Breathing and Stress

I used to be prone to vicious outbursts, and metaphorical self-flagellation. I would internalize conflict until I exploded in either violence, hitting walls or a punching bag if it was around, or going over the different viewpoints in my head arguing in increasingly circuitous paths that I would never tolerate in someone arguing with me. These days my anger tends to come from stress. Better from stress then hate I suppose.

I like to think that I’ve gotten better at controlling my anger. Internalizing that kind of anger is unhealthy, but if you can truly let it go then it can’t control you. Whenever I feel that anger building up it feels like I just have to explode or swallow it. If you swallow the anger it will build and fester. Instead I hold it in the my hand in my mind’s eye. Then I just breathe. I let it go. It will dissolve like mist into the world. Remember that no one is the villain in their story and that even malice is just unhappiness manifest. Also remember that you aren’t dropping the anger. That means that you still hold onto it. You’re just letting it go. Just breathe in and breathe out.

I try to remember this when my temper starts to get the better of me. My friends these days think I’m one of the calmest people ever, and don’t really ever get mad. As I mentioned before I used to have a wicked temper. I give credit to my mother who taught me to just count my breaths when I got angry. Soon my stress will switch from distress, unhelpful stress, to the lesser talked about eustress, helpful stress. The stress from making forward progress in life goals and going on an adventure. It makes all of my current stress seem small, and I try to keep that in mind as I center myself.