Many people know that anger can be a destructive and harmful energy. We see examples of it quite often in the media and even in our own lives. It causes people to be violent, to act out and destroy things or to shut down from others.
Many people also never learned what to do when they feel angry, so they tend to just suppress it until it explodes at the wrong time. Those successful in silencing their anger over time develop all kinds of ailments—from chronic fatigue, apathy and migraines to addictions, insomnia, binge eating and weight gain, as well as high blood pressure, chest pains and even death!
Anger is a serious issue and one that has been overlooked in many circles for many years.
I personally experienced the extreme swings between rage and guilt when my marriage broke down, and I was struggling financially to provide for my Daughter and myself. I felt emotionally drained, extremely anxious and unavailable to her when she most needed my reassuring. I was doing my best at the time and was already privy to the notion that the thoughts I think determine my experience. I had been learning and developing my awareness and my spiritual connection to myself for some time, when one beautiful morning I found myself literally “downloading” this process of Anger Releasing in about 30 minutes.
This technique became my regular go-to when feeling angry, and it has made a huge difference. I’ve managed to transform my relationships, open up to receiving more love and abundance than ever before, discovered so much more confidence and really started to unearth my unique voice and talents.
Here are 10 things we can do to effectively deal with and release long-held anger for better living. Once you apply these suggestions, it may not mean that it will be the end of anger forever; however, you will have a clear understanding of and, therefore, benefit from the situation that brought on the anger.
These steps are not meant to take the place of any therapy that might be of benefit to those that suffer from deep trauma. If you fall into this category, I would highly recommend that you seek out professional assistance. But for people with day-to-day concerns I put together the following points.
So, if you’re ready, here we go:
1. Acknowledge the anger:
Nobody can effectively deal with something they don’t acknowledge. Let yourself recognize when you are angry. For some, this is easy because they’ve learned how to be alert to their emotions, but others may need some help in identifying what they feel. Here are a few telltale signs that you might have some anger “under the hood:”
- You often wake up with your jaw clenched.
- You don’t want to make eye contact with certain people in your life.
- You are suffering from insomnia.
- You are accident-prone.
- You often feel like a victim of circumstances.
- You find that you have a dry nagging cough without having a cold.
- You often snap at your loved ones only to regret and feel guilty after.
And there are many more signs, but just asking yourself and opening up to the truth of what you feel can help.
2. Allow your feelings:
Imagine yourself walking down a garden path and there’s a thorn sticking out from a rose bush. Then imagine your shirt getting caught on that thorn. Now, if you keep going you will snag your shirt or possibly your skin, but if you take a step back you’ll be able to release your shirt and move forward again unharmed. It is the same with anger and any negative emotion: unless you take a step back and let yourself be where you are, you will not successfully be able to move forward without cost. Psychological studies show that suppressed anger can lead to depression, eating disorders, addictions, anxiety and relationships that generally do not work well.
So, allow yourself to be angry for just a little while—that is to really FEEL the anger while not judging yourself about it.
3. Find positive ways to express your feelings:
There are negative ways to express your anger that will not help you cope, but will increase the drama in your life and can cause further upsets. Examples include: taking revenge on people, reaching out for that bottle of vodka, acting in violence, venting your emotions directly to the person’s face. (Although sometimes the latter option happens despite better judgment, even to yours truly, and it’s not always with negative results; however, you’ll be taking a risk that it won’t turn out as you hope.)
On the other hand, there are positive ways to vent like: writing an angry letter and holding nothing back—then burning it. Or driving somewhere a bit isolated and shouting it out (very satisfying!) or punching a pillow, twisting a towel, chopping wood, going for a run, etc. The possibilities are endless. Once you allow yourself to fully let it out, the process actually can become fun!
4. Take time to dig deeper behind the anger:
Anger is a response to certain habitual thoughts. Even if we face a particular situation for the first time—chances are that we react with anger only when we translate what’s going on through habitual fearful thoughts such as:
“If they charge this much, I’ll have no money left for me.” (= There’s never enough money for me.)
