Do You Really Want Your Neighbor’s Wonderful Life?

Are you feeling angry? Tired?  Frustrated? Envious? Do you think you are working harder than ever, yet not making much progress?

If your answer is yes, you are not alone.

Millions of people feel that life is passing them by. No matter what they do, it is always the other guy who gets the promotion, buys fancy cars, and sends his kids to Harvard, while they are barely treading water.

Are they right? And if so, what is the solution?

Facebook version of reality

Beach Vacation

Beach Vacation

You “friend” people on Facebook. Or other “social media” sites. Then they send you pictures of their beach vacations, their happy and smart kids, their new cars. And here you are, struggling with the daily grind of your mundane life.


Anger often arises if you want something badly, and your desires are thwarted. Or you think you deserve something, and yet you end up not getting it.

Frustration commonly has similar roots.


The real world exists.

We want it to be a certain way, but it is a stubborn beast. It goes along its merry way, impervious to our desires. It defies our efforts to control it.

Sooner or later, reality clashes with our expectations. The results, if not put into perspective, can be disastrous.

Grown-ups’ problems

tantrumAs children, we are often pampered. If we want something, we go to our parents, and demand we get it. If we don’t get our way, some of us throw a tantrum.

And then we grow up.

Control and compare

The first clash with reality in an adult world comes through comparisons.

We look at our colleagues and our neighbors. And we feel envious if they are better off than we are. Because we feel that we are just as smart as they are, if not smarter.

Envy, if not dealt with firmly and rationally, leads to resentment, bitterness, and anger.

From here, where?

So you are upset. You are better (you think), but your colleagues get all the riches. You hate that.

angryWhere is this going to lead you? Anger, hatred, resentment … this is a recipe for sleepless nights and an acid feeling in your gut. Will this make you any richer? Will that Lamborghini parked next door find its way into your garage?

No, and no.

You will be no richer, and your outlook towards life is likely to get clouded. Your enjoyment of life will diminish.

So what is the answer?

We need less envy, and more clarity of thought, more empathy, more gratitude.

Think about it.

You envy your neighbor’s mansion, his big car, his fancy vacations. But they do not exist in a vacuum. They are often the end result of a number of decisions he made along the way. Decisions which you do not know about. Decisions that you might not have made if you had that choice.

Perhaps he studied hard while his college classmates were out partying.

Perhaps he toiled at part-time jobs while others were slumped in front of their TVs, sipping beer and devouring potato chips.

Do you want his whole life?

This is the real clincher.

Your neighbor’s life is a package deal.

LamborghiniYou drool over his car. But with it might come his son’s drug addiction, his wife’s loneliness and depression, the alimony he pays to ex-wives, and the grief he gets from them. If you want his car, you will have to accept his problems, too. Ready for the deal?

Pick and choose

That is what we want to do. We want the “Facebook” elements of others’ lives, but we want to steer clear of their problems, many of which we do not even know about. Life does not work like that.

Live happily ever after?

And even if you got your neighbor’s life, and his riches, then what? You will ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after? Hardly. Life is not a Hollywood movie.

Where now?

You need a strategy to deal with life. Bitterness, envy, resentment, anger, and frustration are not strategies. They are symptoms. Symptoms that you are not happy in your own skin.

Accept reality

You are what you are. Sit down. Take a deep breath in. Look deep inside you. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Be grateful for what you have. You probably have more than a lot of the 7 billion or so people on this planet, especially if you live in the Western world.

Then take a cold, hard look at your problems. Is the lack of a Mercedes a real problem? Do you really need a beach house and several million dollars to be happy in this world? If so, mankind is really doomed.

What matters in life

Sooner or later, you will have to decide what it is that you really want. What will make you happy? What will give your life meaning? What will give you satisfaction?

If your answers deal with material things, you will always be disappointed. Kids will move out, and the large house will be mostly empty, except for stuff. Stuff that nobody uses anymore.

JunkThe car will lose its shine. The new car smell will fade. Eventually, it will go to the junk yard.

Stuff is temporary. Life is temporary.

The neighbor’s Lamborghini? It will end up as scrap metal one day.

So what should you do?

  • Remember all the good things that have happened to you.
  •  Be Grateful!

    Be Grateful!

    Be grateful for all of them.

  • Live in the moment and enjoy it to the fullest. This is the only moment you have. The past is gone. The future is not guaranteed. So enjoy all aspects of the present moment. This is when you are alive. This is your life.
  • Focus on friends, family, love.
  • You have one life. It might not be perfect. But it is yours. Live it, instead of grumbling about it.


If You’re Happy And You Know It, Clap Your Hands!

People get richer; countries get richer. Yet, happiness remains elusive.

Do we know anything?

If you want to pursue anything, or search for anything, you need to know what it is.

If you want a tiger, but keep chasing rabbits, you will end up disappointed.

So what are we looking for? What do we want to measure? Can we even measure it?

Money? Satisfaction?

All of us want to be happy. Or so we say. Sometimes, however, our actions suggest quite the opposite. So either we do not know what we are looking for, or we only pay lip service to the pursuit of happiness.


Quite often, we believe that becoming rich will automatically make us happy. So we make vigorous efforts to earn money, hoping that happiness will follow. We are disappointed when it does not.

Much has been written about the connection between money and happiness. There is some evidence that above an income level of $75,000 per year, money does not contribute significantly to happiness, or at least day-to-day feelings of joy. This is discussed further in a previous post:

Satisfaction can be another issue. Nobody is ever satisfied with the amount of money they are earning, and most of us would like to earn more.

Happiness in the world

Human beings are keenly interested in money. So countries have long been ranked according to how rich they are, as broadly reflected by their Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, the realization soon emerged that the richest countries are not necessarily the happiest.

But how do you go about measuring happiness? It is tough enough in an individual, never mind a country. The first World Happiness Report of 2012 showed us the way, and the latest report is from 2015.

Gross National Happiness


The king of Bhutan coined this term in the 1970s to emphasize the importance of spiritual values and human emotions, and not just simply dollars and cents in evaluating the well-being of people and nations.

In 2011, the United Nations passed a resolution to make happiness a part of its agenda of global development.

The concept of Gross National Happiness stresses good governance, environmental awareness and conservation, cultural values, and sustainable development.

Mexico? Costa Rica?

The World Happiness report of 2015 lists Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, and Norway as being the top four happiest countries in the world, with Canada being the fifth.

costa rica

Interestingly, Costa Rica is at number12, and Mexico at number 14, just above the United States at number 15. India is ranked number 117, out of a total of 158 countries listed.

What are the criteria?

Happiness and well-being are important markers of social progress. Public planners are increasingly focusing on these goals for the citizens of their respective countries.

Measuring these parameters objectively, and presenting data which cut across international differences is a challenge, which the authors of the World Happiness Report have been increasingly successful at meeting.

This report ranks 158 countries along a scale of happiest to least happy. The basis for the ranking is the quality of life of the people interviewed in those countries.

Six major factors


Three-quarters of the differences between these countries were felt to be the result of six factors: the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, and corruption.

To prepare their report, investigators asked people to rate their lives on the whole using a numerical scale: 0 being the worst and 10 the best possible life.

GDP and life expectancy of the population obviously reflect the wealth of a nation, but the other factors mentioned above are indicators of autonomy, trust, and a sense of security. These are not necessarily related to wealth.

Rich country, happy country?

Not necessarily. The US was ranked eighth in GDP per capita (although it has the world’s largest GDP) and fifteenth in happiness. Canada has a GDP 20% lower than that of the US, but its happiness rank is higher at number five.

Social connections


People are growing richer in the US, on average, but their sense of social connection is going down, resulting in a lower ranking on the national happiness scale.


Fewer Americans now feel that they can trust other people. Nationally, 80% say that they can count on their neighbors. In some regions, this is much worse. Santa Monica in California recently combined data from surveys, social media, and administrative sources, and found that only half of their citizens felt they could depend on their neighbors.

So where does that leave us?

Right where common sense has always led us.

Money continues to be important, to allow people to keep body and soul together, and for countries to provide vital services to their citizens.

What we seem to have lost lately is a sense of perspective, of balance.

The mindless pursuit of wealth and sensory pleasures has had a numbing effect on individuals. We are losing a sense of purpose, of community.

Similarly, countries are neglecting investments in social capital, and chasing global power and hegemony.

Call to action

It is time for us to introspect.


Family, friends, spirituality, and community are essential for human beings to flourish. And when individuals flourish, so do countries.

Eating, sleeping, and reproduction are not unique to humans. Animals do much the same.


Let us seek and cherish traits that make us special. If we do that, we will not need to ask ourselves if we are happy. We will be too busy helping others.

Enjoy the Present of Life: Let Go of the Past & Future!

“My parents did not love me as much as they loved my younger brother. My whole life is ruined. I will never amount to much.”

“All my friends are millionaires. In the next five years, I need to earn at least five million dollars. Otherwise, how will the world truly appreciate my value?”

We take perverse delight in dwelling in the past, or worrying about the future. In the process, we ruin the only thing we have, and can control: our present.

The past


News flash: The past is gone, over, done with. That is why it is called the past. In grammar, it is appropriately called the past tense. It has passed. But it still makes us tense.


Most humans take delight in thinking about the past. That is all right, to some extent. It is, after all, a part of our lives.

Nostalgia can bring us some pleasure. We relive some of the happy moments of our lives, and our sense of joy is rekindled. That can give us a new vigor to move forward with optimism.

Problems with nostalgia

However, nostalgia can also hurt.

The word itself is formed by joining two Greek words: nóstos, meaning “homecoming,” and álgos, meaning “pain, ache.”

Swiss mercenaries who fought wars far away from home in ancient times obviously suffered from anxiety. A 17th century medical student labeled this as a medical condition, and called it nostalgia, which was felt to be a type of melancholy.

Good old days


Many of us get emotional when thinking of the past. If we have happy memories of people or places from our past, we think of them frequently. This can improve our mood. Positive feelings of self-regard have been documented in people who have a “sentimental longing for the past.”

However, our vision can also be biased. With the passage of time, we acquire rose-tinted glasses, and tend to have a distorted image of previous occurrences. Positive experiences are highlighted. Painful memories are sometimes suppressed. It is not unusual for us to lose perspective when reliving the past. Thus nostalgia often has a bitter-sweet undertone.

There is also a tendency for people to want to return to the “good old days,” which may not have been that good in their totality. For instance, the old days in South Africa included the abhorrent effects of apartheid. Similarly, the past in the USA was not that pleasant for African Americans.

Habitual worriers

Nostalgia has been shown to create problems for a group of people who worry “all the time.” This becomes a habit for them, and they have repetitive and automatic thoughts which they cannot control. They are constantly trying to resolve issues which have been festering for a long time. Quite often, the chronic problems are not solved, but the worriers are left with residual feelings of anxiety and depression.


In such habitual worriers, dwelling on the past often leads to a worsening of their chronic anxiety and depression. This appears to happen even when they think about pleasant events in the past. The reason is usually a stark contrast between what they think was a pleasant past, and their current unsatisfactory reality.

Ignoring the present

No matter how good or bad the past was, it is now over. One should certainly review the mistakes one made in the past, and learn from them. Beyond that, dwelling on the past is, at best, a waste of time and mental energy. Life is led in the present moment, and spending that time focused on the past means frittering away a precious resource.

How about the future?


Quite often, when we are not occupied with the past, we start worrying about the future.

Most of us have goals, ambitions, and plans. We have a vision for our future: a successful career, a wonderful spouse, great kids, a house in the suburbs. We have it all figured out. And we want to pursue that vision vigorously.

However, while we are all wrapped up in that planning, we overlook a few key details.


“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

-Woody Allen

It is well and good to make plans. That is probably better than leading a completely unstructured life. Most people have goals, and that focuses their minds.


However, it is wise not to get too engrossed in your plans. Plans, no matter how meticulously made, do not always come to fruition. That is why people make a “Plan B.” Even that does not always work out.

So the best bet is to make a broad outline of what you want to do, and how you want to do it, and then focus on the present, asking yourself what it is that you can do right now which will improve the odds of success in the future. And then get to work in the here and now.


“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

-Yogi Berra

When we are not dwelling in the past, we are often preoccupied with the future. Everybody wants to have a secure, happy, and successful future. So we spend a lot of time worrying about it. We think of all the bad things which can happen to us, and then mentally conjure up methods of tackling them. From time to time, we visualize some of the good things we would like to occur to us down the road, and then worry about how bad luck could undermine our success.


The problem with this strategy is what Yogi Berra jokingly pointed out in the quote above. We are unable to predict the future. A lot of the bad things we worry about never happen. Some of the good things we would like also do not happen. We can plan, work hard, worry, and fret all we want. We cannot control what will happen in the future.

This is not to say that we should never plan, never make an effort. No. We should do the work which is under our control. And then we should let the future take care of itself.

So what is the answer?


