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A Philadelphia Life Coach Shows You How to Transform Your Upset and Calm Down

I grew up in a family with a rageaholic father. From him I learned that it's normal to get upset and to rant and rave when something bothers you.

I became quite good at it myself, loudly expressing my displeasure at the smallest annoyance and ignoring the costs of this behavior to myself and others. I couldn't understand why I had so much trouble keeping friends.

I didn't spare myself, either. When upset with something I'd done, I'd beat myself up, only slightly less kindly than I did others.

I had the good fortune to marry a calmer man from whom I have learned to calm down. I can tell you from personal experience how much happier life is when you learn to stay calm and take things in stride.

The Costs of Getting Upset

Getting upset impacts you physically. Your muscles tense, your blood pressure rises, your stomach knots up. Becoming emotionally distraught is simply less comfortable than staying calm and peaceful.

When you are upset you are affected mentally, as well. You become ineffective when you lose your temper and less able to deal rationally and appropriately with the situation at hand.

Your angry rage impacts negatively on your relationships. Your upset creates fear, anger and embarrassment in the people you care about. Friends and family may not say anything for fear of setting you off, but they are likely to resent your behavior. They may avoid you or try to get even in subtle ways.

I remember how embarrassed I used to feel after venting my rage. Once the anger subsided, I often found it difficult to comprehend how I'd gotten so bent out of shape. I felt sheepish about how I had acted and foolish about needing to apologize.

Many people inflict their rage, not on others, but on themselves. It's important to recognize and learn from your mistakes. Overreacting to your errors, though, will only make you miserable and undermine your self-confidence.

Anger itself is not the problem. Anger is a useful emotion signaling that something's wrong. It's the overreaction when you're angry or annoyed that creates problems in your life.

You Can Learn How To Calm Down

Awareness of the problems created by becoming upset at the annoyances of life is the first step toward change. Once you commit to making this change, it is entirely within your power to transform your reactions - both how you act and how you feel - and stay calm. As you become more accepting of yourself, other people and the inevitable disappointments of life in general, you will become less upset and more able to appropriately handle annoyances when they arise. What a relief!

How to Transform Upset and Learn to Calm Down

Here are the steps you can use to transform upset and stay calm:

1. Notice when you start getting upset.

Just having a part of yourself that is observing your enraged response, rather than fully participating in it creates a detachment that can help you stay calm.

2. Ask yourself, "Is what just happened worth getting upset about?"

If you are like most people accustomed to becoming upset when annoyed, your immediate response will be a resounding and heart-felt "Yes!!" If you take a closer look and are truly honest with yourself, chances are you'll be able to acknowledge that it's not that big a deal. What's more, though you might wish the situation were different, you can come to recognize that getting upset isn't going to improve anything. It will only make matters worse.

3. Notice how you feel when you let upset overtake you.

Pay careful attention to the impact of your upset on your body and your mind. Notice any tightness in your muscles or clenching in your gut. Be aware of the unpleasant thoughts and feelings aroused by your outrage. If your criticism is directed at yourself, notice how undermining those attacks on yourself truly are.

4. Ask yourself, "How would I be, if I weren't reacting this way?" and imagine yourself calm

If you are honest with yourself, you will note that you would be calmer and more peaceful, more comfortable and better able to deal with the situation if you let yourself calm down. From this perspective, you can see that your own upset is as much of a problem as whatever provoked your response.

Allow yourself to imagine how it would feel to stay calm. Invite the thoughts that would support a calm response, such as "This really isn't all that important" or "Maybe s/he didn't do that to hurt me." Visualize yourself responding appropriately when frustrated, disappointed or angry.

5. Practice the calm you have visualized

As you begin to visualize alternatives to overreacting, you become aware of the choices available to you. When you feel your upset beginning to arise, take a deep breath and consider your options. Ask yourself, "Would I rather get upset or stay calm in this situation?"

Gradually, as you practice new patterns of thought and behavior, you will learn how to calm down, replacing the old habit of upset with the habit of natural calm.

The Power of Calm

Calm is enormously empowering. When you stay calm you can rationally assess how to best handle the challenges you face. You accept the circumstances you have no control over and effectively impact those situations you can change. You learn from your mistakes and move on.

Above all, you can feel pride and satisfaction at having successfully transformed the old habit of upset into the practice of staying calm.

About Author Jeannette Samanen PhD :

Drawing on skills and expertise developed over 30 years experience, Philadelphia life coach Jeannette Samanen PhD provides effective life coaching, empowering you to achieve your goals. She can help you learn how to calm down. You will receive her free article "5 Easy Steps to Access Your Inner Wisdom" when you subscribe to her "Make Your Good Life Better" newsletter at <a href="" target="_blank"></a> .

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Article Added on Thursday, April 23, 2009
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