What to do when you’re angry at the state of the world
It can be hard to know what to do with pent-up anger over worldwide events, especially when it feels like you have little control. Here we explore ways to cope with this anger
There is a lot happening in the world right now. For some of us, the events unfolding are giving rise to some serious anger. Why isn’t more being done? What does our future look like? Why is change taking so long?
I spent a few minutes on Twitter this morning (ironically looking for article ideas) and, within a few minutes, I felt a familiar fire creeping up my torso (anger, not indigestion). This type of anger is difficult to handle. It’s broad and aimed at multiple people, systems and events. While a few calming breaths may take the edge off the intensity, it doesn’t quell it entirely. There’s also a lack of control fueling this anger, giving it a hopeless edge that sits heavy in your heart.
So, what can we do with this anger? What can we do when we’re not in a position to make the changes we want to see? I’m not going to claim to have all the answers, but I have some ideas to try. They might not eradicate the anger, but I hope they can help us channel it in a way that’s helpful, not harmful.
Allow yourself to feel the anger
We have to start by acknowledging our anger. It’s tempting to want to push it down, smothering it with positivity. But anger only grows when left unchecked. Instead, try to give yourself some space and time to look at the anger. This may be through a cathartic journaling session, or perhaps speaking to a friend, family member or therapist. Cry those tears of frustration.
Do you know what I really want to try? Going to a rage room. A space where you can smash stuff up and let that anger flow through your veins in a safe way.
However you do it, try not to fear this anger. It’s a human response and one we can experience and process in healthy ways. By giving it space, we let it move through us and dissipate, so we can think clearly and make our next move.
Remember that lack of control I mentioned? Something that can soften this edge is taking some sort of action. Of course, this will depend on what you’re feeling angry about, but there may be petitions you can sign, protests to attend or charities to donate to, fighting for change. And if you’re over the age of 18? Vote. Vote in local elections, vote in general elections – just make sure your voice is heard.
In this video, I chat to counsellor Carol-Anne Cowie about inequality, its effect on mental health and what more needs to be done.
Connect with your community
When we’re angry, we might feel a pull to isolate ourselves from others. Reaching out to others, however, is a helpful way of regaining a sense of peace and hope. Being around people we know and love can lead to laughs, smiles and deeper connections. Meeting new people can remind us of the good in the world and open our eyes to new perspectives.
We can also come together with our community to make change and even engage in community care. Not sure where to start? Search for community support groups and organisations near you.
Do good to feel good
We may not have control over what people in power do, but we can live our values. If you feel this type of anger, chances are you have strong values in life, and living in alignment with these values can help you feel more at peace.
Not sure what your values are? Take a look at our core value guide.
If supporting others and having a positive impact in the world is a value of yours, now is a brilliant time to engage. Why not try your hand at volunteering? Find a cause you care about and find out how you can lend your skills to support it. Keen to work on your health whilst doing good? Check out GoodGym, where you can stay fit by helping others. Kindness has a ripple effect and has more power than you know.
Read books, not news
Ok, I’m not suggesting you completely ignore the news. We need to stay informed, but if you’re finding the constant influx of news is affecting your wellbeing, it may be time for a break. Tune into words that inspire and lift you, perhaps by seeking out positive news stories or by reading more fiction. Instead of podcasts, I’ve been filling my ears with audiobooks and can highly recommend.
Not sure what to read? The Reading Well list contains books recommended by health experts and are ideal if you want to gain a little more self-awareness.
Look after yourself, as best you can
Suggesting self-care can feel a little inappropriate when the anger we’re feeling is about things no amount of self-care can solve. But the truth is, if we want to stand up for change, if we want to feel more at ease in tough situations, and if we want to support those in need… we have to look after ourselves. It sounds cliche, but yesterday I did this meditation and felt a stillness I hadn’t realised I was craving.
Your self-care might look different, and that’s OK. Do what feels right for you, I just encourage you to carve out a little time to honour your needs, because you deserve it. We all do.
If you’re finding it hard to cope, help is available. Depending on your situation and needs, we have a list of places to get help, including helplines and private support.