Live in the moment. Live the present to its fullest. The past is gone. The future is not knowable.

So be mindful of the moment. Because that is all that is promised to you: the present moment.

And life consists of a series of present moments.

Mindfulness meditation

This is a discipline which focuses on recognizing the value of the present moment, and living in, and taking pleasure in, the present moment.

A fundamental aspect of this is deep breathing, which we have discussed in a previous post:

Advantage of living in the moment

This is the most productive use of your time.


It allows you to enjoy life, and also focus on the only things which are under your control: your thoughts and your actions.

The ancient Indian epic, the Gita, explains:

Karmanyevadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachan (Gita 2:47)

“You have control only over your actions, and never on the results of those actions.”

Do your duty; be happy

This is one of the most important keys to leading a happy and satisfying life. Do what is right. Do your duty, your job, to the best of your ability. After that, let go of the past, and don’t worry over the future. Let the chips fall where they may.

Want to read more?

The above issues, and more, are discussed further in my book: How to Lead a Satisfying Life: 11 Universal Lessons from the Gita, which is available at:

Secrets of Pride, Anger, and Social Emotions

“You are a genius!”

“You are such a total failure!”

Each one of us has an inner voice which keeps nagging us. It keeps a running scorecard of everything we do, and regularly passes judgment. One second it can take us to the top of a mountain, and the very next, bring us crashing down.

Why is this so?



This is a convenient target to blame. We are wired this way. We cannot help ourselves.

To some extent, that is true.

Living beings need to survive, and propagate the species. Social animals want to move up the social hierarchy, because that improves the odds of survival and reproduction.

And thus are born instincts and emotions, which warn us against danger, and help us get ahead in the world.

Is this relevant today?

Yes and no.

Dangers to life and limb are of a different nature today. The stress system previously triggered by the roar of a tiger in the wild is now brought into play when we are sitting in traffic, fretting and fuming because we are late for a meeting. The hormones pouring into our bloodstream (cortisol and adrenaline), which were meant to aid fight or flight, now end up raising our blood pressure and blood sugar.

Are primary or basic emotions still useful?

To some extent, they are. They still alert us to the possibility of harm.

Anger, joy, sadness, surprise, fear, and disgust develop in the first 9 months of an infant’s life


These basic human emotions have characteristic facial expressions which accompany them. An early signal of both fear and surprise is a widening of the eyes, which increases our field of vision, allowing a better chance of fast escape, as we can see more of our surroundings.


The emotions of anger and disgust show the same initial facial expression, a  wrinkled nose, which was likely designed to reduce the potential for breathing in particles dangerous to health.

Modern role

Many researchers believe that emotions affect our cognition, influence our thinking, and influence the way we make decisions.

Gut feeling

The human brain can take in vast amounts of information, process it rapidly, and present to us a plan for rapid action, without our having to think about it at a conscious level. Our emotions play a key role in this, through our “instincts,” or “gut feelings.”

In many situations, the amount of information available is so much that analyzing it carefully and consciously would take a lot of time. You might be in a car showroom, with the salesman pushing you to close a deal. But your brain sees a red flag, and tries to warn you. You start getting an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach. You do not know what it is, but your brain has been there before, and it is warning you that something is fishy, and you should leave. Only later do you find out that the sales person has a track record of duping customers. Your instincts, however, picked up some subtle cues and warned you in time.

But it can work against you

Emotions act in a very simplistic manner. They present you information about your surroundings and circumstances rather broadly, and you react to that without too much conscious thought. This, however, can also create problems in the modern world. When things do not go your way, you tend to get angry, and this could become a recurrent pattern. Chronic anger can create health problems, such as high blood pressure, and even heart disease.

Self-conscious emotions

These emotions can cause even greater problems.


Pride, hubris, guilt, and shame are commonly considered to be “self-conscious” emotions. They develop later in life than the basic emotions of anger, fear, etc. (which can be seen by 9 months). Pride, for example, develops by the end of the third year of life.

These emotions depend on an interaction between a person and the society in which he or she lives.

Pride and social status

Society and culture often dictate what kind of a person we are expected to be. Pride helps us to regulate our behavior to gain the approval of society. It also motivates us to avoid actions of which society disapproves. Thus it helps us to avoid feelings of rejection.

Pride is an important building block for self-esteem, helping us to attain and maintain a certain status in society.

Pride and goal setting

People constantly evaluate social norms, and then set goals for themselves. If they meet or exceed those goals, they feel a sense of pride, which promotes further achievement. A failure to meet those goals leads to a sense of shame or guilt.

Thus pride depends on constant self-evaluation.

Is pride two emotions?

Pride and hubris are being studied afresh these days.

It is commonly felt that the difference between the two is only of degree. An excessive sense of pride is commonly called hubris, which is detrimental to emotional and social development.

Some researchers feel, however, that we need to distinguish between an achievement-based pride and a hubristic pride

Pride in achievement

Almost all of us have experienced this.

You run track, and come in first in a tough competition. Or you are a musician, and win an award for a fine performance. You might, perhaps, receive praise and a promotion for completing a project which wins your company new clients.

Most human beings would feel proud under these circumstances.

Hubristic pride

This is more problematic.


This is the pride a person feels because of who he thinks he is.

Most people in this category have a distorted sense of self-perception, and may have delusions of grandeur. They are often arrogant and conceited.

They feel that they deserve praise for who they are, not just for what they have achieved.

Impact of pride

Psychologists feel that an achievement-based pride helps to develop self-esteem, and promotes “good behavior” and the promotion of societal goals.

Hubris and narcissism

Unlike “regular pride,” hubristic pride is a clearly negative emotion, with strong ties to narcissism.

Such people frequently have deep-rooted insecurities. They might feel inadequate, and often harbor feelings of shame. To protect themselves from these emotions, they adopt a cloak of arrogance and self-aggrandizement.

This is a defensive process, and is maladaptive in nature.

Demonstration of pride

This depends on the cultural and social norms the persons grows up learning.

In Eastern, “group based” cultures, demonstration of pride aggressively is frowned upon, and pride is often considered a negative emotion.

However, in the more individualistic societies of the West, pride is usually considered a virtue. Rather than condemning it as a vice, Western societies like to encourage pride in both children and adults.

A deeper truth?

Even achievement-based pride can create problems.

This pride depends on positive results. However, results of our actions are never under our control. We can only control our own actions.

Results, pride, and self-esteem

If you praise yourself, or your child, mostly for achievements, you might be sending the wrong message.

