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Why You Should Seek Solitude When You're Angry
stoicism

Why You Should Seek Solitude When You're Angry

Patrick Allan, Gawker Media

Image via Wikimedia Commons .

Welcome back to Mid-Week Meditations , Lifehacker's weekly dip into the pool of stoic wisdom, and how you can use its waters to reflect on and improve your life.

This week's selection comes from Plutarch, in his work De Cohibenda Ira , or "On the Control of Anger." He has a helpful suggestion for when you get angry:

"The best course, therefore, is for us to compose ourselves, or else to run away and conceal ourselves, and anchor ourselves in a calm harbor, as though we perceived a fit of epilepsy coming on, so that we may not fall, or rather may not fall upon others; and we are especially likely to fall most often upon our friends". - De Cohibenda Ira

What It Means

When you lose your temper, and it feels like anger is going to overtake your mind, you must find a way to compose yourself. The best way to do this, says Plutarch, is to walk away from the person, place, or thing that is angering you, and spend some time alone. This way the anger can blow over and you can address the situation with a clear head.

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If you fail to walk away, you run the risk of acting a fool and losing face. You also may take your anger out on others who do not deserve it, or worse, you'll take it out on friends and family who only seek to comfort you.

What to Take From It

Plutarch's advice is simple and straightforward, but effective. The next time you feel your fuse burning short, don't have an outburst, don't make any rash decisions, and don't try to count to ten in hopes of things cooling off so quickly. Just walk away.

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Find a place you can be alone and let your rage fizzle out. Find your calm harbor where you can weigh anchor and take control back from your emotions. When you've calmed some, reflect on the situation and your actions. What specifically made you angry? Is your anger even justified? What can you do to avoid the same situation later on? Once you've soothed your fury, return to the world and tackle the rest of your day with a clear head.

You can read all of Plutarch's De Cohibenda Ira for free here .

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