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Is anger ruling your life?

Are you finding your anger hard to control? It can be exhausting and confusing when strong emotions take over our lives. Here Mary Fenwick gives advice to one reader to help overcome her angry outbursts

by Psychologies

anger, short-temper, tiredness

Reader's dilemma: “My fuse is so short these days and I’m tired of myself ”

I have completely lost my patience over the past year. I get angry all the time, whether it’s at the state of my teenage son’s bedroom, my partner never talking to me or people not wearing their masks properly. I was calm before but, recently, I get cross constantly. Please help me cheer up, because it’s getting me down. Angela, 50

Mary's advice: Your letter will get nods of recognition because many of us feel this way and, even if we don’t, it only takes one visit to the supermarket or a news story to remind us. It’s a good sign that you are feeling something. If you had tipped over into burnout, you would feel more cynical, detached or lacking in belief that things could get better.

The best advice I can give you is to ignite your curiosity and discover new parts of yourself. Learning will give you a sense of accomplishment and a chance to lose yourself in something that you love. A friend took up welding through a course with Women That Fabricate and says, ‘I lose track of time, and it fills me with so much joy that other things stop mattering.’

The website Action for Happiness has other ideas, all evidence-based, ranging from spending time in nature to finding a way of volunteering in your local community.

None of this is to suggest you should fight your feelings. We get ourselves in a real tangle when we feel angry, then shame for feeling it, then impatience with the whole cycle. If that’s what’s happening, it might be useful to look into acceptance and commitment therapy. Coach Simon Mundie’s podcast with psychotherapist Russ Harris is a good place to start.

Mary Fenwick is a writer, speaker and executive coach; she's also a mother, divorcée and widow. Follow Mary on Twitter @MJFenwick. Got a question for Mary? Email [email protected], with ‘MARY’ in the subject line.

More inspiration:

Watch Maxine Harley's video How to Understand and Control your Anger on LifeLabs

Photograph: Getty Images

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