Snow White never told me about Angry, Hangry and Cranky

Buddha has a saying that holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else – you are the one who gets burned.

I’m sorry to say that my hand has been hurting a lot lately.

Quitting smoking ranks up there as one of the best decisions I have made in my life and I haven’t even experienced all of its health benefits yet. But there’s a downside to everything. When I quit, something else rose up in its place: raw, unfiltered, negative emotions that can now run wild because nicotine can’t keep them at bay.

Adding dieting to the mix has given me a first-class ticket to Pissed Off City.

No need to keep your distance though. I’ve got this. And you’re here, so you’ve got this too.

I have two words for you: mindfulness and meditation.
My first exposure to this world was last year at my work where free mindfulness and meditation sessions take place during the lunch hour. And before you ask, no – I don’t work at a Buddhist temple. I work at a private liberal arts university.

Anyway, I attended a couple of these sessions in years past, but it’s often hard to break away from the office, so I’ve started doing guided meditations on my own – sometimes in my office, sometimes at home. It really doesn’t matter where it happens, as long as I make a habit of it.

I’m still a n00b, so there’s no top five list for this blog, but I will say that since I’ve been meditating everyday, I feel more focused and energized at work. While I’d have five tasks simultaneously vying for attention in my brain before, now I’m able to keep things prioritized. And those smug, snarky comments people say to me that I’d replay over and over in my head — pretty much a non issue now. The only time I haven’t quite conquered “busy brain” is when I wake up in the middle of the night. But it’s going to happen. I have patience!

Meanwhile, here are a few channels for brief and longer meditation/hypnosis sessions that I’ve been using lately:

Positive Meditation: This is a great Youtube channel because it contains guided meditations that all pretty much clock in at 10 minutes. Very convenient. Nice female voice.
The Honest Guys: Well there’s nothing hotter than a male British accent in my book, so I use this channel a lot.
Hypnosis with Natascha Julia: This is a good session for chilling out later in the day. Very relaxing.

Here is a great TED talk about how mindfulness has the power to transform your brain:


And some additional materials you might find useful:

Reclaim Your Brain – Dr. Joseph Annabali:
Why this helped me – Dr. Annabali spends quite a bit of time talking about mental illness and disabilities in this book. But even if you don’t suffer from the more severe issues, you’ll find some interesting parallels between garden variety stress, anger, anxiety and something such as PTSD or bipolar disorder. Someone with social anxiety might deal with the same issues as someone with depression. Someone who suffers from on-the-job or life stress could face similar brain activity as someone with ADHD. I’ve learned a lot about how to calm my busy brain and stop the record player from playing the same negative messages over and over in my head because of this book. I like that he offers prescription medication as kind of a last resort, when every other approach has failed on its own. How many doctors do you know who will do that?

The Confident Mind – Kyle McDonald:
Why this helped me – This is a weekly podcast by New Zealand psychotherapist Kyle McDonald. It’s worth subscribing to because he covers quite a number of topics from social anxiety, fear, inferiority, etc. And it’s free! This episode on anger resonated with me because he believes in diverting one’s attention toward the positive rather than suppressing or feeding into anger.

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