Maybe it’s just me but have any of you noticed how angry everyone seems to be lately? From news outlets to Facebook posts to students to politicians to pastors to doctors to lawyers to journalists to the little old lady in the car next to you who just gave you the finger for not signaling. What is the deal????
I know life is hard and that times are tough but the anger level seems to be off the charts. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground to cool down, think, reflect and respond. There is no respect for another’s opinion on either side of any argument whether we are talking about guns, war, health care, violence or the economy. And this seems to carry over into family relationships where compromise, compassion, confession and conscience have become dirty words. The art of conversation and real communication has been lost and we are all poorer for it.
The reason I raise this question is because I have just come off a very angry week. I was angry every day. I hated how I felt but for some reason I couldn’t shake the anger. Day after day I struggled against my feelings while at the same time over reacting to everything. I was that little old lady in the car who gave you the one finger wave. I was the family member who didn’t want to communicate. I was the viewer yelling at the news reporter. And it was an awful week. I cannot imagine how people live that way day after day, week after week and year after year. No wonder we have such a high incidence of violence, mental illness, divorce, child abuse, road rage and heart attacks, strokes and migraines.
It wasn’t until I spent an entire week journaling each night about how I was feeling that I found a way out of my anger. It was caused by the stress of feeling like I had no options, that I was stuck in a position I didn’t want to be in and that I had violated one of my core principles. No down time to release my stress. Without time for me to withdraw and renew my energy it just kept being more and more depleted. As it depleted I had less and less energy to deal with life creatively and with intention.
Energy drainers are a real problem not only for me but for most people today who work long hours, balance way too many commitments and responsibilities and never take time to relax. Maybe instead of yelling at one another or watching people yell at each other on TV or Facebook, maybe instead of working that extra hour over time, maybe instead of pushing through another day just to be done with it, we should all take time to breathe, shut down and turn off all the noise that pours into our lives every day – even if only for an hour.
The benefits of down time are well documented and we are living with the consequences of a society that values nothing but producing more and more news, widgets, weapons, and want.
Give yourself and your anger a break today. Take the day off to stop and relax. Go play, sing, dance, visit friends, sleep, meditate or just plain sit and do nothing. It will lower your stress and your anger quotient considerably. And everyone, especially you, will be better off for it.