You can try your best, and yet fail in an enterprise. Other times, you could cruise through your assignment, and still get positive results purely through luck. What would you rather praise and encourage, the effort, or the result? What is more likely to stand you in good stead through the course of a lifetime?

So what is the bottom line?


  • Emotions are deeply ingrained in the human psyche.
  • We receive an evolutionary benefit from emotions, as they alert us to danger and promote prompt, subconscious action.
  • In the modern setting, many emotions are triggered inappropriately, or excessively, and they can hurt us, causing significant unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life.
  • Chronic anger, excessive sadness, and inappropriate fear can ruin many a life.
  • Excessive pride and shame can also have deleterious effects.
  • Emotions trigger thought and action.
  • It is vital that we understand and control our emotions and their triggers, in order to moderate our responses, and avoid becoming slaves to our emotions.
  • There is often a lack of association between effort, action, and achievement. Be careful what you praise and encourage.

Emotions, happiness & satisfaction

You can read more about this connection in my book, available here:

Do Not Let Envy Derail Your Happiness!

Most human beings have the ability to achieve happiness fairly quickly in life, and without enormous effort. Then why don’t we?



We let negative emotions create potholes on a road which would otherwise be smooth.

Envy, jealousy, and resentment: These are common human emotions, and cause uncommon suffering.

A little soul?

“Envy is a littleness of soul, which cannot see beyond a certain point…”

-William Hazlitt

Envy or jealousy?

People often feel that these two emotions are similar, but they really are not, at least not technically.

The emotion of envy essentially implies that someone else has something that you lack, and really want for yourself. You covet that possession, or situation, or attribute.


Jealousy implies that you are afraid of being replaced by somebody else. It is often used in situations where you feel that someone you love might start loving somebody else more. So you have something (usually a relationship), and this is being threatened by a third individual.

Primary emotions


Happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, shame, grief, and disgust are found in most cultures all over the world. Even young children have been shown to display these emotions.

Non-basic (secondary) emotions

Examples of these are envy, jealousy, and resentment. These are more complex, and depend on the child discovering cultural and social rules as he or she grows up. As such, they develop later than the primary emotions.


Some of these secondary emotions result from a mixture of the basic emotions. Jealousy, for example, contains elements of fear and anger. Similarly, feelings of guilt can be a summation of sadness and fear.


Fundamentally, you feel envious when you do not have a quality or object which somebody else has. In addition, you feel that this situation is unfair, or wrong.

Poor self-esteem


People who are troubled by severe envy often feel inadequate. They are frustrated by the sense of not having achieved their goals, and are angry at others who have.

Envy can lead to maliciousness, and a desire to harm or humiliate the other person. A perverse wish to scratch your neighbor’s brand-new Ferrari falls into this category!

Invidious hostility, such as gossip, backbiting, and defamation are some of the other consequences of envy.



This is a complex emotion, and is usually a combination of anger, fear, and disappointment.

It is often directed against a person whose social status is higher than yours.  The underlying feeling you get is that you have been treated unfairly, and you are not in a position to do much about it.

It can even be the result of envy, if you feel that you have worked hard, and have not received much recognition or reward, while another person, who you think has not worked as hard, has gone ahead in life.

Quite often, resentment can leave you feeling bitter and depressed.

Resentment can be mistaken for pure anger, but the two emotions frequently have distinct external expression. People often express anger in an aggressive manner, while resentment is commonly internalized, where it can “burn the person up” from the inside.


The Greeks were no strangers to envy. Phthonos was their spirit of envy and jealousy in ancient times, and he also had a more popular female counterpart.


She was the Greek goddess of jealous retribution, the female counterpart of Phthonos. Her domain was indignation, especially directed at subjects who were felt to be undeserving of their good fortune.

Ill effects of envy

Envy can seriously undermine one’s mental health. It creates unnecessary stress, and leaves the victim feeling overwhelmed. Anxiety, hostility, and depression are common results of envy. Irritability and anger often follow, and the envious person suffers the loss of friends (who do not want to hang out with a grumpy person) and descends into a chronic state of unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life.


This is a common result of chronic envy, resentment, and jealousy. These negative emotions extract a heavy toll.

Count whose blessings?

“Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.”

-Harold Coffin

Long lasting

“Our envy always lasts longer than the happiness of those we envy.”


The Gita on envy

murudeshwar-172586_1280 (1)

The Gita is an ancient Indian epic dealing with philosophy and religion. It addresses most of the common roadblocks on the path to happiness.

      Ahankaram balam darpam kamam krodham cha sanshritah

      Mamatmaparadeheshum pradvishantoabhyasuyakah  (Gita 16:18)

In this verse, Lord Krishna, a Hindu god, is explaining to his disciple Arjuna the character traits found in people who have demonic personalities. He says that such people are egotistical, violent, arrogant, and full of lust. They are angry and full of envy. They forget that God is present in their bodies, and the bodies of all other human beings, as their soul. By harboring these destructive emotions, they abuse and dishonor their innermost sacred selves.

So what to do?

Feelings of envy, jealousy, and resentment are deeply ingrained in our psyche from millennia of evolution. Human beings have survival mechanisms which alert them to danger, and enable them to take action. These days, however, these emotions are triggered subconsciously, often at inopportune times, and have harmful effects.

  • First, become more self-aware.
  • Analyze your emotions and responses frequently, and identify what triggers envy, anger, resentment, and bitterness in you.
  • Recognize and remind yourself that talent and rewards are not always evenly distributed in this world.
  • Remind yourself often of your own unique abilities and gifts, which many others may lack.
  • thanks
  • Develop a sense of gratitude for all that has been given to you, rather than moan about what you don’t have. In other words, count your blessings! Frequently! You can read more about the value of gratitude here:
  • medit
  • Take up meditation, yoga, and deep breathing. The technique and benefits of deep breathing are described here:
  • If you still feel that these emotions are not under good control, consider consulting a trained mental health professional.


The pursuit of happiness is made unnecessarily complicated by a host of negative emotions. Recognizing and controlling them will go a long way toward improving your satisfaction with life.

Read more about leading a happy and satisfying life at









Don’t Miss The Boat: Grab Happiness Today!

Sail today

“I think once the home mortgage is paid off, I’ll be happy.”

“Wait a second, what about the kids? I think once they are married off, and well-settled in life, that’s when I think I can afford to be happy.”

“Happy? Are you kidding me? I have to get that promotion before Jim does. Who has time to be happy?”

I’ll be happy when…

We tend to lay down conditions when talking about happiness, or even when thinking about happiness. These are all external conditions. You get your promotion. But then the goal post changes. Now you want to be the CEO before you will allow yourself to be happy. And what if you do become the CEO?

