In the previous post I touched on unhealthy approaches in regards to anger instead of the “abc” way which is my own simplified explanation of the underlying intention of and potent responses to, our emotions. If you haven’t read about it or need a reminder check out “Get bleepin angry (part1/2)”. Now I’ll focus on what you can do on your part once the sensation of anger starts brewing. Like I’ve mentioned before, a, b and c are not necessarily in chronological order.
A. Receive the message
To receive anger’s message, solitude is key. Depending on if you’re the type who represses or acts out in anger, different pathways will lead up to your arranged alone zone where you’ll proceed with the abc. If you tend to overlook anger then once you feel that uncomfortable tension within, make a mental note and make sure to return to it later on. Now if you belong to the reactive category, the intensity of anger will determine the amount of restraint necessary to maintain your composure. If you have a strong urge to act on anger, console yourself with the fact that you will deal with the situation eventually.
Once self isolated, uncage the anger verbally! Go all in, swear like you never have before, combine the craziest curse words you’re capable of, forget political correctness or being nice. I think you get the point. Some might need to push themselves for this part, for others it will come more naturally. When the “aggressive” response settle begin the dialogue with the anger to retrieve its message. Simply start with “why am I angry?” Don’t stop with “I’m angry because this happened” or “that person said or did such and such”, dig deeper. What about the situation specifically set off the anger? Follow the answers and discover where it leads you. You might end up with: my boundary got crossed, I feel powerless, I feel betrayed, I feel disappointment, I feel exposed, it’s unfair etc. It’s then from this standpoint, your true reason for being angry, you approach whatever caused the reaction.
B. Feel the emotion in your body
This is all about acknowledging the emotion by making it concrete. Where is the anger located in your body, can you point it out? If it had a colour what would it be? What about shape? Is it squared, round, pointy, small, big? How does it feel? Is it sharp, or does cause a contraction? Round things off by breathing into the place of the anger in the body and imagine it dissolving.
C. Release the anger
I strongly urge you not to skip this part. Anger is an energy fueled state so make sure to get rid of the extra boost within instead of storing it in the body. Here are examples of activities to release anger without causing harm.
1. Scream. I prefer to use a pillow. That way I don’t disturb anyone and get to do it in the comfort of my own space. Alternatively, find a secluded area where you can roar freely.
2. Shatter porcelain or glass. Find a safe space where you can throw an invaluable cup or such against a wall or the ground. The therapeutic effect might surprise you, just be cautious.
3. Scribble. Scribble really hard on a piece of paper. And yes, the paper might/will/should rip. Grab another sheet if needed.
4. Go for a run. This is a great way to place the energy into something that benefits you.
Now the process is over. You should be past the anger haze and in a clearer state of mind (if not do another round). What’s next? It’s time for you to decide how to move forward with your new found insights catalyzed by your anger.