November 04, 2008

Elections are all the rage these days...

Photos from Michi1308 and uhuru1701


The way I look at it, by the end of the day there are going to be a lot of angry Americans out there whoever wins the election. (Maybe also a lot of angry Canadians, Brazilians, Lichtensteiners, and such.)

CNN warns that being angry can be bad for your health ... cardiovascular problems, lung issues, nasty stuff. They recommend breathing exercises to help you calm down. That's great if it works, but sometimes it's like taking deep breaths when you're trying to get to sleep -- it becomes actively irritating.

Psychology Today had an interesting article on anger: "If Anger Helps You Feel in Control, No Wonder You Can't Control Your Anger!"

I liked that article, and it got me thinking. The Old Merry used to use food or drink as ways to deal with frustration. Crunching carrots is great in a lot of respects, but it just doesn't have the same effect when you're having a bad day.

Having a bad day? Scrub!

I read a book on organizing my life, and it talked about using cleaning as therapy, suggesting cleaning out a drawer or cleaning the bathroom as useful outlets when upset. I tried this, and it's a pretty good way to vent when you're having a bad day. Kinda like the old slogan: "If you want to understand a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, even if you still don't understand the man, you're a mile away and have his shoes."Even if cleaning doesn't completely dispel the anger, it provides an outlet for your feelings plus you've got a clean bathtub.

Suddenly I understand my sister the Total Neat Freak. That was how she controlled her environment, using Chlorox to drown every subversive germ out there into submission.

How to go from anger to Goodwill

When you're righteously pissed off it is a lot easier to get rid of clutter. For one thing, if the driving emotion coursing through your system is an overwhelming sense of anger, you're much less likely to feel the possessive clinginess of insecurity. That's when it's easier to donate those old jeans that don't really suit you any more. Let them go.

A variant on this might be to put the jeans into the Goodwill box, then not actually take the box to Goodwill until you've calmed down. The ancient Medes and Persians were reputed to debate matters twice -- once when they were drunk and once when they were sober -- before coming to a decision. A modern version, with less empty calories, might be to try the angry/calm idea instead.

Why not vent at the gym?

It's much healthier to expend your frustration on defenseless mildew in the bathroom or a messy closet than it is to bury your emotions in food or drink. Better still would be to work out your frustration in exercise, but if that's not an option for some reason, try cleaning!

What do you do when you're angry? Yell? Demand a recount? Stomp your feet? Watch your muscles grow while your skin turns green and all the neighbors run away screaming?

My name's Merry, and I approved this message.


  1. What a great tie in to anger management :)

    Cleaning so helps...maybe I should get angry more often though? Might have a clean house? Eh, I'll take the clutter to be in my zen place more often :)

    I hope everyone give the "winner", no matter who it is, a chance to screw up before getting really mad! I'm hoping to be pleasantly suprised no matter how it turns out (I have a theory that all polliticians are bad...I hope they prove me wrong!).

  2. Since today is the day we pack up the van and take care of about 1,000 put-off chores, I suppose it would be a handy day to be angry... but since it's also the day we vote for a new president I would really NOT like to fuel my efforts with frustration.

    Here's for a fraud-free, orderly, no-eight-hour-lines vote today. I'd rather see my guy in office, not be angry, and pack a little slower.

  3. I never understood the getting angry over an election. I'll be disappointed if it doesn't go the way I'd like but angry? no. I won't get angry until the president begins to screw everything up like the one we have now. That does make me angry.

    As for how I deal with my anger. It depends I guess. Sometimes it's healthy such as cleaning and other times it's not healthy such as screaming at an innocent passerby for no apparent reason. Or the cat. Yea. Hey she deserved to have that water dumped on her head when I about fell and broke my neck because she flooded my kitchen floor again. :-)

  4. But, but, but, someday somehow I'm gonna fit in those jeans again and my life will finally be perfect.

    :-) Happy voting

  5. Cleaning is just the best form of anger management!!

  6. I've never thought of venting frustration through cleaning (sadly, I'm a take it out on a bag of chips kinda girl). But I'm going to try it next time I'm pissy. My goodness, some windows might get washed for the first time in years!

  7. I'm so weird but when I'm angry I clean!

  8. I never understood the anger either only in that it wont *chage* anything.

    here's hoping it is all decided today.

  9. I now get why my room at my parents' house was always spotless, and my room in college, and no are less than perfect.

  10. I'm a slammer/banger, as in I like to slam doors and bang things around when I'm angry, but that tends to scare the kids and pets, so now I grab a rag and start wiping things down with the fury of a tasmanian devil. Sparkling cabinets + a calmer me = happier family.

  11. When I'm angry it's not safe to clean. Things would get broken. I yell, mostly, and pound on walls. Nice solid walls.
    (Of course, sometimes it's the cleaning that _makes_ me angry. What to do?)

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  12. I'm a door slammer and yeller too. I usually just leave the house and go for a run, or play hockey, or rugby, or something.

    As for cleaning, I remember my mom doing that, and I tend to follow, but its usually the brooding stage, not the flat out anger. Cleaning is a way to think it out, but if I'm already pissed it doesn't work.

  13. Oh, I never thought about people who are mad about cleaning! That would be a problem.

    I think using exercise to deal with anger is even better than cleaning. (Exercise as in running around a track, not slamming innocent defenseless door...)

