Anger has a bad rap we can think that we should not be angry, feel angry or express our anger, especially as women. However anger is an energy that needs to move and it can be an important messenger for highlighting something we may need to look at. We have every right to feel our anger, that doesn’t mean to say that we have every right to explode towards other people, but we do have the right to honour and respect our feelings of anger and listen to what it has to teach us.
Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean. – Maya Angelou
At times we may be angry with ourselves, we may be angry with a situation, we may be angry with our friend or our partner or our spouse. We can find ourselves angry with a person or a relationship in our lives that is particularly difficult.
Maybe something’s happened, maybe something hasn’t happened that you feel should have happened, or something that shouldn’t have happened did happen. It can be any number of things that can bring us to the point of anger. A feeling of anger may be an accumulation of years of different things building up. We may find that we have a very low threshold to anger, meaning that we carry so much stuff with us, that when we get angry, we blow really quickly.
This is something that a lot of people deal with. It is important to know that there are some mechanisms and some ways to help you calm down.
Quite often, when we’re angry, we can launch at somebody and say things in anger, in haste that we then later regret. Maybe things come out that we would have preferred to have expressed in a different way. We might blow our top and express things that given a breath, given a beat, given a couple of minutes, given, walking away, we might not have chosen at that time to mention. So things may come out when we’re angry that perhaps do need to be said, but there are ways of saying things and we may not get the result we want if we use anger as a way to express ourselves. Therefore on the whole given the choice we would usually prefer to say those things in a more calm impactful way where someone is more likely to listen. The truth is on the whole when we speak to someone in anger they are unlikely to hear what we are saying they are more likely to react to the anger before they hear the words or what we are trying to express.
So the first thing we are going to look at is where in your body you’re holding the anger. You may feel that there’s a lot of tension in a particular area, when you are angry you may feel that you are breathing in a shallow way, you may feel that you clenched fists. You may feel your shoulders tense up. Once you have noticed where in a body you hold anger, with focus and intention you can start to notice as and when it arises in your body and you can use that as the the warning sign or messenger that you need to take a break, walk away from what is going on and calm the body down. You can do this by breathing into the anger, really allowing yourself to feel it rather than expressing it.
You may be find yourself feeling absolutely furious. You may literally feel like you are shaking with anger, it is a phrase people use “she was shaking with anger”. Actually the notion of shaking is a really good one because we don’t often give ourselves a chance just to shake it out.
So the first thing I would suggest if you’re in a situation and you find yourself getting angry, take some space, go into another room or go outside and just really allow yourself to feel the anger. Then once you have allowed yourself to really feel it and you have breathed into it you can then really shake it out. Just literally shake the anger out with your hands and shake it out with your feet, stomp your feet. Anger is an energy that needs to move. It can really help when we can move it through our body and just really acknowledge that: “I’m really, really angry and I just want to get it out.” Punch the air, jump up and down move, tense your body and stamp it out. Do this until you feel tired, do this until you find yourself breathing more deeply do this until you feel you have taken to edge off the feeling of anger in your body. Make sure when you do this that you find somewhere you can just allow yourself to physically express it and move it without worrying about someone seeing you so you can freely shake it out of your system. This might not get rid of all the anger but it will certainly help it to move.
Under normal circumstances other ways to physically let the anger move through your system would be to take the anger on a run or take it on a bike ride or do a HIIT class. This kind of physical activity might not necessarily be immediately available to you. So finding a private space and shaking the anger out of your body, can be something you can do right here right now and it can really help.
Taking space is also important because when we’re at boiling point, we really need a chance to calm down before we go back to somebody on whatever it is that’s happening in that moment. Otherwise we can bring that anger into the situation and make things worse. If you are dealing with a difficult person who has a lot of anger themselves, bringing your anger into the mix, isn’t going to solve anything. If you do that you’re going to be fighting fire with fire, and it’s only going to go one way – it’s going to escalate up. So taking yourself out of the situation, giving yourself a chance to breathe into and feel the anger and then simply shake it out can be enough to bring you back towards neutrality within yourself.
