How to Deal With Feelings of Anger and Frustration

How to Deal With Feelings of Anger and Frustration

Many of us are feeling a toxic mix of emotions right now—frustration, anger, grief, outrage, despair. That underlying feeling of unease from watching the news, which can result in stress and a feeling of helplessness. It’s not at all comfortable and quite distracting.

The anger combined with powerlessness can literally make us sick if we’re not careful. And is a huge time waster.

As a life-coach I’m always looking for solutions and reframes that can help people cope with stuff that happens. Turn it around and make it bearable, if not positive.

The best approach ever to stress

Without doubt the best teachings I have ever come across for coping with events that make us feel helpless comes from the ancient Greco-Roman philosophy called Stoicism.

I confess. I adore Stoicism and it is my go-to back-up support these days. It always has something supremely useful to give us. Practical lessons in everyday living.

Most of us have heard of Stoicism, or at least are familiar with the term to be stoical. It’s associated these days with a sort of calm, unemotional, austere type of behavior. Non-sentimental and with uncaring connotations.

This is not true to the original teachings, which I want to share.

Rather than urging us to be uncaring or unemotional, Stoicism teaches us to focus on what we can control. That which we cannot control, do not waste energy nor stress about. It’s a waste of time. Period.

Here are some quotes from the early Roman Stoic philosopher Epictetus. You will be amazed how current they are.

“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.”

And…

“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control.”

And…

“Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.”

This is hardly unfeeling or austere. It’s dynamic, intelligent, and realistic. And above all, sublimely practical.

Anger and stress serve no one

Each of us has a mode of action—a way we are best suited for acting as decent, responsible human beings.

Some of us are activists and the first to be out on the streets demonstrating for justice. I have a friend in Mobile, Alabama, my home town, who is like this. I admire her immensely. She works tirelessly to help people vote and is always organizing events. (You know who you are Dianne Jones!) I would last about 5 minutes marching anywhere for anything, and my organizational skills are zilch, so I don’t think that’s my best way to serve. Plus she has tons of energy. I don’t.

But I can vote. I can write letters to people in power. I can donate money or give encouragement to people who are out there working on the line to make the world a better place.

So what can you do? What can you not do?

Always focus on where you do have some influence. Take appropriate action and then let the rest go. Do what you can and do not worry about what you cannot. We are all different.

Anxiety helps no one. And realize, the calmer and more detached you are in your action, the more effective it will be.

That’s it. Simple. Wise. Evergreen advice from first century Rome. We all know it, but we still find ourselves in a lather over events totally outside our control.

It’s so simple

So if you are feeling upset or angry or frustrated, STOP, and ask yourself—is this within my sphere of influence? If yes, then what positive steps can I take to make it better? If not, then give yourself permission to let it go.

You can still care without stress. You can be concerned without stress. The Stoics call it calm indifferenceThe Bhagavad Gita, the book that was the central influence on Gandhi during his one man confrontation with the British Empire, describes it as holy indifference.  The only effective action is that taken with holy indifference.

Think about it. If each of us focused on what we could do, and took action in a positive, calm state, and then let go the negative emotions, would our lives and those around us improve?

The Stoics certainly thought so. Try it. It’s incredibly liberating.

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Intermittent Fasting and the Pandemic?

Intermittent Fasting and the Pandemic?

Hey, I’m no good at diets.

My only successful attempt was back in the 90s with the Atkins diet. Remember those days? We all lost weight and then gained back twice as much.

Fasting? Even worse. My one experience sent me into semi-coma.

Nevertheless, for the past five months I’ve been following the Intermittent Fasting thing. You may have heard of it. It’s not a diet as such, but rather an eating program based on when you eat and not what you eat.

Typically it involves eating inside an 8-hour window and not eating during a 16-hour window. What you eat and when you impose those windows is your choice.

It’s surprisingly easy to follow, even for this rabid anti-dieter, and the results are interesting. Weight loss, lower blood insulin and sugar levels, improvements in chronic fatigue and type 2 diabetes, and better mental clarity are among many benefits touted.