You will then want to grow the company, increase revenues, buy other companies, create an empire.

Sound familiar?

What is wrong with right now?

If you ever want to be happy, you must decide to be happy right now.

Not tomorrow, not next week, not when the kids have grown up.

So what is stopping you from being happy right now?

Fear, confusion, and ignorance.

Most of us do not know what happiness is.

Oh, we see the external signs all right. The smiling faces, the big mansions, the stately cars. And the eye-popping yachts.


We get confused. We think that these are the things which produce happiness. And the media outlets do their best to reinforce this world-view. Because it is their job to sell. But it is not mandatory for us to buy.



People walk around with masks on their faces. Maybe you do, too.

The smiley-face mask hides the pain underneath. The pain, and the confusion. Everybody is rich, everybody is smiling, so what’s wrong with me?

I must smile, too, and join in this pretense.


At some point, we have to turn our gaze inwards, do some honest-to-goodness introspection and ask ourselves what would truly make us happy, what we truly want. Not what we are programmed to pursue, but what really would give us lasting satisfaction.

Many of us are afraid to do that, because we are afraid of the answers we might get.

Many of us are afraid of slowing down, taking a step back, and doing some serious soul-searching.

Many of us are afraid of rocking the boat, of abandoning the rat race, the mad pursuit of material progress and accumulation.

But if you look inside you, there will be answers which will surprise you. However, these are answers which true seekers have always found, over millennia.


This is one of the major ingredients of a happy, fulfilling life.

Be grateful that you are alive. Most human beings, with very rare exceptions, would rather be alive than dead. So express your thanks. To whichever power you believe in.

Be grateful for your health. Whatever your state of health, you can always find people worse off than you. Be grateful for two arms and two legs. If you have had an amputation, be grateful for any arms and legs you have left. There are people with less.

Gratitude for nature


No matter how sad you are, look around you. You will discover everyday epiphanies. The sky, the stars, the beach, the mountains: look at them carefully, and drink in their beauty. The sun rises daily, whether it wants to or not. And so does the moon. And they shine on rich and poor alike.

If you believe in God, thank him for the grandeur of nature. If you do not subscribe to the notion of a creator, you can still enjoy the wonders of nature. Your beliefs or non-beliefs do not subtract from the glory of nature.

Expand your focus


You are not the center point of the universe. There are other creatures, great and small, who share this world with you. They have as much a right to happiness as you do.

If you think about yourself all the time, your pleasures, your pain, life will get difficult. What have you done to deserve a lifetime of unending bliss? Into each life, some rain must fall.

Expand your thinking and focus to include others.

Try and rejoice in the good fortune of others.

Try and feel the pain of somebody who is suffering.

Gratitude expands your focus, and makes you less self-centered. It makes you more happy, more satisfied with what you have, indeed more satisfied with your lot in life.

Be kind


“There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.”

-Dalai Lama


Studies on students have found a clear relationship between altruism and happiness. Happiness makes us more open to others. Those people who consider themselves to be the most happy are also generally the most altruistic.

Monks have been studied scientifically when meditating on compassion: their brains show more activity in the left pre-frontal cortex. This reflects a larger capacity for happiness and a lower tendency for negativity.

Out with resentment!


Resentment and anger are wasted emotions. They affect you more than the person they are directed against. That person is often not even aware of your feelings, and usually doesn’t care! While you keep seething inside.

Resentment and unchecked desire are two of the major impediments to human happiness.

The Gita on resentment

Gita quote

There is a lot of confusion about the true meaning of sanyasi, a word used to refer to someone who has renounced the world, who is detached from this world. But to achieve that state, we are told in verse 5:3 of the Gita (an epic of philosophy  and religion), it is not essential to don sackcloth and ashes.

The true sanyasi is he who has renounced resentment and desire. Freed from the bonds imposed by those emotions, he can still live in this world, and perform appropriate actions.

So why wait?


Throw off the shackles causing you misery today, and lead a happy and satisfying life!

Want to read more?

You can download my book on satisfaction and happiness at:


Find Happiness Today: Quit Digging!

There is a law of holes. When you are in a hole, the first thing you need to do is to stop digging.

The road to happiness and satisfaction is full of potholes. Some of them are tiny, and only make your car sink and jump a bit. Others can swallow you up, car and all.

Most of us insist on digging our own holes, and then we work day and night to make them bigger. Yet we insist that we are pursuing happiness.


“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

-Henry David Thoreau, Walden


Why are people unhappy? Why are they dissatisfied?

Because they keep hurting themselves by making wrong choices.


We do not know where we want to go.

If you want to see the Eiffel Tower, you should go to Paris. If you follow the road to New York, and expect to see the Eiffel Tower there, you will be disappointed.

If you pursue material objects, and luxuries, and get no lasting joy, don’t be surprised. You’ve followed the wrong path.

We wear masks


“How are you doing?’ is no longer a question. We automatically answer, “Fine, thanks,” smile sweetly, and move on. Most of the day we have our party faces on. Smile, shake hands, say “Have a nice day,” and keep on trudging. How do we really feel deep inside? We dare not ask ourselves that, for the answer is too painful.

So we avoid introspection, we avoid solitude, we avoid serious thought.

We have a spouse, 1.5 kids, a house in the suburbs, two cars in the garage, and a free-range chicken in the pot. We must be happy.

We demand guaranteed results

An annual raise is considered a right. Whether the employee’s work is satisfactory or not.

We want all our kids to be A-students, to get on the honor roll, to gain admission to the college of their choice, to find marvelous jobs, earn tons of money, and live happily ever after.

Life does not always play out like that. Disappointments are inevitable. Yet we don’t always teach ourselves or our kids how to deal with them.

Instant gratification

This is one of the biggest holes you can dig for yourself.


Borrow several thousand dollars, fly off to Europe, live it up for a week, and then spend the next year or more trying to pay off the loan.

Buy a fancy car, just because your neighbor has one, and work overtime for five to ten years to meet the monthly payments.

Desires, expectations, and reality

Society does not teach us to control our desires. Newspapers, TV, magazines, the internet, all of them want us to buy, buy, buy. The latest phone, smart watch, smart car, smart socks.

We can no longer distinguish between what we want and what we truly need.


The consumer society and modern advertising create an insatiable demand for things displayed attractively in stores or on the internet. We buy the latest gadgets, and a month later, it is time for a different flavor. And we think this will make us happy.

There is also a disconnect between our expectations and reality.


