It’s OK To Have An Angry Day

Instead of trying to deny or change negative feelings, acknowledge them and work on making the most of  your day. Remember, it's ok to have an angry day.

Most days I wake up feeling pretty good.

Since being properly treated for my depression for about a year now (!), I no longer wake up feeling anxious, lethargic, and like the whole world is out to get me. I usually wake up ready to take on the day and able to practice gratitude for all the things I have and have worked for over time.

The other week I did not have one of those days.

I woke up feeling overwhelmed and dreading the day as it lay before me. There wasn’t any particular reason for my feeling this way, so being neurotic as I am, I immediately went to “OMG MY MEDICATION ISN’T WORKING ANYMORE. I’M DEPRESSED. MY LIFE IS SPIRALING OUT OF CONTROL. I’M NOT JOYOUS IMMEDIATELY AFTER WAKING. WHAT’S THE REASON FOR THIS? WHAT’S THE REEEEASON??”

I felt rushed and confused, which made me afraid, which led me to having little to no patience for the rest of the day. Usually when I’m fearful, it translates to sadness and inactivity for me, but this time it transformed itself into anger.

I was angry at the people on the street. They walked too slow. They were in my way. They were talking too loud on their stupid phones. They were taking touristy pictures with that stupid statue I hate near my house. Everything they did was stupid and I wanted nothing to do with anyone.

Here’s what I do with feelings that are categorized as “negative” or “bad”: I tell myself to stop feeling them immediately because they are undesirable and I shouldn’t be having them.

Note: this is not what you SHOULD do, but it is my default from years of reinforcement.

Every negative feeling I would have, from sadness to jealousy to anger, I would tell myself to stop. Just stop it. There’s no use for this feeling, it will always pass anyway, and you should be feeling “good” feelings such as happiness and joy.

Now here’s the problem with feelings and one that I didn’t learn until I was like 28 years old — feelings are crazy. They’re nuts. They’re like a 2 year old child that you chase all around the house. You simply can’t control them. They’re their own being, they show up, and your role is simply reactionary.

Basically, the only way out of feelings is through. The longer you try and control them, the more petulant they get.

It drives me insane when I can’t find a reason for feeling a certain way. Absolutely insane. I’m such a practical and scientific-minded person that THERE MUST ALWAYS BE A REASON FOR EVERYTHING. The truth is that sometimes feelings just come up. The only thing you can do is acknowledge them and move on.

In my angry-day example, I started off the day by trying to figure out the angry. Where did it come from? What was I scared of? Could I trace it back to anything in particular? When the answer was no, I started ruminating over it and trying to force myself to feel a different way. IF THERE’S NO REASON FOR IT, THEN IT CAN’T BE RIGHT. MUST. FIX. FEELINGS.

The problem with this approach is that the longer you deny a feeling, the longer it stays with you. Think about feelings like puppies. Try and ignore one and it will continue to crawl all over you or nip you with its sharp puppy teeth or jump on you until you pay attention to it. If you simply stop and give it the attention it needs, you’ll be more likely to go about your day without it commanding your every moment of attention. Play with it a little until it gets tired and goes to sleep. 🙂

Ok, back to my angry day. As soon as I realized I needed to pay attention to the anger, which was brought about from fear, which was brought about by waking up in a funky mood, I accepted that it was just an off day and pretty soon my mind stopped being consumed with it.

Every day is not going to be sunshine. The next time something upsets you or even if you feel negatively for no apparent reason, just acknowledge that feeling. Don’t try and change it. Accept it for what it is and then take steps to make the most out of your day.

Remember, it’s ok to have an angry day.

Thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud.

Questions:

  • Have you ever had an angry day?
  • What do you do with negative feelings?
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33 Comments

  1. August 25, 2016 / 5:37 am

    I think that, in general, we need to allow ourselves to have emotions and feelings. It is when they consistently interfere with our lives and are based on nothing (ie: anxiety attacks over insignificant things) that we need to look into the problem further and ask ourselves if what is going on is a redirection of feelings that we can handle on our own or if we need intervention.
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…Now That The Olympics Are OverMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 25, 2016 / 9:11 pm

      Totes girl, totes.

  2. August 25, 2016 / 6:10 am

    Ugh…I hate feelings. They just take over sometimes and I have zero control. I find myself having completely irrational thoughts from them but then I realize I’m tired or stressed and that is the root of them and that they’re really not true. Great post!
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…Why You’re Struggling To Lose WeightMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 25, 2016 / 9:11 pm

      Thanks girl! I know – they can be so annoying!!

  3. August 25, 2016 / 7:12 am

    Funny you should ask…im having an angry day today! hahaha so funny! Thanks for this–absolutely needed to hear this today! Also, is it my fault that everyone was walking too slow on the way to work today?! 😉
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…Thoughts on Meat & DairyMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 25, 2016 / 9:12 pm

      Haha no there’s no excuse for that. I hope your day is going better!

  4. Lise
    August 25, 2016 / 7:52 am

    As my sponsor always tells me, the root of most of my problems on any given day, is self-centered fear.

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 25, 2016 / 9:12 pm

      Absolutely.

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 25, 2016 / 9:12 pm

      Isn’t it weird how that happens?

  5. August 25, 2016 / 10:55 am

    This is really good for me to read, because I often just get depressed when I have an off day, but identifying the cause of the problem really does help so much, because it helps you to be logical about it and actually face the problem instead of running from it.
    Emily recently posted…WIAW: How to Find Peace in ChaosMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 25, 2016 / 9:13 pm

      Absolutely. And sometimes there may not be a readily identifiable root of the problem. Those are the most frustrating for me. You just have to ride it out.

