention here, and there is no surprise here, has to do with sleep. This comes from research from Science direct as well as many other research studies that a lack of sleep can exacerbate anger and negative moods. Those of us that have children can definitely attest to this. I try, try my best to be vigilant about bedtime, sometimes creeps up when the kids want more and more books, or my older son Bubby now wants more and more chapters. And the chapter books we’re reading, which are very long right now, we’re reading Book five of the Chronicles of Narnia Together, it affects their moods. And children are such a pure example of joy and love and
Kimberly: 17:48 Lifestyle and the effect that not having enough sleep can do. So we really want to emphasize good sleep hygiene. We really want to create those wonderful evening sleep routines so that we are setting ourselves up for quality sleep and better moods. So this can mean for me, it’s saying here’s my cutoff point to start the routine, which starts with a warm shower and an elixir. And there’s often stretching. Now almost every night lately there’s been stretching because I’ve been sitting so many hours writing this new book, meditation and journaling or reflection. Those are my core parts. And taking detoxy, which in my busyness I’ll admit that I have needed to take it every day of late. So I encourage you to honor your sleep and to see it as a pathway to enjoying your life more and taking it really seriously. Which leads us to the next point, which is journaling.
#6. 9 Powerful Ways to Overcome Anger or A Bad Mood: Journaling
18:57 And this has been such a profound part of my own healing journey and feeling just so much more centered, so much more aware and able to observe these moods and feelings of anger and frustration when they come in versus identifying with them and getting completely swept into them. So this research study is from Cambridge University and it talks about the emotional and physical health benefits of writing. And it found that when we write, it can lead to better mood and health outcomes. And this was journaling specifically about our emotions. So when we aren’t aware, we sort of identify with them, I am angry, which is not true. You are your true self, which is undisturbed by moods and busyness, but you are feeling anger. You are experiencing the emotion of anger or a mood. So we want to start to create a distance and not identify with it.
20:14 I am almost a daily journaler. I fill up so many pages and I go back and I read and it gives me so much insight and I can say, oh, right, this is happening again and I felt it and this is what happened. It’s like a puzzle. I start to see where triggers are. It helps me to see my part and my responsibility. So for instance, in a Instagram post I wrote lately, recently I was talking about when I make requests and I state my needs, if I am incoherent, if I’m feeling anxious or I’m annoyed when I state something, it’s not usually received very well by my husband or whoever’s listening. So if I calm myself and come into more mindfulness about my state, my energy, it is received more. So journaling has helped me to become more aware, to be vulnerable and to take responsibility, which is really powerful ways to move us forward in our lives.
#7. 9 Powerful Ways to Overcome Anger or A Bad Mood: Breathing Practice
21:17 So the next point is to create a breathing practice to improve your moods and breath awareness. So there’s a lot of research around this. I want to link to a particular study from 2016 which talks about how breathing was able to help. This is omic yogic breathing was able to really help with the physical symptoms of going into a stress response, going into anger, the tension that’s formed, which can actually be measured in changes in your blood pressure. And this is coming from the Journal of Traditional and Complimentary Medicine. And I will say that when you meditate, there’s usually some kind of breathing practice involved. And in our practical enlightenment meditations and our heart align meditations, which we will be updating and publishing soon on our website. It’s nice to feel that awareness when you’re meditating. But in daily life when something comes in, your breath starts to go, your heart rate and your breath start to go faster usually, and they start to become more shallow.
22:32 So it doesn’t have to be so formal. It can literally just be that moment of awareness and just slowing down your breath. And it really is so simple. You’ve probably heard it a million times before, but do we practice it in daily life, right? Can today be the day that we actually start committing to that, taking six to 10 deep breaths, focusing on nothing else, forgetting everything, but just being the breath. And then noticing what shifts when we come out of it. Notice how our response might shift, how we feel excited about taking a different path. Things open up once we really take that moment.