Desires keep surging in our bosoms. We then expect them to be fulfilled.

A college graduate expects immediate placement in the job market. If you get a Harvard MBA, you tend to think that companies will knock on your door day and night, and you will drown in offers to become the CEO of this company or the other right away.

Again, harsh reality often intervenes.

Patience and tolerance

Society has devalued these solid, age-old virtues to the point where they have become undesirable.

The modern prayer seems to be, “God give me patience, and please give it right now!”

This is another hole we dig for ourselves, impatiently flitting from pleasure to pleasure, unable to smell a rose and appreciate it fully before being drawn to another shiny flower, and then another.

Tolerance is not weakness

     Matra sparshastu Kaunteya sheetoshna sukhadukhadah

     Agamapyino anityaah taans titikshasva bharata  (Gita 2:14)

We blast the air conditioner to Arctic temperatures to keep out the warmth of summer, and set the thermostat to boiling to combat the chill of winter. Our predecessors did not die off in alarming numbers when the weather changed, but we demand a monotony of indoor temperatures, because we are unable to tolerate summer or winter. And our bodies become softer because of that.

In the verse above, Lord Krishna, a Hindu god, is teaching his disciple Arjuna the importance of tolerance. He says that feelings of heat and cold, pleasure and sadness, all arise from the interaction of external stimuli and our sense organs. All of these feelings are transient, they come and go, and you should therefore learn to tolerate them.


Transient feelings and emotions

This is yet another hole, a hole in our thinking.

We allow our understanding of reality to be so distorted that we cannot distinguish between what is transient, and what is permanent. Most sensory pleasures are transient. A shiny BMW loses its luster, and the heady new car smell, fairly swiftly. Down the road, it becomes just another car. Especially if our neighbor buys a gorgeous Ferrari. Which ceases to give him pleasure the moment the guy down the block buys a personal jet.

Emotions are the same. Nobody is angry all the time. Nobody is sad all the time (except in cases involving mental health problems). We need to learn to take the rough with the smooth, without getting bent out of shape. The tide does turn. One just needs patience and tolerance.

A cruise ship sails smoothly over the waves of the ocean. A row boat bobs up and down wildly with each wave, always on the verge of tipping over, making no forward progress.


As you negotiate life, which one would you rather be? You can read more about this here …

Don’t dig holes for yourself!


  • Being happy and satisfied is not that difficult.
  • Mostly we need an attitude adjustment.
  • We need to stop creating problems for ourselves, and then making them worse.
  • Focusing on appropriate actions, keeping desires under reasonable control, setting realistic expectations, and having a clear-eyed view of reality will set us on the right path.
  • Not letting transient set-backs knock us down, and learning to differentiate between the truly valuable, and merely fashionable, will stand us in good stead.
  • Tolerance can build strength and happiness.

Want to read more?

These issues, and more, are discussed in further detail in my E-book, “How to Lead a Satisfying Life: 11 Universal Lessons from the Gita,” which is available here …




Choose Today: How Not to be Angry

Wouldn’t you just love to have everything go your way?

Your spouse does everything you want him or her to do, even before you express your wishes.

Your boss gives you a raise before you can ask for it.

The red traffic lights all turn to green just as you approach them, and traffic jams dissolve before you get snarled up in them.

Well, dream on. Real life is not like that.

Welcome to reality


You don’t really control much of anything at all, if you think about it deeply enough. You can control your actions, barely, if you work hard at it. Everything else… well, good luck!

Frustration begets anger

There are many reasons for people to get angry. We have discussed this in detail in a previous post at A major cause is the frustration resulting from the realization that things are not going the way you want them to go.

And, by the way, others often don’t do what we want them to do. Ever notice that? That can make you fly off the handle, too, if you are not careful.

Disappointment and worry


We tend to have expectations of how people should behave, how things should turn out, how our lives should unfold. Yet nobody has all of his or her expectations met.

Unmet expectations, constant worry, and disappointment can all be expressed as an outburst of anger.

Why worry about anger?

Many authorities warn us about the dangers of uncontrolled anger.

An Indian epic of philosophy and religion, the Gita, warned us about a living hell on earth thousands of years ago:

          Trividham narkasya idam dvaram nashanamatmanah

          Kamah krodhastada lobhastasmadetat trayam tyajet  (Gita 16:21)

This Sanskrit verse tells us that there is a door which leads the living soul to hell and destruction. This door is made up of three parts: anger, uncontrolled lust/desire, and greed. All three of these evils must be rejected forthright.

When to seek help

When anger interferes significantly with your lifestyle, your work, your relationships, it is time to take action. Some steps you can take yourself, while others are best done under the supervision of professionals.

Know thyself!

There is no way you can get a handle on your anger issues unless you first take a step back, sit down in a quiet place, and ask yourself: “What makes me angry?”

It is not that difficult

You do not need to reinvent the wheel here. Most people get angry with issues related to family members, friends, their careers/ work environment, or traffic problems.


Most of the triggers involve a feeling of loss of control, or things not going according to your plans or wishes.

Identify the major situations and triggers which set off a spasm of anger, and preferably write them down.

Confine yourself to major or frequent issues. As they say, don’t sweat the small stuff.

What do you really want?

This is often the crux of the problem. We want X to love us, but he or she loves Y.

We want the cars ahead of us to get a move on and get out of our way, because we are getting late.

We want the book we wrote to become an overnight success.

When it doesn’t happen, we get angry.

We need to ask ourselves, “What do I really want to happen, which is not happening?”

Logic dissolves anger


Once you start thinking things through calmly, your brain starts taking control, and your emotions stop pulling and pushing you all over the place.

Distorted thinking, rapid-fire decision making, and impulsive, aggressive action are the hallmarks of the anger response. Shining the light of reason can help to dispel the darkness of emotion and anger.

So solve the problem!

When you explode in anger, you are reacting (quite often, over-reacting).

Let’s get away from that, identify the problem, and then try to solve it.

Once you find out what makes you angry, and what you would like to be different, it is time to ask yourself: “Can I do anything about it?”

Tried controlling others?

It usually cannot be done. The only one truly under your control is yourself, and your own actions. So quit trying to control the world (or your spouse)!

Light a candle


Don’t just curse the darkness!

Once you identify a problem, try to think about solving it in a different way. Instead of blaming others, make an attempt to change your own behavior and expectations.

Suppose you and your spouse are often late for your appointments. Instead of ranting and raving at your significant other, and blaming them for always making you late, ask yourself if they are overworked. If you help lighten their load, they will appreciate it, and have more time to get ready.