“He looked at that woman like he is attracted to her. This means he thinks I’m not hot enough and he’s going to leave me.” (= There’s never enough love for me.)
“My kids never pick up after themselves, they must think I’m their slave.” (= There’s never enough appreciation or support for me.)
Learn to stop and listen to those habitual thoughts—that are very often only assumptions—and see what loops you are unconsciously running in your mind that upset you. As you increase your awareness of what’s really running your behavior and experiences, you have a much better chance to question those assumptions you follow blindly. Once you do that, you almost always find that you have scared yourself unnecessarily, that you are more powerful in affecting your experience and that people around you were much kinder than you gave them credit for. A brilliant process for this is “The Work” of Byron Katie.
5. Take responsibility:
See what this situation is mirroring to you? What is your part in this drama? This can be a difficult task if you’re still defending yourself and your actions; however, taking responsibility where it’s due can bring you back into your power and help you find your freedom of action under any and all circumstances.
6. Let go:
This is why some speak of forgiveness as a way to release anger. It is the decision to see the other as innocent, as you would like to see yourself, because all of us make mistakes and all of us act unconsciously from time to time. As you offer forgiveness to the other, you often find that you can more easily forgive yourself for your part in it. This is the golden opportunity that lies in the experience of anger: The opportunity to love ourselves more completely. Once you achieve that, you can draw a line under the anger and blame and free yourself from the past.
7. Turn your attention to what you now want. Imagine and communicate it.
Experiencing what you do not like always gives you a clearer idea of what you now prefer to experience. As you identify what you now prefer, you can start imagining yourself in this new reality, if only for the fun of it!
If you were cheated on, for instance, you can imagine what it would feel like to live in a trustworthy relationship. If the boss gives you too many tasks, you can imagine what it would be like to have an understanding and relaxed supervisor, etc. If you practice going into that feeling place often, you’ll be surprised to see little things starting to shift in your favor. But they won’t if you’re still holding onto resentment about what is going on now.
Also, once you identify what it is you actually want, you can communicate this more clearly to others and, in your clarity and peace, they can better hear you instead of becoming defensive. Saying: “In the future would you please (fill in the blank)?” is much easier to hear than blame or a roaring silence.
8. Find how you can give yourself what you were hoping to get from the other (because they may not be ready to give you what you ask for).
This is self-empowerment and self-love of the most effective kind. If you were upset that your neighbor was inconsiderate and you discover from this that you want consideration, then see how you can be more considerate to yourself. Where are you not considerate? Do you give out to yourself incessantly? Do you block yourself from doing what you love to do? What steps can you take to remedy that? It is not selfish to treat yourself nicely, and it ends up positively affecting your entire environment. As you are happier, you are inevitably kinder to others, and kinder they’ll be to you, too.
9. Show appreciation and gratitude.
In absolutely every situation, there are one or two (or even 10) things that you can be grateful for. Make it a game to find them and, voilà!, you’re in the receiving zone. The receiving zone is when you are open on all levels to receiving what you ask for. The more you find things to be grateful for, the more pleasing things come to you. This is because now you’re not complaining about your current reality; you know what you want and you are able to recognize it when it comes.
10. And finally, relax and enjoy life.
We take life way too seriously sometimes and find endless reasons to stress and fuss over little things. Find opportunities to play more, be around children, go out in nature and do those things you love to do. After all, life is for living!
Maya Benharroch is a Personal Life Coach with a metaphysical/spiritual twist. She is based in Ireland and has trained in Life-Coaching, Yoga and Meditation, Laughter Yoga, Rebirthing, NLP and Group Work Facilitation. She has many years experience on how to transform negative beliefs into positive energy and has offered many workshops and individual sessions coaching people on Anger Releasing, Relationships and Living Your Joy. She is currently working with individuals in person or on Skype to help them realize their dreams. For more information, contact Maya Benharroch in Ireland at tel.: +353 (0)85-7154200 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org (or email@example.com).