#8. 9 Powerful Ways to Overcome Anger or A Bad Mood: Gratitude Practice
23:21 So the next point is about gratitude, and there is research around this as well. All of this is evidence-based. And the reason we do that is because I know that the discerning mind can sometimes understand more or follow something more deeply if there is scientific research around it. And a lot of it though is just reaffirms and validates what we intuitively know in our hearts. So this study comes from the American Psychological Association, and what it found was that when we are more grateful, when we shift away from seeing what’s wrong, what’s lacking from negative thought patterns into seeing instead what is here, this amazingness, this gratitude in daily life, we increase our wellbeing and our positive moods. So I would encourage you to make this a practice in the beginning. And what I mean by that is it starts to be more structured and that makes it be more integrated in your life.
24:38 So you can, as you’re brushing your teeth, spend a couple minutes in the morning thinking about what you’re grateful for. You can journal and make a gratitude list. You can say Grace, as our family does every night and go around and would say what we’re grateful for. But eventually you want gratitude to be more enmeshed in your daily life so that it becomes a life, life-shifting perspective, grateful, oh, I’m about to eat this food. I’m so grateful. This is so amazing that I have access to this amazing organic kale. And you just start to notice you slow down life and you look around your room and you see, I’m so grateful for this beautiful home. I’m really grateful for this clean water. I’m really grateful for this plant that I see outside my window. So yes, it can start in this structured way, especially if we felt disconnected from gratitude.
25:32 We want to start to invite it more in. But eventually it starts to be more perpetual through the daily moments of your life. And in that way it grows and it will change everything. And so when you start to go into that anger, you can start to shift instead into a moment of gratitude. As in, I’ll give you a practical example with my husband, what I was writing about recently. There’s a lot of driveway discussion in our house. He has vehicles, he has his motorcycle, he has trainers coming over and the driveway gets very clogged. I don’t like to back out into the street because people can go fast down our street, especially when the kids are in the car. There’s always discussion around moving the cars around. And sometimes when he doesn’t do it, I’m back to being calm when I approach him with it, I really do say to myself, I recall, but I’m so grateful for him.
26:36 I mean, come on, he’s amazing dad, amazing papa bear, amazing husband. And I feel that gratitude I shift. And then from that more calm, grateful place, I may not say anything or if it’s really important to me, I will say it, but from that beautiful place which will get better results. And so try it for yourself in your relationships. Every relationship can benefit and grow from a dose of heartfelt gratitude. It feels good to be appreciative for each other, doesn’t it?
#9. 9 Powerful Ways to Overcome Anger or A Bad Mood: Time Management
So the next and final point is time management. We tend to get angry and irritated when we just try to pack so much in the day or we rush, we leave too late. So we’re really frustrated with the traffic or whatever it is. So we don’t need to do that to ourselves. If we just sit back and say to ourselves, remind ourselves, Hey, I don’t have to do everything right now, or I’m just going to take a breath here and calm down and I’m going to say no to more things.
28:02 I was thinking about the right way to phrase it. How do I do it to myself? And I say yes to the things that I want to say. It’s funny because when we say no to things that we feel eh or not so excited about, we automatically open up more time for the things that we are excited about. And so the research on this finds that when we are in our power and we are not feeling constricted by time, it does affect our mood. And so if you’re looking at your schedule and you’re saying, well, there’s just so much to pack in, I guarantee if you look at your very busy schedule, as I often look at mine and intentionally cut things out that don’t matter to you as much or space things out more, you will feel that openness. You’ll feel more breathing room, and you’ll in turn feel so much more calm and more equanimity in your life, more centeredness, more even mindedness, which is such a powerful and important yoga quality in order for your true self to come forward, in order to feel your vitality, to boost your physical health, to feel more connected to yourself in your relationships, to your food, to your food choices, to feel that incredible creative power and that confidence rising from inside of you.
29:27 So we definitely want to avoid the anger and the moods, which are really these resistances to, I don’t like what’s happening. There is all of these ways to feel more rested, to take a breath, to calm down more, to breathe, to create more awareness and mindfulness. So instead of going into the anger and the mood to pivoting and flowing with life, and instead just finding a more intuitive way to harmonize. So please check out the show notes, as I mentioned at the top of our show to see more of this research, to review the points. And I truly, truly hope that anger and moodiness reduce in your life, which is the very intention of this show. We’ll be back Monday for our next interview podcast. Till then head over to our website, my sauna.com to check out all our offerings, and also come find me on social, which is at underscore Kimberly Snyder, sending you so much love, so much gratitude. Namaste. See you back here soon.