I highly recommend it.

The Knock-on Effect of Intermittent Fasting

But the most interesting aspect to me is the one discovered by Nobel Prize winner Yoshinori Ohsumi in 2016. His research found that fasting triggers a healing process called autophagy, which means self-eating. (Charming, I know, but wait). It results in cleaning out any dysfunctional or damaged cells, renewing them and helps slow down aging. (Better?)

So, given a chance to rest from continuous face stuffing, our bodies quickly start to heal and correct imbalances in the system.

I find this astonishing.

A Fast for Mother Earth

I couldn’t help noticing the similarity of Intermittent Fasting and how it relates to the pandemic.

Mother Earth has been given a break in digesting pollution. An imposed but welcomed fast.

I’m sure you’ve read about dolphins and fish appearing in the canals of Venice only weeks after the Coronavirus lockdown.

Or about the air pollution clearing up dramatically over China. Birds singing in Chinese cities for the first time in years.

It’s as if Mother Nature is saying, just leave the rivers and air alone and watch what happens.

Leave it to me. I got this.

It’s not Pollyanna-ish to recognize that there are bound to be some good things coming out of the global shutdown. If nothing else, that perhaps we don’t need to do a lot to help the earth heal. Just like our bodies and fasting, we just need to leave it alone.

What About Psychical and Social Healing?

If our bodies heal when we give them a short break from eating, and if Mother Earth heals when left alone, can we also heal our minds in a similar way?

Every ancient religion recommends observing one day of rest a week—the Sabbath. It’s the 4th commandment in the Ten Commandments. I used to wonder how that one got ranked in there amongst killing and adultery.

We don’t observe it much anymore but it was considered crucially important for mental, spiritual, and emotional health. A one-day activity fast each week.

We used to have Sabbaticals where people would take a year off work to travel, study, think and relax, and focus on personal enrichment and development. Is that still a thing?

What about weekends? With shops and restaurants open all week and many people working from home, weekends no longer seem to be obligatory times of rest and relaxation.

My Point About the Pandemic

Here’s what I’m getting at. Of course for many the pandemic has dire consequences and I’m not making light of it. But for all of us it can be a unique opportunity to take a much-needed break from work, socializing, shopping, and a plethora of other frantic activities.

Do you miss them?

Many are reporting that once they get over the initial shock, they are learning to relax into it and do some things they haven’t done before.

Like sitting in nature and doing nothing. Or reading some good books that have been catching dust on your shelves or lurking in your Kindle.

Taking slow walks.

Or what about those online courses you’ve paid for and watched maybe one video before either giving up or forgetting all about it? I found one on my computer I had bought five years ago and never opened. It’s pretty good.

Have You Ever Wondered….

…what it would be like to take vows and join a monastery? Now you can sort of get an idea. Or what about a stint in prison? Would you survive emotionally? This isn’t that bad. We’re also not at war.

It could be worse.

I’ve often toyed with the idea of going on a longish meditation retreat with no internet, phone, TV, or conversation for a set period. (I toy for a moment or two, then think better of it and turn on Netflix.)

Retreaters report that the first few days are relaxing and peaceful—then the withdrawal sets in and many experience depression, irritability, and wanting to kill someone. If they push on through they come out the other side feeling imperturbable and blissful.

Can you make this pandemic your Sabbatical? Pretend you’re on a retreat? You may never get another chance to slow down and do nothing for long periods.

Think of it as Intermittent Fasting for your mind and spirit. Who knows what will heal?

Carpe diem!

Now, here’s the offer.

Starting April until the end of May 2020 I’m offering life-coaching sessions online for donation only.
Give what you can—it’s important that it’s a transaction. The amount doesn’t matter.

We can discuss how you can seize the day and make the most of the enforced seclusion, set some soft goals, and develop a positive view about what is happening. It IS a once in a lifetime opportunity and talking things over can help you get your head clear.

Sessions are 40 minutes long, via Facebook Messenger, or Zoom if you’re not on FB.

No video, so if you haven’t put on makeup or washed your hair for a week, we’re cool.

