Finding stillness in anger

A stressful start to the weekend

A few weekends ago I found myself in a trying scenario where I was running a workout class where a number of things did not pan out nearly the way I had intended. They were equally internally and externally afflicting but the fact is that I still got flustered and angry.

In the moment a part of me was somewhat proud at the fact that I knew that I could have expressed my anger a whole lot more, but didn’t. The other part of me was obviously frustrated and angry that I’d miscalculated a primary component of the workout and wanted to blame exterior elements rather than admit to others and myself, that I’d made a mistake. I was battling my ego.

I told myself over and over (in the split seconds of time that I had in my mind) that I needed to stay calm and get things rolling and worry about this component as the class runs. With this, several class participants were very supportive in the way they were giving their inputs on what might work instead of what I initially had planned. I was very grateful during these moments as all I wanted to think was how much of an idiot I was. But it was no time to dwell and wallow when the show needed to go on.

Fast forwarding to the ending of the class everything worked out okay and the world didn’t collapse beneath my feet like I slightly felt it would for 10 minutes there. I apologized for my grumpy attitude and for everyone’s tolerance of your humble narrator during that hour of training.

Finding minute amounts of stillness in the absolute lack of time I had was the key to me not blowing up and walking out of that room like a pissed off 5 year old. Anger is a hell of an ego trip isn’t it!? We feel entitled to our ideas of situations and so frequently lose control of our emotions if they don’t exactly come to fruition. Slowing down, taking a breath and realizing that we can find another way around the situation at hand will almost always trump throwing a tantrum.

What do you do with the mad that you feel?

Over the past week I have been lost in the world of Fred Roger’s biography ‘The good neighbor’. A lot of passages throughout this book resonated with me when traveling through his timeline in captivating chapters. A man who had his problems inwardly but from a very early age found ways in which to control them in a healthy manner. Then to consistently understand his emotions and mostly keep them harmonious.

His musical ability, children’s psychology and ability to articulate just how he was feeling at any one time was an incredible mix of all the right stuff to create the television show that he wanted the world to learn from. Mister Rogers’ neighborhood pioneered the way children learn through the medium and I was a little sad reading the book knowing that I didn’t experience the trail blazer series throughout my youth.

Throughout this book I found so many aspects and practices of this man utterly fascinating. But none more so than when his song ‘What do you do with the mad that you feel’ presented itself. His ability to articulate emotions for both children of the ages 2-7 and all the way to the parents that watch it with them. He sings about how you might be able to deal with the emotion of anger in productive non ruinous ways. The song resonated with me because I suppose over the years of my youth I found through running I could calm my anger amongst other frustrations I may have been dealing with.

One of Fred Rogers iconic songs

Understand and harness your anger

Now there are a number of other things that need to be addressed and cared for when experiencing anger. But the first thing that can and should be dealt with is the ability to embrace stillness. To take a deep breath or two and slow down. The anger will pass and the situation will resolve much faster and effectively if you are able to control yourself first. No good ever comes from acting and speaking in an aggressive manner when thoughtless provocative emotions are steering the wheel.

I find that my mind will go faster exponentially if I don’t slow myself down, therefor creating actions that I generally don’t look back on fondly following that scene.


What do YOU do with the hurt that you feel? Have a think about the last situation that you were quite mad in. What were your reactions and then the ramifications of that scenario? Do you think if you could change anything in that scene? Would it be to slow down? Perhaps take 3-5 minutes away from the person and come back in a more responsive way? Stillness or plain old slowing down is so often the simple answer for us all.

Closing thoughts

In anger we should refrain both from speech and action.

Pythagoras of Samos

Nick Donnellan

Self awareness is progression

2 thoughts on “Finding stillness in anger

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