  6. August 25, 2016 / 11:18 am

    Man oh man do I have these days. Usually it happens if I forget to take my birth control for a day or too. My hormones go INSANE. And everything makes me mad. Knowing the cause helps me sometimes, but then there are days we just feel suckish and don’t know why. I think you’re helping a lot of people by acknowledging that it’s okay to not shove down those feelings. To experience them and allow yourself to be human.
    Cayanne Marcus @healthyezsweet recently posted…I Have A Dream(ish)My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 25, 2016 / 9:14 pm

      That’s the goal! It can be so annoying but sometimes you just have to go through them

  7. August 25, 2016 / 6:56 pm

    I think one of the worst things we can do when we have a bad day is beat ourselves up over it. Because then, not only are we having an off day, but we’re making ourselves feel even worse by thinking that we shouldn’t be feeling that way. Not every day is going to be sunshine and rainbows, and sometimes no matter what we do, we’re just gonna feel like crap. Thankfully a good night’s sleep usually fixes things right up.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…pumpkin is coming & i’m a sucker for pain (ToL#197)My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 25, 2016 / 9:14 pm

      Yeah it’s usually back to normal sooner than later. It’s when things stick around for awhile that it might be good to put a little more focus on what’s going on

  8. August 25, 2016 / 8:17 pm

    Thanks for this reminder. I am the same way – if I wake up feeling “off” or god-forbid, angry, I feel like there has to be this huge explanation and then, when there’s not, I just beat myself up. Nope. Sometimes people – all of us – just get in a bad mood. It’s ok!
    And, considering I am on my 2nd day of taking an antidepressant, I’m going to try my darnedest to remember that bad days happen even when medicated!!
    Catherine @ A Cup of Catherine recently posted…Motherhood: Successes and FailsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 25, 2016 / 9:15 pm

      Ooh good luck! Let me know if you want to talk about anything. The first week or two when I started mine were a little rough

  9. August 25, 2016 / 8:21 pm

    This was me just now trying to make dinner and spilling things. Then I flailed and knocked over a box and scared Gus and Indy. When I went to comfort them, Kai stole half of the food off the counter. Eff this day! Haha
    Bri recently posted…Product Review: HUM Nutrition supplementsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 25, 2016 / 9:16 pm

      Hahaha aw. Poor babies. I loved imagining that happening

  10. August 25, 2016 / 8:31 pm

    Ugh Erin I love these posts. Our minds are crazy things. I’ve been having off days here and there and I just don’t even know WHAT to think some times. But I think you’re right about just accepting how you feel and trying to move on.

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 25, 2016 / 9:16 pm

      Yeah it’s the best thing I’ve found. I usually feel better the next day

  11. August 25, 2016 / 9:07 pm

    Wow. AMAZING post. You have no idea how much I needed to read this today.

    I’m having more of a sad, defeated, powerless day. And there are reasons for it.

    But I’m still trying to squash those feelings down and tell myself I’m wrong for feeling this way.

    But you’re right. It’s okay to feel sometimes. And it helps to read about your journey.

    Thank you, as always, for sharing and being so open, Erin.

    xoxo
    Robyn

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 25, 2016 / 9:18 pm

      Ahh Robyn I’m sorry you’re having a tough day. I wish I could always shove negative feelings aside bc it’s so much easier than actually going through them. I find the more I do that though the quicker I can move past them. Let me know if you ever want to talk or grab coffee or whatevvvvaaaaa! 🙂

      • Robyn Lynne Norris
        September 3, 2016 / 6:59 pm

        Thanks Erin!

        Things have gotten better. Just a rough week! But I’m back in Chicago remounting the show and would love to grab coffee sometime! 🙂

        Robyn

        • erinsinsidejob
          September 7, 2016 / 8:32 am

          Yay! That would be magical. Shoot me an email when you have time!

  12. August 25, 2016 / 9:31 pm

    Girl, I have angry days all the time. Well, maybe not days, but 1/2 days or hours – lol! We are all allowed to feel the emotions we feel. If anyone tells us we can’t, well F THEM. They don’t deserve even a second of your time!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…It’s Time For A Do OverMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 25, 2016 / 9:32 pm

      The funny thing is that it took me so. many. years to figure that out. Crazy!

      • August 25, 2016 / 10:01 pm

        Well I am thrilled you no longer think that way! It’s so freeing right? We all go through the phase of thinking we need to be a specific way, when really… We can be and do whatever the heck we want! 🙂
        GiGi Eats recently posted…It’s Time For A Do OverMy Profile

  13. August 27, 2016 / 9:03 am

    Such a great reminder. Sometimes I wake up like that too, and I often get mad at myself for being angry. I have learned to just let myself feel that anger and pray that it will pass. Thank you for this Erin!

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 27, 2016 / 1:03 pm

      Anytime! Glad it was helpful!!

  14. August 30, 2016 / 3:32 pm

    So, I chuckled at your anger, not because it’s funny, but because it’s SO MUCH LIKE ME when I’m having a cranky day.
    Girl, I feel you (ha, see what I did there) so much on this. We need to FEEL our FEELINGS and whatever it is that you feel, it’s valid.
    Some days I just close my office door and put myself in a timeout because I am not fit to be around others and that is totally okay!
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Why I Love Chefs Plate CalgaryMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      August 30, 2016 / 5:02 pm

      Haha love it. Even if I’m cranky I still feel better knowing it’s ok to feel that way /)

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