Walk out your anger

How to trek your way from ticked off to tranquil
By Dafna Izenberg

Whether your co-worker is helpfully telling your boss about the great idea “both” of you had, your dog has eaten the flowers, or the bank just called to say your debit card is been used in Spain, sometimes anger is just unavoidable. How you deal with it, though, can make all the difference. Our anywhere, anytime plan: Grab your jacket and get outside for 15 minutes. Take a trip (or two) around the block and you’ll bring your blood back down from the boiling point. Here’s how:

Be quick
Keep up a good pace, and walking, like any exercise, will get the blood flowing through your body, and oxygen to your brain, explains chiropractor and professional lacrosse player Patrick Maddalena, from St. Catharines, Ont. That will make your thinking clearer – which will help you see that splashing scalding coffee in your co-worker’s face is, in fact, not a brilliant idea.

See beyond the problem
When you get mad, your mind focuses on what’s wrong. That’s important, because you need to know what’s bothering you if you want to change it. But once you’ve determined the issue, shift your focus to problem solving, says Julie Christiansen, a lead trainer at Anger Solutions in St. Catharines, Ont. She gives her clients specific questions to ponder, like “What is the lifetime value of this event: Will I care about this one year from now, or 10 years from now?” and “What’s the best thing that can happen if I take a specific action to resolve the problem? What’s the worst thing that can happen?”

Shake off the stress
When you’ve returned, plan to go for another walk later that day. After you’ve cleared your head, or you’ve even cleared the air with the person who pissed you off, you’re probably left feeling a little off. “Expressing yourself and looking for ways to solve the problem generates a certain amount of negative energy,” says Christiansen. “Walking at the end of all of that helps you relieve that residual energy, and brings your body back down to a baseline where you’re not stressed.”


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