I try not to wake up angry.

Angry? You might think. Who’s waking up angry? Stressed about a busy day, maybe. Tired from not enough sleep, sure. But angry?

Well, probably lots of people, for a variety of seemingly understandable reasons: their upstairs neighbors having a dance party late into the night when they’re trying to sleep. A rotating review of a thousand mental checklists that feels impossible to conquer. Something as simple as the discomfort of the room’s temperature or the memory of a disappointing moment from earlier that day. Maybe it's the frustration of falling asleep next to a tossing and turning partner. The list goes on. 

But why wake up angry? I thought it was don’t go to bed angry, you might be thinking.

Well, exactly. But if you go to bed angry, you’re probably going to wake up that way, too, right?

While there are many things that can’t be resolved in the moment and you can’t necessarily answer a multitude of unknowns when you find yourself restless at midnight, the simple truth is this: making peace, even if only temporarily, with what’s troubling you, will help you 1. Actually get some real rest and 2. Give you the (most likely) necessary space to find clarity at a later point. Maybe you’ll wake up with some grand idea or solution to what's bothering you. Maybe not. Maybe it’ll take weeks to reach you. Maybe it will take a lot of personal work and pain to get there. But letting it go for the moment is a way that helps relinquish our unhealthy relationship with worry, fear, sadness and doubt. All of which, when bundled together and grossly misdirected, can often come out as an oversimplified version of anger.

Letting go for the moment is a way that helps relinquish our unhealthy relationship with worry, fear, sadness and doubt. All of which, when bundled together and grossly misdirected, can often come out as an oversimplified version of anger.

Have you ever snapped at someone who didn’t deserve it? Probably for a reason that had nothing to do with them? We’ve all been there. It’s because anger is easy to revert to, even if it’s not how we’re really feeling. What’s truly troubling us usually goes a lot deeper, though it’s not necessarily hidden away so far that we’d never find it. If you think about what’s really getting you bothered, it’ll likely reveal itself to be pretty obvious. Ohh, you might think. I’m worried about the bills that are piling up. Or there’s a scary health issue that’s pending. Or I just had my heart broken. Or I don’t know when things are going to be okay again.

"I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear." - Steve Maraboli

I have some pretty clear memories of my parents telling me that “things would be better in the morning.” I was just a kid, and even then I knew that things were more complicated than that. But the intention behind their assurance was true. Tomorrow is new. It’s not today. It doesn’t erase what’s real. It doesn’t let us completely reset. But it does let us try to make it right. So the best thing we can do for ourselves is take a breath and put it down, whatever it is, just for now, just for tonight. And try again tomorrow.

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Helen Williams is a Colorado transplant who is passionate about vegan/vegetarian cooking, writing and sarcasm. She strives, every day, to be less sorry. When she's not in the kitchen or working on her new company Best One Yet (a vegan ice cream Vespa, coming soon to Longmont/Boulder, CO!) you can find her reading, getting outside as much as possible or trying to pet your dog.

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