  14. Oooh I love it! I'm not mad yet but then I haven't tried to vote yet only to be told I have to wait in line for 4 hours with 3 screaming kids. I'll be sure to keep your tips in mind"!

  15. I think there are times when directed anger can be useful. Anger undirected turns inward and is not so good. It's probably an individual thing. I was at a national meeting one time and one of the pioneers in my field was ranting in front of 1000's of people in attendance. He was in his 80's and I thought that there was an "angry young man" to be proud of :-)

    PS Early voting in Florida made it so easy in my town, not like national TV portrayed!

  16. LOL. I usually complain and then run. But on days when I can't run, I really should try cleaning. Use that extra energy for something good!

  17. clearing away clutter helps me vent, so I've combined your anger mgt cleaning tip with donating to goodwill!

  18. What a great post! So much of what you write makes absolute sense -- love Ellen's comments! Depending upon what my anger's directed at, I will either eat or feel self-righteous enough to go to the gym for a manic workout! (Sounds silly, as if there were different "types" of anger, but I never tried scrubbing as a conduit to a peaceful mental state!) I'll give it a try next time the need to vent bubbles up! Thanks for the idea! I look forward to voting today - as a Californian, lots to decide...

  19. I don't like being angry and avoid it whenever possible. It takes a lot to get me angry--but this election has done it. Many times. I get angry over lies, misrepresentations, hate, demogogery, subversion of democracy, etc., etc. For a couple of spells over the last two years I've been put on a news diet.

    Then lo and behold, I discovered political cartooning. Now I can handle any and all of it! Because I know I can draw a cartoon of whatever strikes me and send it out to everyone I know.

    (Except now my hand is messed up again and I haven't been able to set it down on paper. I mean my hand, literally, on paper. So I'm a little anxious at the moment. It'll all be over by tomorrow...:-P)

  20. Excellent post and terrific link.

    I don't get angry if my candidate loses an election. (It has happened any number of times) But if I really believe in my choice (as I do this time) I get very depressed if my choice doesn't win. Here's hoping that won't happen this time, but if it does, I have the anger tricks to try.

    Thanks. Terrie

  21. Heh...I just remembered when I was little, watching the Hulk on our black and white TV. I was so mad that I couldn'ty actually *see* when he turned green. It was just sort of greyish :)
    I try and go for a walk or run or do chores when I'm angry. I can really do chores I don't like when I'm mad...scrub the tub, rake the yard. It helps be burn off the anger and then when I calm down I can be around people again and think clearly. Something about physical exertion takes the fire off. I also find that I need to feel my anger...I'm bad for ignoring it or I used to calm it with food. Now I try and feel it and talk myself through it, and then when I'm more level I bounce my thoughts (softly) off my husband.

  22. I voted last Monday, so I won't have anger at waiting in line today!

    When I do get angry, I either go for a run, or go on a cleaning binge. I usually get the kitchen clean, then run out of steam. But hey, I feel better and the vein in my forehead no longer threatens to burst!

  23. Yeah, when I'm stressed I clean. When life is feeling out of control, I do laundry. When I'm worried, I organize.

    You'd think either my life is perfect and my house a mess, or my house is spotless and my life's a mess.

    It's somewhere in the middle. Though today I see a big decluttering of my workroom as I avoid the talking heads on TV.

  24. Hmmm... when I get angry I stuff it. Not good I know - I will have to try the cleaning bit!

  25. I don't tend to get angry often. I get frustrated and irritated sometimes, but not really angry. In the past, when my candidate didn't win, even if I was upset about it, I didn't get angry because what's the point? It was more a sense of fatalism, like now what the hell's going to happen to this country?

  26. If things don't go my way today, I will probably experience more in the way of sadness and disappointment then anger.
    Cleaning and organizing does help when I feel angry and agitated - something about putting things just where they belong does help!

  27. It never occurred to me to clean things as a form of anger management. Maybe because cleaning itself makes me angry. Dammit, didn't I just clean this ^#*^*$#! dish/sink/toilet last week????

    Running helps me, though. If I run long enough, far enough, I come home too worn out to be mad about much of anything. I just want food, a shower, and a good long nap.

  28. Very witty and entertaining post today. I love taking my anger out on the gym, but I recognize that is not always the best solution either.

  29. I'm also big on cleaning when frustrated (except then you run the risk of breaking dishes... oops). And walking does wonders, of course!

  30. Anger...Hummm, how to cope...I organize/clean! It helps me put everything in order, and for some reason, the physical act of throwing things out helps to throw out the anger.

    Ohhh, pretty leaves falling, should probably rake this weekend...And take down Halloween decorations...

    That being said, I also love playing ball when I'm mad, it makes my resolve to do things correctlyand with lots o power even better. When I'm angry, I always seem to get up and over that damn coed net much easier and find an open hole on the court.

    As for voting...Can we say "Thank the Lord" for mail voting in Oregon?! It may be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

  31. Sambo... Amen! I wish other states would follow Oregon/Washington's lead on the mail-in ballot system.

    Lines? What lines?

  32. Thank you for putting the GYM as a great place to let out anger. Exercise is imperative for stress relief. People tend to neglect exercise when they are stressed failing to realize that this is the ONE thing that will help you feel better. When I'm "angry", I pump some SERIOUS iron.

    Great post.


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