6 ways to cope that don’t involve anger

6 Ways to cope that don't involve anger

All too often we have coping strategies that don’t work.  When stressed about something, we can end up making ourselves even more stressed.  If something frustrates us, however minor it may be, we can erupt in rage.  We may not even be able to figure out why our reactions are so intense or why something so trivial bothers us so much when other people seem well able to cope if in a similar situation.  If someone upsets us we can dwell on their shortcomings, what they said and how they said it for days, and thereby causing ourselves more and more unhappiness.

But why is it like that for some people and not for others?  Some people stay cool, calm and collected and effortlessly navigate through their lives and interactions with others.  Nothing seems to shake them.  They can accept the ups and downs of life and effectively deal with the same irritations and let downs and things going wrong that negatively affect others.  Somehow they just know how to cope.

So what is different about people like this and how can we navigate through our own lives and interactions with such ease?  How can we find new positive ways to cope with life that don’t involve anger?

1 – Perspective

Cool and calm people’s perspective on life is different.  Life doesn’t just happen to them.  It’s not out of their control and yes things go wrong and individual incidents, relationships and situations do not always go to plan or happen the way they wish, but for the most part they have control of their lives and live the way they wish.  This means that when something goes wrong, it’s not the end of the world and they know it.  Your perspective is something you can change; you don’t need to stay stuck viewing the world with a negative, victim mentality.  Choose to look from the other person’s point of view as much as you can, or any point of view rather than the old one you’ve been looking through.  Doing this can lead you to creative and wonderful solutions to old, tiresome problems.

2 – Personality

Lots of research has been done on personality but what exactly is it?  It is a combination of our emotional responses and attitudes alongside our behavioural patterns.  Personality is considered by some theorists as a combination of what is called ‘The big 5’ components of personality which are: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.  It is felt that everyone belongs somewhere on the spectrum of each and while we cannot necessarily change our personalities types, we can tweak the aspects we don’t like a bit, which is an encouraging thought.  No personality type is worse or better than another, but only different, but we all have the choice of improving ourselves to be the best we can be.

3 – Removed from the situation

Situations that often cause consternation, or people that cause our blood to boil, are not something we should feel ourselves immersed in.  Instead, we should feel removed from the situation as if we are just an observer.  This means to stop engaging in, or taking part in, situations that are negative, explosive or just bloody weird.  Feel like you are a separate person from others and the drama they cause, and make your connections with positive, emotionally healthy people who you can feel safe with instead.  If at all possible, surround yourself with happy and encouraging people as they will lift you up rather than drag you down.

4 – Patience

Patience means how much we can endure under difficult circumstances before we react negatively. Patience is a very important characteristic to have.  No matter what the current situation or problem, if you show patience, you will be able to fix and solve the problem or move on to a more satisfactory situation.  Patience is all that is needed, cool people know this and it is part of their coping strategy.  Patience means not shouting at someone who annoys you, or raging at a stranger who cuts in front of you.  It means showing understanding to your spouse and children and understanding that they have their own experience of the world.  It means simply to control your emotional responses and behaviour to things that you don’t like.  It’s not always so easy but is very much worth trying to do.

5 – Healthy self esteem

Why is it important to have healthy self-esteem?  Because when you do you don’t presume people are out to get you, you don’t need to be suspicious and you don’t have too many insecurities that can set you off.  You don’t care if someone is acting bossy, insulting, etc as you don’t let it affect you on a deep level.  You just make sure not to surround yourself with those kinds of people in future.  When you have healthy self-esteem other people cannot shake your belief in yourself….at least not too easily and you know that you are good enough to be treated with respect and to treat others with respect also.

6 – Confidence/Bravery to make difficult decisions

Sometimes we need to cut our losses with difficult people, jobs, or generally bad situations.  It could be your marriage, a career, where you live or anything that is simply not working for you and making you miserable.  If you have tried hard to make it work, but find you’re just stuck in a bad situation with no hope of improving it, then having the confidence to end the pain for you and others, although hard to do in the short term, may be for the best.  It doesn’t mean you have to be completely selfish and self-serving, you can let go with love and respect and on good terms, but having or finding, the confidence to fix a situation that has no hope is actually very brave and can result in a more happy and positive life.

All the things I’ve listed here are things about ourselves that we can work on, as there is no point listing things that we cannot change.  Finding new ways to cope with anger issues is not always easy, but if we instead find new ways to improve ourselves and our happiness, then along the way we will discover ways to cope with life that don’t involve unnecessary and destructive displays of anger.

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  1. I have no patience, i think thats my problem. Even little things get to me nevermind the big stessful things, cant cope with them at all so get so wound up with people that i cant stop my anger

  2. Hi Amy, thanks for sharing. Its hard to stay patient alright and the more stressed we are the more difficult it is. Keep trying though 🙂

  3. Thanks for a great post. Anger is an opportunity to look inward. A certain spiritual text says “It is a spiritual axiom that all that all that disturbs us is within us”. Ask yourself “how am I guilty of a similar offense?”. This creates an opportunity for compassion for the other person, and more importantly compassion for yourself. You are worth it, have the courage to look inward. That is where the answer lies.

  4. Very true Bill, thanks for your input. Looking inwards at first seems counter-intuitive for what outwardly makes us angry, but that is where you find your answers.

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