Change yourself, and perhaps others will notice it, and be more motivated to work with you to solve problems rationally.

Other techniques

We have discussed time-outs, yoga, deep breathing, mindful meditation, exercise and their role in anger management in a previous article at

Avoiding grudges, practicing forgiveness, and use of humor are also beneficial techniques.

Professional help

Seek the help of trained specialists:

  • If your own steps to manage your anger do not show satisfactory results.
  • If you cause harm to others during your outbursts.
  • If your anger causes problems with your job and career.
  • If you do things in a fit of anger which you wish you had not done.
  • If you have had problems with law enforcement agencies as a consequence of your actions when you were angry.

Epictetus of Rome (55 AD- 135 AD)

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

“When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.”

The philosopher emphasized that external events cannot disturb your equilibrium, no matter how nasty they are. Only you can do that, by deciding how you will react emotionally to those events. Choose wisely and thoughtfully.

The Gita, again


          Shaknotihaiva yah sodhum prak sharira vimokshanata

          Kamakrodhotabhavama yogama sa yuktaha sa sukhi narah (Gita 5:23)

This verse tells us that there are waves (usually giant waves) of uncontrolled desires and uncontrolled anger that all human beings experience during their lives. The true yogi, the one who has mastered yoga, and the truly happy person, is he or she who is able to tolerate and ride out these waves.


  • You have a choice.
  • Choose not to be angry, but to solve the problem.
  • Choose to be a yogi.
  • Choose to be happy.
  • There are many techniques and many pathways to a happy and satisfying life. Read more about this in my book “How to Lead a satisfying Life: 11 Universal Lessons From the Gita,” available at


Want to Control Your Anger? Learn How to Breathe!


Okay, you can breathe out now!

Most of us do not know how to breathe right. And that worsens stress and tension. But let us back up a little first.

React already!

Split-second decision making is the essential survival mechanism all human beings have been blessed with. Without it, the species would have died off long ago.

Not safe! Run!


When we find ourselves in a novel situation, we must decide quickly whether we are safe or not. And then we have to act promptly and aggressively, if there is the slightest risk to us or our loved ones.

The anger response is part of this scenario. And there lies the problem.

Anger response

This is a simplistic response, for a good reason. In dangerous situations, we cannot afford to indulge in nuanced, balanced, and detailed thinking. We need to simplify the information available and make snap judgments.

This ability served our forefathers well, and kept them safe. But it is hurting us.

Shoot first, aim later


This was fine in the past, and is still fine in emergency situations now. But most situations where we get angry are not emergencies. At those times, we need to pause, evaluate the information we have, and then ask ourselves what else could be relevant. Then we van weigh the pros and cons of aggressive action, versus perhaps no immediate action. But the anger response does not allow us that liberty. It tells us, “Ready, shoot, aim.”

The road to destruction

Krodhaat bhavati sammohah sammohat smritivibhramah

          Smritibhranshat budhinasho budhinashat pranashyati (Gita 2:63)

The above verse, in the ancient language Sanskrit, is from an Indian epic of philosophy and religion, the Gita. Here the Hindu god Lord Krishna is explaining to his disciple Arjuna the sequence of events which leads to human beings losing their way and sliding down the slippery slope of self-destruction.

He starts out in the previous verse by saying that a fascination with sensory gratification is followed by anger when our desires are frustrated. In this verse he explains that the accumulation of anger often leads to rage, confusion, and bewilderment. That can proceed to a loss of memory and perspective, which in turn impairs one’s intellect. What follows is the complete destruction of a life.

You hurt yourself


We often feel angry at others, but this emotion ends up hurting us more. Violence and aggression are common results of anger, and they can lead to painful outcomes at work, or in family situations, and even legal consequences.

Chronic anger has its own associated problems: chronic stress, feeling on edge, and at times, feelings of guilt, remorse, and shame.

There is also a connection between chronic anger, chronic stress, and cardiovascular diseases.

Your enemies

A little bit of Sanskrit from the Gita again:

Kama esha krodha esha rajoguna samudbhavah

          Mahashano mahapapma vidhayenamiha vairinam (Gita 3:37)

Here Lord Krishna describes the two major enemies of mankind: desire (especially uncontrolled desire), and anger. They are all-powerful, and capable of swallowing everything and everyone in their path.

Thus we have to fight them.

Manage thy anger

Most human beings will get angry at some point or the other. Eliminating anger may not be possible.

Thus, the goal should be to manage your anger to protect your health and safety, as well as that of people around you.

Primum non nocere

This is part of the Hippocratic oath for physicians: First of all, do no harm. This also applies to anger management.

Thus the first few steps you take ought to be directed at preventing violence.

Time out, walk away


Quite often, this may be all that is needed.

Recognize that you are angry, and that reacting aggressively and violently will probably make matters worse. So, if at all possible, leave the scene of action. If you are angry at a person, tell them that you will discuss the situation later, excuse yourself, and leave. Take a walk. Go to the park. Or go to a different room.

Buying time

That is what the above actions amount to.

Problems are created when you act in anger, without thinking things through, in the heat of the moment.

Even in the middle of an argument, it is helpful to tell yourself to STOP!  Then ask yourself why you got angry in the first place.

The very act of trying to think actively and rationally will have a calming effect.

Then remind yourself of what could possibly go wrong if you yelled and screamed and exploded in a full-blown outburst of rage. Think of what that action could possibly achieve.

And then make a conscious choice: about how you should respond, rather than letting your anger push you helplessly into an involuntary response.




Many forms of yoga are helpful in long term anger management.

One of the easiest, simplest, and most relaxing of yoga poses is the shavasana, or the “corpse pose.” Regular practice of this pose is of significant benefit in stress relief and anger control.

I have described the details of this yoga pose in a previous article, and you can read about it here …

Deep breathing

deep breath

This has been studied in detail, again for stress relief and anger management.

Breathing exercises are some of the basic tenets of yoga practice. Even in day-to-day life, you can hear people say, “Take a deep breath,” when giving advice to somebody ready to explode with anger.

Don’t we know how to breathe?

Turns out, we don’t.

We breathe, on an average, about 20,000 times a day. And most people do it incorrectly most of the time.

We spend most of our time taking shallow and unconscious breaths. We also frequently hold our breath, especially if we are excited or tense. And that is just not a good way to breathe.

Baby breaths

Take the time to watch a young baby breathe. It takes slow and deep breaths, using its belly.

