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Health Assured team

17 February 2017

Being outraged all the time won’t help you fight back
  If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention,” goes an old slogan that made numerous appearances at recent protests against the presidency of the Bottomless Pit Of Need. I take the point, I suppose, but it’s always struck me as wrongheaded. More and more, these days, getting enraged about politics feels like a substitute for action: an addictive emotional experience that tricks you into thinking it might be effective, but mainly just serves as a distraction. The problem’s even worse on social media, which serves up an overwhelming quantity of stuff worth getting angry about, then seductively implies that firing off a zinger – or repeatedly stabbing the favourite button on other people’s zingers – is somehow a useful response.   It rarely is. The more likely result is “learned helplessness”, coined by the psychologist Martin Seligman, based on experiments he conducted in the 1960s, in which dogs were given electric shocks. Some had the option of stopping the shocks by pressing a lever. The others, which didn’t, soon learned that nothing they did made any difference – and they kept behaving helplessly even when, in the second stage of the experiment, they did have the chance to escape from the shocks. When getting angry leads to nothing much, over and over, defeatism sets in. Which is rather convenient, from the viewpoint of the politicians generating all those anger-inducing headlines.   Excerpt from The Guardian Online, to read the full article visit their website here.  

Calming your breathing

Breathing techniques to help relaxation and recuperation of energy
  Our breathing patterns vary depending on our needs and emotional state. When relaxed we breathe deeply, quietly and evenly. When under pressure we breathe shallow and fast, only using the top of our lungs (known as hyperventilation or over breathing). This will cause the body to eliminate too much carbon dioxide. It is vital that your correct rate and depth of breathing is maintained as much as possible, thus eliminating any stress related illnesses or anxiety associated over breathing.  
Calming breathing
  • Position yourself in a quiet environment at home or work
  • Make sure the air temperature is just right
  • Sit comfortably in a chair or relaxed position
  • Drop your shoulders naturally, so that your lungs can fully expand
  • Gently lift your head and fix your eyes straight ahead of you; don’t strain
  • Take 5 slow steady breaths
  • Begin ‘Calming Breathing’ by breathing in easily and gently to the count of 3, breathing out to the same count
  • This breathing should not be noticeable to others, only your calmness should be visible
  • Try to recognise signs of stress and identify situations that are stressful
  • The earlier that you use calming breathing the more effective it will be
Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Lie on the floor placing a small pillow under your head and another under your knees (this is optional)
  • Place your hands flat across your stomach, with just the tips of your fingers touching
  • ‘Bell’ out your stomach as you breathe in, filling the lower lobes of your lungs with air.
  • Your fingers should move apart and count to 3
  • As you breathe out to the count of 3, flatten your stomach muscles
  • Your fingers will be drawn together again
  • Practice diaphragmatic breathing in any stress-evoking situation
  For more techniques to increase your mental wellbeing visit the Health and Wellbeing Portal for tips and support or contact the 24 hour helpline now.

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