We’ve all been there before- Someone cuts you off in traffic. You spill ketchup on your new white shirt. It starts raining on your way to the beach. There’s a never-ending list of why you might find yourself angry and in an unpleasant mood. And once your day starts to take a turn for the worse, it often feels like there’s no going back. These feelings of anger and despair directly affect self-love, one’s own happiness or advantage to their well being. However, there are ways to turn the tide, release your anger, and get yourself into a pleasant and happy mood.
Here are four easy body language tricks to help alleviate anger and get you back to feeling great:
1. LOOK UP
Just as our emotions affect our body language, our body language also affects our emotions. The next time you catch yourself starting to feel angry, take a few seconds and look up towards the ceiling or sky.
When we are in a negative state, we tend to look down. Think of a child that has been scolded for misbehaving; what does his/her body language look like? His or her head is down looking at the floor, and eye contact is avoided. This is the body’s natural expression of negative emotion that often interferes with self love.
Looking down triggers negative feelings. So to prevent yourself from spiraling down into more negative emotions, interrupt the pattern, do the opposite and look up. It will interrupt the negative emotive state and naturally trigger happy hormones to be released.
2. FAKE A SMILE
Research has shown that if you fake a smile and hold it long enough, you will start to feel happier. When you find yourself feeling angry, tighten up those cheeks and show those pearly whites. You can even hold a pen or pencil between your teeth, which will force the sides of your mouth up into a smile. By maintaining a “fake” smile for just a couple of minutes, you’ll start to feel relief as the anger dissipates and is replaced by happy hormones.
Laughter is an amazing way to change your state in an instant. When you’re feeling angry, take a few minutes to watch or listen to something funny. You can search for funny cat videos on YouTube or listen to your favorite comedian, put on an episode of your favorite sitcom or Google “cute babies laughing.” It’s pretty difficult to stay angry while watching an adorable little baby giggling in pure joy. Or quadruplets (trust me, Google that).
4. BREATHE DEEPLY
When we get angry, our breath tends to become fast and shallow as our body enters its fight or flight mode. By taking a moment to pause and observe your breath when you feel angry, you can consciously start to take longer deeper breaths.It will help you take control of your emotional state and calm yourself down.
Lengthen the duration of your exhale to have an even greater effect. For example, count to 5 as you take a deep breath in, then as you exhale, count to 10, completely emptying your lungs.Now add some visualization to it. As you exhale, imagine that you are releasing all the anger and negative tension in your body. Imagine the anger leaving your body with your breath, vanishing into the air. Then as you breathe in again, imagine breathing in positivity, joy, and happiness. Do this for a full minute, and you’ll feel much better.