Once you’ve shaken the anger out of your system, just sit with it and sit with all the emotions underneath. Anger can act as a mask hiding other emotions beneath it for example it can hide pain and sadness, it can hide tears. Anger can hide all sorts of things that are sitting underneath. It can feel safer to feel the anger than to actually delve into some of the painful emotions that may be going on behind that. Again this is another example of anger as a messenger, it is alerting us to deeper emotions that we are not entirely present to. So sit with the anger and feel it, shake it out of your body. And then once you’ve got some movement and the energy of the anger starts to dissipate then take a few seconds or a few minutes to write down what it is that’s making you so angry and what is going on underneath the anger.
Take a note book and write down why you are angry. At first you may feel so angry that you want to scratch the pen into the pad. Thats fine just sit with it and the simply list the things that are making you really angry, and you might find another thing, and another thing, another thing. But it’s better you have that conversation between yourself and a pad and paper rather than add all your feelings of anger into the middle of what was perhaps already a difficult scenario brought you to anger.
You may find by writing it out that it wasn’t really that situation at all that is making you feel so angry but, as you write things out, you may realise that it is something else entirely. All the reasons that appear on your list are issues for you to work through and to find ways of addressing at a time when you are not feeling so charged.
Also in your notebook you could write down everything, that’s relating to the situation, just really brain dump, everything that’s making you feel so angry and frustrated. And sometimes when we get it out of ourselves, it can just help to see what we’re dealing written out infront of us, it can give us a chance to think: “Well, no wonder I’m feeling so irritated, earlier in the week, this is what happened. And then to top it all today that happened.”
Writing out all the things that are bothering you or causing you to feel anger can help you have deep compassion for yourself and all that you are dealing with. When you do this you give yourself the opportunity to simply be our own best friend. When we can then bear witness to ourselves and validate our own emotions while finding kindness towards ourselves in turn helping ourselves deal with things. Unpicking why exactly we are feeling so angry can be really beneficial.
There can be so many reasons why we get pushed to our limits, but one thing is for sure we are not the best version of ourselves when we are pushed to our limits. And if we’re smart then we know that by acting from rage or anger, isn’t necessarily going to get the result that we want. Being calm and rational and stating the facts and our concerns in a neutral way is far more likely to render a result that we want.
So when you have sat with the anger, you’ve breathed into it and then shaken it out of your system and you’ve written it down and you have explored the energy of anger, and what lies behind it you realize that there is a lot of strength in the energy of anger.
Often we’re not comfortable sitting with anger. We think we shouldn’t be feeling angry. We think it’s not okay to be feeling angry. But as we can see it is important to allow ourselves to feel angry. Anger is there for a reason for example anger for injustice towards ourselves or others or anger to set a boundary or anger to say we’ve had enough. We don’t need to express anger as anger to others – we can use anger as a red flag as a messenger for us to pay attention to; to explore and to choose how we want to respond. We can sit with anger and utilize that energy in a more constructive way. So in time we can learn to see anger as a messenger, to just sit with anger as it comes up, explore it and find out the message it has for us.
When you realise that “I have every right to feel angry,” and then explore the anger within yourself, then you can use that anger, that red flag as an opportunity to stop, reflect and think about what is going on and in turn, how you you want to deal with the situation.
Practice using the “BUZZ”
I have every right to feel angry
A BUZZ is a thought word or phrase designed to BUZZ around your mind to interrupt your thoughts giving you a chance to change your thoughts.
The BUZZ for anger is, “I have every right to feel angry.” We have a right to feel angry if things are conspiring in a way that makes us feel angry. We’ve got every right, to feel all of our own feelings. We don’t necessarily have the right to impose them onto other people, but we certainly have the right to feel them.
When we sit with that buzz, “I have every right to feel angry,” and then explore the anger within ourselves, we can as mentioned, use that situation, that red flag as an opportunity to stop, reflect and think about what is going on and how you want to deal with it.
Anger is an energy that needs to move. Next time you are feeling angry go somewhere where you can be by yourself and shake the anger out of your system
- Anger is an energy that needs to move
- Learn to recognise where you hold anger in your body
- Sit alongside anger and breathe into it
- Shake the anger out of your system
- Anger is a messenger, write down everything thats making you angry to uncover the message – understanding what is going on so you can choose how to deal with it
- Use the BUZZ “I have every right to feel my anger” to interrupt your thoughts
If you found this helpful check out my online course for more of the same Positive Mirrors