Finding Relief and Release From Anger

Anger may very well be the most confusing emotion. When our anger is repressed, we tend to feel deflated, depressed, and numb. When it takes hold of us, we tend to lose control and behave in ways that we might later regret. 

So what can we do with anger? How can we best relate to this emotion? And is there any relief? These are all questions we hope to answer in today’s blog.

Three Different Approaches to Anger

1. Keeping anger in. In this approach, we keep our anger in, never expressing it. The proponents of this approach might say things like, “If you have nothing good to say, say nothing.” They tend to believe all anger is bad and hurtful and that we should never let our anger find expression. 

2. Letting anger out. In this approach, we immediately express our anger as if keeping it unexpressed is unhealthy. These individuals tend to believe unexpressed anger can cause unnecessary tension in the body.

3. Being with our anger. Some think we should meditatively stay with our anger. In this approach, we stay with the awareness of it without taking its perspective. We might explore how anger feels in our body and breathe into it as a way of taming the fires. 

man coping with his anger

What Little Kids Do

If you watch little kids and what they do with their anger, it becomes very obvious that they are not keeping their intense feelings in. They are also not mindfully sitting with their anger. 

When a child is throwing a temper tantrum, they scream and shake and throw things (or their fists) around, and then, as if by magic, come out of this ritual smiling as if nothing had happened. 

How can this be possible? 

A very young child has no conditioning around what he or she is supposed to do with the intense energy of anger. This child is unconcerned with social norms. A young child already knows how to move through anger! This is the body’s innate wisdom. 

A Technique to Practice

As adults, we can do exactly what little children do in the safety and privacy of our own homes. A living room or a bedroom are ideal places for this practice. 

In a way that doesn’t hurt anybody, let yourself speak freely. Let your anger express itself fully without any need for filtering what you say. Exaggerate this even more, feel the aliveness of your whole being. 

Move around, make sounds, and let your body move freely. If you want, you can squeeze a pillow or even yell into it. You can imagine the person who angered you in front of you and speak to them directly. 

The goal here is to get so fully into this that you’re no longer self-conscious, judging yourself for every little thing you say. 

Do this fully for at least two minutes. And then simply lie down on your couch or bed and stay with how you feel. 

stressed man handling anger

Anger Integrated

In this practice, we are not treating anger as if it’s something we have to get rid of. We are simply diving into it and exploring it from the inside. This creates a big relief from the need to change anger into something else. 

Healthy anger is direct, as empowered as it is vulnerable. When we say a firm yet kind “no” to someone, it is our healthy anger that’s flowing freely in us at that moment.

At Sunshine Coast Health Centre and Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic, we pride ourselves in delivering the best service possible through an approach that recognizes the importance of the physical, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of individuals in treatment and recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use or mental health, give us a call today.

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