Things start to change fairly early for us as we get older. People tend to suck their stomachs in and puff their chest out, causing tension in the muscles. It also makes us “chest breathers.” We breathe rather fast, and expand only the upper and middle parts of our lungs. This is inefficient for proper air exchange.

To get a better feel for this, pay attention to how you breathe, when you get a chance. Notice if your belly moves in and out, or your chest does, with each “normal” breath. Also count how many times a minute you breathe.

Push that belt out

To start, find a peaceful place. You can sit up, or lie down. Then consciously take a deep breath in, imagining the diaphragm going down into your belly. Imagine, or visualize, your belt move outwards as you breathe in. Then slowly let your breath out.

With practice, you can slow your breathing to 8-10 breaths a minute, instead of the usual 14. There are people who can slow it down even more. And this has been shown to be of significant benefit, to your physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Slow, deep breathing done for about 20 minutes a day, is a very effective anger management technique. If you can’t do it all at once, even taking 3-4 deep breaths hourly while you are awake will calm you.

Other techniques

anger manage

Anger management has been studied in detail, and elaborate programs have been devised to help people.

Other forms of yoga, mindfulness meditation, rational emotive behavioral therapy, and techniques focusing on problem solving, rather than reacting, have all proven to be useful. Even simple things like “counting to ten” before you react to a stimulus which triggers anger can help.

There are also specialized programs devised by professionals, with good results.

We will discuss some of these in more detail in further posts.

In summary

  • Anger is a damaging emotion, at times hurting the one who feels it even more than the one toward whom it is directed.
  • Effective programs and techniques are available to manage anger.
  • If you have issues with anger, please take the first step, to recognize and acknowledge it.
  • Then you can move forward, and control it before it controls you.
  • Stay tuned for more updates
  • If you would like to read more about anger, happiness, and a satisfying life, you can find it in my book, “How to Lead a Satisfying Life: 11 Universal Lessons From the Gita,” which is available at


Warning! Anger Comes In Many Forms


His heart felt like it would leap out of his chest. The chest started to tighten up, and a burning feeling spread up from there to his face, and then his head. Someone was hammering away inside his head, desperate to burst out, as soon as his head exploded.

Most people have experienced symptoms like this at some point in their lives. This is what anger can do to you. No matter what the cause, a fit of rage can make you feel like a volcano ready to spew lava.

What you do at that point can affect your life in the most profound manner.

Because uncontrolled anger is a powerful destroyer of human happiness.


Have you ever seen a child in a grocery store begging for chocolate or candy? And what happens when the parent does not give in? The child screams, flings its arms around and stomps its feet. What do you think the parent should do?


Most childish temper tantrums do not achieve much. The same is true for adults.

Range of anger

Obviously, most people do not boil over at the slightest provocation.

Minor annoyances are quite common in everybody’s life, and we are all familiar with the feeling of mild irritation at work, at home, or in social situations.

And then there is the violent rage.

At which end of the anger spectrum your response falls will depend on the provocation, but also on your ability to handle stress and manage your anger.

Why worry about anger?

At times, anger can actually help us.

If we get angry when we see injustice, either to us or to other people, it can motivate us to marshal our resources, and fight against it.

The entire world became angry and took a stand against apartheid, and a whole country had to back down.

However, quite often, uncontrolled anger hurts us, and can hurt others in our lives.

So what should we do?

If our anger controls us, we will be in trouble more often than not.

So the key is to keep your anger under control. Not to repress it, but to manage it.

However, in order to do that, you have to recognize the various forms anger can take, and also the reasons why people get angry.

Forms of anger?

Yes, anger comes in different forms. Not everybody kicks and screams, and rants and raves when in the grip of anger.

Volatile anger

This, of course, is what everybody is most familiar with.


Typically, you see somebody suddenly go red in the face, and start shouting. They might pound on a table with their fists. Some people start throwing objects, either at a wall, or occasionally at another person, who might be the target of their anger.

The media frequently reports instances of domestic abuse, where a partner can get seriously hurt, or even die, as a result of the other partner’s outburst of rage which turned violent.

Tragically, children can be injured when they are in a situation where two domestic partners are fighting, and one turns violent.

Overwhelmed anger


Modern life has become quite stressful and very demanding. Social support systems are under enormous strain. Jobs are disappearing and wages are dropping for working people. Childcare options for the middle class are not plentiful. As such, many people feel that their ability to cope is being stretched to the breaking point. They are simply overwhelmed by the demands of daily life, and this is expressed as anger.

Judgmental anger

People often compare themselves to others. We also judge other people fairly frequently. If we do not maintain a very healthy coping mechanism, we can become resentful of others, which is a form of anger at others. We may feel that we are more worthy than they are of receiving the good things in life.

Anger at self

Some people judge themselves very harshly. They may set unrealistic standards for themselves. And when they fail to meet those standards, they start feeling guilty. This is commonly reflected as anger directed toward oneself.


Many people feel embarrassed at the thought of being angry, or of showing their anger. In addition, they may not have developed healthy mechanisms for anger management. As a result, they end up suppressing their feelings of anger. This may work for a while, but in the long run, keeping your anger bottled up inside you is not a good idea. It keeps festering inside, and there is no resolution of the underlying problem which made you angry in the first place. All that you achieve is an increase in stress and tension, which is not very healthy.

Chronic anger

The people suffering from chronic anger go through life feeling angry all the time, at real or imagined injustice. They end up resenting others, and tend to have a very defensive view of the world. They appear to resent life itself, and are unable to enjoy any aspect of daily living.

Such an attitude places enormous stress on the individual, and can cause physical and mental health problems.

Chronic headaches, stomach headaches, and even heart disease might result from this chronic stress, and it also has an adverse effect on the immune system of the body.

Passive anger

This can be particularly difficult to control. It is also not easy to identify this kind of anger. In fact, even the person who indulges in this behavior may not realize that the underlying emotion is anger.

A common example is sarcasm. Other examples are being mean to people, or completely ignoring them. Quite frequently, the persons displaying this attitude are angry with others, or with themselves, and are unable or unwilling to confront their fundamental problems directly in an effort to resolve them.

Such people may be late for school or work, and may even skip them altogether. They end up hurting themselves, and often lose friends and alienate family members.

Where to go from here?

  • Uncontrolled anger is destructive.
  • Anger comes in many forms. It is important to understand them, before you can begin to control your anger.
  • Once you recognize the emotion, you must identify the underlying reasons for your anger.
  • Only then can you begin to embark on a journey of anger management.
  • We will discuss the reasons for anger, and how to control your anger, in subsequent posts.
  • Please let me know your thoughts, and stay tuned!
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