I was really angry the other day. I mean, swearing-in-my-car-to-an-imaginary-person kind of angry. I had a somewhat legitimate reason for being angry, as I was concerned about possible damage to my kids’ health due to toxic fumes our contractors were emitting into our house. But it’s never productive (nor appropriate) to make decisions or take actions when we have huge, powerful, emotions stirring around. The rational and discerning side of our brain doesn’t work when we have fireworks going off inside. So, sharing with others in any form during emotionally charged moments is never a good idea.
Intentional measures are often necessary to temper and move beyond big unsavory emotions. So, back to my story. With my anger, I went to my personal training studio, informed my partner and trainer that I was angry and basically had at it. I pushed hard with heavier weights and faster sprints, intending to burn some of that strong energy off. It helped a lot. I was calmer afterward and able to then came up with a plan that didn’t involve freaking out on anybody. For some reason, I remember the times that I have used exercise to move beyond anger.
There was a period of time when I was very irritated at my boss at work. He had this way of obstructing progress in one way or another. We had heated conversations fairly regularly but I think I would have gone wild at times if it weren’t for my indoor cycling classes. At the time, I exercised five days a week before work and the indoor cycling classes in particular were always really challenging for me. So, I’d think about my boss, bring up the rage, and just spin as fast and hard as I could until my heart peaked at +180bpm. So, I was literally exhausted in the end. When my boss continued to do his thing, I was too tired to get angry. I could simply let it go, press-on, work hard, and produce more. It requires a lot of energy to bring up and hold onto a big emotion like anger.
For me, doing something active has helped move beyond those really fiery and insensible and unhealthy bouts of anger when they happen. Many people become outraged by the news and you see their toxic emotions play out in social media. We cannot be reasonable when our minds are so unsettled, our bodies are reeling, and our nervous systems are going crazy. It’s quite unlikely we will be able to do things to boost morale like show respect, kindness, and courtesy when we are angry.
There are ways to productively transmute strong energy so you can once again find a level-head and communicate in a reasonable manner. Usually, with anger in particular, it helps by shaking up the vibration of the body. While my preferred way is intense exercise, others may sing loudly, listen to energizing music, or dance wildly. There are strong breathing practices that can also move energy out. Some people may prefer to rapidly write down anything and everything that comes to mind on a white board or in a journal. Others may find doing something tranquil like painting or taking a walk in nature will eventually calm them down. The key is finding those things that move you out of the crazy you and calms your nervous system, allowing you to control your emotions. Then you can engage once again as a reasonable person, setting a good example.
One thing is certain, to be discerning, open, level-headed, and clear we have to find ways to temper strong emotions.
What’s your trick?
Inspiring leaders have great habits of health and wellbeing. They invest in their success by investing in themselves. Serving as a great example every day is the best service we can offer the world.
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Tarra Mitchell is incorporating her distinctive background in business and yoga to contribute to the great conversation around leadership and consciousness. Her upcoming book, The Yoga of Leadership, shows how personal wellbeing is connected to success to inspire and empower leaders to lead healthier, happier lives, and better connect with and engage their teams.
Watch Tarra’s author video below to learn more about The Yoga of Leadership.