The Top 5 Ways I Calm Myself When I’m Angry

Because Anger is a Mood and not a Reaction

Credit: Amberleigh Storms

According to the National Institute of Health a symptom of Bipolar Disorder II is Manic Depressive Episodes and a symptom of those episodes is anger. If we do the research there is an endless stream of scientific evidence. It’s a rabbit hole of information. I’ll ditch the scientific lingo and simply state how I feel in layman terms.

I’m fucking angry.

Typically at nothing, and recently more so often than not. I experience anger as a mood and not a reaction. My anger is fueled by a deep boiling rage I’m unable to justify. It’s something I can’t put into words.

I tend to stuff it, all that anger. I can’t see allowing it to have a negative impact on others. It just feels wrong, especially when I’m the one feeling agitated. I need to have control over my emotions and I do. I stuff it, just as I have done for most of my life.

However, as I grew older I came to realize that internalizing it makes me feel physically sick. There have been times I’ve gotten myself so worked up I made myself nauseous, caused myself a migraine from stress related muscle tension and have drained myself of all physical energy, leaving me exhausted. I give myself heartburn.

I’ve since tried every option I can think of to help me deal with my anger, and calm the fuck down. Here are the top five that work best for me. It’s taken four decades of trial and error for me to narrow it down.

1. Walking

Walking is always my first go to. “Walk it off,” and that’s what I do. I once had intrusive thoughts that scared the shit out of me and I walked to the clinic in town, two miles from my house, during snowfall to schedule an appointment the same day.

I walked back to the house, got in my car and drove back to the clinic for my appointment. Although it may not make practical sense why I would do it that way, in actuality I did what I had to do in the moment to keep myself safe. I walked.

2. Stretching

I do a series of basic yoga poses. I reach high up to the sky while standing on my tip toes and breathe. I feel it let go. “Goodbye, anger. I’m stretching you out of my body.”

It’s a relief to release all the shitty stress from my limbs. I target my Chakra system . Yes, it does sort of feel like a weird Voodoo practice, but it helps. So I don’t question it.

3. Beating the Mixed Marshal Arts bag

If I took a survey I bet a large population of people would agree that punching shit actually does feel good in an inappropriate and self destructive way. I still punch (and kick) but in a healthy manner by using a bag. I have an official MMA that’s four feet, weighs 80 pounds and cost $70 (chain not included).

If you’re in a desperate pinch and don’t have a pro bag you can MacGyver one. Using a Hefty sack, stuff it tight with clothes up to the half way point, then tie a knot and hang it. Presto. Instant punching bag. I’ve done this and it was more impressive than it sounds.

4. Screaming to the Gods

I probably wouldn’t do this if I still lived in the city (due to the risk of being arrested or fined by the home owners association) but out here in Middle of Nowhere, Iowa it’s fairly easy to get away with it.

I have few neighbors and I don’t care what they think of me. It’s more important to me to be emotionally healthy than to worry about others thinking I’m emotionally unhealthy, and then spreading rumors, and now I’m being stared down by everyone in the coffee shop.

I stand on the backside of my property and scream with all of my might. I don’t use words. I use force. I look up to the clouds and screech at the gods. It feels good.

5. Seroquel

Seroquel is an anti-psychotic medication that ‘knocks me on my ass.’ Do you want to be dead to the world? Do you want to be so drugged nothing matters? Do you want to sleep for 14 hours?

Get a prescription.

I’m prescribed 25 mg daily. I can’t be psychotic if I’m unconscious 2/3 of the day and thanks to Seroquel I wouldn’t notice a nuclear warhead being dropped on me either.

Since a doctor prescribed it, it must be good for me to sleep through all of my problems, right?

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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