Emotions From Inside Out, Pt. 3: Have Anger Issues?
We’re about halfway through our feels trip, and boy, we’ve worked through some pretty heavy feels already. Our next stop doesn’t get much lighter as we head straight toward….Anger! There are several people out there with legitimate anger issues, for whatever reason, that negatively impact their lives on a daily basis. Anger has developed somewhat of a bad reputation, because it’s so commonly associated with physical aggression, saying things we don’t mean (or just didn’t mean to say), and causing tension and stress in our lives. Some people with anger issues, however, have found ways to use their anger in a positive way — let’s get to know Anger a little better, and see how it might impact you, for better or worse, along your own fitness journey.
Emotions From Inside Out: Anger
Does this guy look angry, or what? He ought to — this is Anger, another one of the emotions from Inside Out. He’s perhaps one of the most relate-able characters in the movie, as we can all fairly easily distinguish when we’re experiencing anger. In the movie, Anger was responsible for turning up the jets when Riley’s dad took away dessert, San Francisco ruined pizza, and always came in handy during hockey games (if you need a recap on these event – check out the preview in the first post of this series). As we all know, pre-teens can be pretty chippy, so Anger played a pretty significant role throughout the movie.
Along a fitness journey, anger can be a very common experience. Anger and frustration are ever present when we don’t get the results we expect based on our actions. It can be pretty maddening to go the gym several days a week, take the right amount of rest days, and eat all the right foods…only to see limited, or no, results. It’s on days like these that it’s so vital to have a good support system in place that will help you keep moving forward.
We’ve all taken our anger out on innocent parties at some point in our life, and this is completely understandable, once in a while. Developing positive thought strategies and productive coping skills to handle this type of situation is the key to maintaining momentum in your fitness journey. These will also ensure that you’re not taking out your anger on your support system, the very people you need in order to ultimately be successful.
While anger can be an emotion that results in destruction, regression and hurt feelings – it can also be used for good, especially in fitness. Much like disgust, anger often precedes action. It’s up to you to make sure the actions that result from your anger are ones that will keep you moving in the right direction. Think of one of the worst days you ever had at work – somebody or something just really pissed you off…how did you expend that energy? On a typical day, I go to the gym on my way home from work, so anything that happened that day is fresh in my mind. I find that some of my best workouts happen on days when anger is driving me. This is one very positive way that I’ve learned to cope with anger – whether it’s related to my fitness goals, or just happenings in everyday life. Working out gives me an outlet to use anger to make positive change in my life, and spare those around me from becoming unsuspecting, and undeserving, victims.
Tips For Dealing With Those Anger Issues:
1. Let’s start with handling unexpected results related to our progress. This is a common source of anger and frustration along a fitness journey, and really, just a part of the process. What I do in these situations is…go APE! Not act like an angry ape, or anything, but Assess, Plan and Execute (APE) – see what I did there? This is a cue I use with my softball players to remind them to mentally run through the situation between every play, and it works just as well for fitness!
Assess – When things don’t go the way you expect, you need to assess the situation, and determine what went wrong. Was there a night you went a little crazy on your cheat meal? Maybe you missed some days at the gym, or weren’t feeling well and weren’t able to push as hard. Stress is another big one…when you’re stressed, your body isn’t nearly as cooperative and efficient as you’d like it to be. Assessing the situation is your first step to fixing the problem.
Plan – Once you have an idea of what needs to change, you can make a plan to change it. Let’s say you determined that stress was the cause of your most recent results (that you were unhappy with). You would then make a plan to reduce your stress levels…thus leading to better results. These don’t need to be elaborate – adding a few strategies like, going to bed a half hour earlier, taking at least 20 minutes each day completely to yourself, removing your work email from your phone — anything that will reduce the stress in your day. Once you have made the plan….
Execute – You know the problem, and have a plan to fix it – now you need to DO IT. This can be the most difficult step of them all, because it takes additional effort. Building in a new habit can be very time consuming in the beginning, but once you’ve established your routine, it just becomes another part of your day. Once you’ve executed your plan, you can start the process all over again as you monitor your progress. If you get the results you’re looking for – keep executing the plan! Otherwise, a new plan needs to be made. Throughout your fitness journey, you’ll need to constantly evolve as your body adapts, and going APE is a great way to work through this!
2. Like we discussed earlier – things are going to happen in life that are going to make you angry. It’s important to have some strategies in place to help you cope with these feelings in a positive way. Here are a few ideas that you can try:
- Physical activity is a helpful method to harness anger in a way that will actually benefit you in the future.
- Removing yourself from a frustrating situation can give you time to process through the situation and make sure you’re not taking your anger out on others. Excuse yourself, go to the bathroom, get a drink — whatever — just give yourself a few minutes to process before you react.
- Talking through your anger with a person you trust is much more productive than keeping it to yourself, and exploding later. By using your words, and explaining what’s making you upset, and/or what you need – your support system can better….support you
What makes you angry? Do you have any specific strategies you use to deal with your anger – whether or not it’s related to fitness? We’d love to hear what has, or has not, worked for you!
Until next time….
Founder: MCP Total Fitness
Emotions From Inside Out: Next Stop — Joy!