Current clients included of course!

Donation by PayPal.

Just send me an email here to book a session. I’d love to connect with you!

If you want to know more about Intermittent Fasting, drop me a line.

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Your Moods Dictate Your Quality of Life. Here’s how to take control.

Your Moods Dictate Your Quality of Life. Here’s how to take control.

See if you relate to this.

The other day I woke up in a melancholy mood. “The bittersweet melancholy of another new dawn”, as my poet friend Scott Hastie expresses it so nicely.

I rarely get depressed, and then not for long, and I’m usually an upbeat, positive sort, so a melancholy mood felt strange. I didn’t know what to do with it, quite literally. I felt out of sorts, kind of off balance. Why, I wondered? Nothing bad was going on in my life, and all was well.

Have you had this happen?

As I examined it more closely I realized it was due to several things, all unrelated. I had watched a disturbing film the night before, several people had unsubscribed to my list (turns out they were on the wrong list), the sales on one of my books was down, and a client had cancelled her appointment due to illness.

Big deal! None of it important or earth shattering. Each on its own something I wouldn’t even blink at. Yet I had managed to pull them all together into a rather unpleasant tale and was unconsciously sending this charming message to myself—Nobody likes me, Everybody hates me, I think I’ll go and eat worms!

As soon as I woke up to this, it all went away and I was fine. No worms were harmed in the writing of this.

It got me thinking. While I was indulging my melancholy outlook, I got nothing done. The day was blue, I was blue, and nothing was going to get accomplished in that state.

What is a mood?

A mood is a generalized emotional state, which forms your attitude, and colors how you look at the world. Your frame of mind so to speak. So we have cranky, sour, melancholy moods, as well as peaceful, optimistic, blissful moods, and oh, don’t forget that seriously general mood, the blahs.

Every mood is a narrative,

…a story we have concocted around what is happening in our lives. Frequently it’s not even current stuff, but something triggered from the past. So we can get grumpy about something that happened 20 years ago without even knowing why.

We are not conscious we are creating the tale. We only feel the mood.

Our moods are more important than most of us realize. Successful people have control of their moods. They don’t let them take over and ruin their day. They push back against the dictator and create empowering moods.

Unhappy people don’t have control over their moods, which are usually of failure, or defeat, or inadequacy.

Moods rule our lives and dictate the kind of results we get in life. Mood matters.

The good news is you can control your mood and can always choose a useful one.

I use a technique (from Michael Neill) for mood control THAT WORKS EVERY TIME! It’s only 3 steps, so I encourage you to memorize it. You never know when it will come in handy.

This is how you dig out a bad mood and drag it blinking and snarling into the light of day. Leave the good ones alone. They are working for you.

Here we go. When you have a strange mood, and you don’t know the cause, complete these 3 sentences.

1) I’m feeling…….
(List all the words you can think of to describe your mood. Get as specific as possible. Remember, moods are general so home in on it.)

2) Because…..
(List all the possible triggers that come to mind. It’s usually more than one.)

3) Which means…..
(Aha, here is the story, the narrative. What nonsense are you telling yourself about these events?)

When you look at the narrative you have uncovered, usually a blatant and silly generalization of unlinked occurrences, you can simply spin it. Find a new story, unlink the causes, and reframe all of it.

Remember:

Every mood is a narrative.

Every narrative can be rewritten, so if you don’t like the mood, change the story.

Honestly, this is deceptively powerful and effective. Please try it.

Happy start to the holiday season!
Margaret
margaretnashcoach.com
 

If you would like help identifying and exposing some killer moods then contact me for a session either online or in person here in San Miguel de Allende. I’d love to help you make this work. Remember, if you don’t control your moods, then your moods control you! Contact me here.

Like what you just read? Sign up for free email updates. You’ll get a free copy of my ebook Sacred Cow Alert - 5 New Age Myths that May be Killing All Your Relationships!

You may unsubscribe from my list at any time in complete privacy, no questions asked. But I hope you don’t. There will be no spam and my occasional newsletter will be chock full of actually helpful information.