Carrying a burden of unresolved issues such as anger and resentment can directly affect your happiness and keep you from enjoying life as possible. How you handle emotional pain in your life will determine how healthy and vital your mind and body are and how likely you are to be able to manage the confusion that often comes with anger.

It’s almost impossible to let yourself be happy if you’re shouldering past hurts from some real or imagined slight in your life. Some types of anger can be overcome quickly – such as a traffic conflict where someone cuts you off. You’re likely to be angry, but by the time you reach your destination, the anger is gone.

Other types of anger can affect you for longer periods of time. In fact, some carry anger and resentment with them their entire lives with no resolution in sight. For example, if a person cheats on you while you’re in a relationship – or hurts someone you love – it’s much more difficult to overcome than a traffic ticket or conflict.

Strong feelings are a natural reaction to something or someone who is threatening your life or the life of someone you care about. Whether real or imagined, your mind initiates the “fight or flight” response that is real. This is an innate response and ensures our survival. Unfortunately, it can also keep us from the happiness we seek.

The only way you can change how you respond to anger is to change your thoughts. Constantly dwelling on the damage that was done to you only exacerbates the feelings and reactions you have toward it.

It may be difficult to force your mind to think of other things – depending on how much the person or situation affected you. But, there are ways to banish anger in your life and take steps to stop being the victim of anger and overcome it forever.

One way to overcome anger is to exercise. It sounds so simple, but even a walk around the block can release the endorphins (feel good hormones produced in the brain) needed to help you manage intense anger and keep your cool.

If you can’t exercise during the first moments of anger, try deep breathing techniques. Also, standing and vigorously shaking your arms can help you release pent up anger.

Releasing your feelings by putting it to pen and paper or journaling is also an effective way to lessen the pain. Write down how you’ve been treated that’s made you feel annoyed and resentful. After you’ve written all these thoughts, engage in a “tearing up” ceremony where you mentally rid yourself of the hurtful feelings.

Anger can prevent you from being the happy person you were meant to be. What steps can you take today to release the anger and learn how to manage it before it takes over your entire life or limits the happiness you desire and deserve?