Anger is a tricky emotion, especially in our society. We get messages that anger is “bad” and that we should never show it. While we certainly don’t want to take our anger out sideways on innocent bystanders and we don’t want to rage at people we have anger towards, anger isn’t a “bad” emotion to be pushed away and shamed for. It is healthy to acknowledge, honor and express our anger as long as we’re not hurting anyone in the process. Here are three ways to channel your anger:
Mindfully check in with your body and notice where the anger lives. You may notice that when you’re angry, you clench your jaw. Many of us store anger in our jaws. Perhaps when you get heated, you feel your face flush. Do you notice that you make a fist? Or are you more someone who feels ashamed for having anger, so it’s stuffed down and manifests itself in an upset stomach or feelings of self-loathing? However your anger manifests itself, the first step towards freedom is to acknowledge that you are, in fact, angry, even if you’re not quite sure why.
Trying to put the judgment aside, see if you can think back to when you first started noticing the anger. Sometimes people believe that the key to anger management is to push the anger away and try to ignore it. But, I’m of the belief system that what we resist, persists. So if you want to get free of your rage and really learn anger management, try allowing yourself to be angry without doing anything about it, just noticing it in your body.
Here are some skills you can try for expression of your anger. Take what you like and leave the rest:
- Journal about the anger
- Write a ‘do not send’ letter to the person or thing you’re angry at
- Sweat it out - Go for a run or engage in another form of physical exercise
- Vent to a friend, therapist or another safe person not involved in the situation
- Rip up a phone book
- Punch a punching bag
- Create some art expressing your anger
- Write out the story of what happened, then rewrite it with what you wish would have happened
- Practice progressive relaxation
- Learn assertive communication skills and directly address the issue with the person or situation
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What else do you find helpful for anger management? Write your responses here: