Everyone wants to be beautiful, young, healthy, and fit. Available diets and workouts have no end. Yet, the most important diet has been overlooked—this is a diet that releases stress, lets you sleep soundly at night, reduces cravings, makes you feel young, and brings wonderful possibilities into your life. This is a diet that gets rid of the number one toxin that destroys well-being: anger.

Road rage, school shootings, depression, workplace violence, addiction, and even the national obesity epidemic are manifestations of this great problem gripping our society. Anger has many faces. It appears in various forms and creates different consequences. Overt anger is the simplest to deal with and understand, but unfortunately, most anger lurks beneath the surface. As it often does not come to our awareness, it manifests in endless, hidden ways—as depression, anxiety, apathy, or hopelessness, among others.

Today, we fear all kinds of external enemies. It is not so easy to realize, however, that the worst enemy we face is the anger that resides within us, the terror it causes, and the way this poison affects so much of our lives. It is one thing to be told to calm down or to forgive one another. It is another to know how to do this. Even though we may want to forgive, anger can keep arising, disrupting our bodies, minds, and spirits.

However, we can take many specific steps to root this toxin out of our lives. As we do, the results will be reflected not only in our mental and emotional well-being but also in our environment and physical health. Love and forgiveness arise naturally, and our lives and relationships become all they are meant to be.

A Few of the 24 Forms of Anger

The first step in rooting anger out of our lives is to become aware of it. It is crucial that we recognize the many ways in which anger camouflages itself. When anger is allowed to remain camouflaged and hidden, it holds us in its grip. By recognizing the different forms of anger we begin the important step of replacing each one with a healthy antidote, thus letting it go. As we do this, it is easy to see that anger is a choice we make. By choosing to replace our angry responses with life-giving, constructive ones we can stop anger on the spot.

1.Straightforward anger, attack. This is anger that is clear-cut and easy to recognize. The anger comes right out. Many regret it afterward, feeling that they couldn’t control themselves. This kind of anger has a life of its own; it rises like a flash flood and can easily turn into verbal, emotional, or physical abuse.

2.Hypocrisy. You are angry, but you hide it beneath a smile and present a false persona, pretending to be someone that you’re not. This behavior evolves into bad faith of all kinds. Although you think that you are fooling others, in truth, you are losing yourself and your own self-respect.

3.Depression. Depression is pervasive these days, and it ranges the gamut from mild to severe. Depression is anger and rage turned against oneself. It comes from not being able to identify or appropriately express the anger one is feeling. It then simply turns into depression attacks against the person who is experiencing it.

Steps to Dissolving Anger

Needless to say, we can take many different steps to undo different forms of anger. The important point to realize is that anger can be dissolved in a moment. We can choose to see things differently. We can choose to have a different response.

It takes only a moment to escalate a situation, and in that same moment the trouble can be de-escalated. We must stop in the middle of automatic anger that arises and take charge of what is going on. We can and must decide that we will not let anger take over and rule. We have the right and responsibility to choose how we will respond.

1.Straightforward attack. Stop in the middle of a situation in which you feel angry or are being attacked. Rather than responding in a knee-jerk manner, say to yourself, “Like me, this person has suffered. Like me, this person wants to be happy. Like me, this person experiences loneliness and loss.” As you do this, you are recognizing the similarities and common humanity you share, rather than focusing on the differences. For a moment, allow the person to be right. You have plenty of time to be right later. Ask yourself what is more important to you, to be “right” or to be free of anger? Choose compassion, and see how you feel. See how the other feels as well. Watch new vistas open in your life.

2.Hypocrisy. When you notice yourself pretending, lying, exaggerating, or deceiving, stop. Tell the truth at that moment. Be the truth. If you do not know what the truth is, be silent, and become aware of what the deepest truth is for you. This does not mean pouring out negativity or blaming the other. It means taking responsibility for what is real and true for you. This will not only restore goodwill; it will also connect you with what is most meaningful in your life.

3.Depression. Make friends with yourself today. When we are depressed, we reject, hate, and blame ourselves. Undo this false state of mind. Find five things you admire and respect about who you are. Focus on sharing your good qualities with another. In depression we are only absorbed with ourselves. A wonderful antidote is to become absorbed with how you can reach out to help another.

As we root anger out of our lives and find meaningful substitutions, not only our lives but the lives of our loved ones, friends, and acquaintances will be lifted and enhanced. Try the full anger diet and see.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit http://www.selfgrowth.com/greatways.html

Author's Bio: 

A psychologist, relationship expert, speaker, and author, Dr. Shoshanna has a therapy practice in Manhattan. This article is based on her most recent book, The Anger Diet (30 Days To Stress-Free Living) (http://www.theangerdiet.com). A national speaker, workshop leader, and longtime student and practitioner of meditation, she provides psychological and spiritual guidance for building healthy relationships and becoming all that you are meant to be. Other books include Zen and the Art of Falling in Love, Zen Miracles, Save Your Relationship, and Living By Zen. In addition, Dr. Shoshanna is a frequent guest on radio and TV and runs workshops for couples on working through difficulty and renewing their love. Visit http://www.brendashoshanna.com, or reach her at topspeaker@yahoo.com.