Be Angry, or Be Angrier

March 19, 2014 — Leave a comment

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Although in this society we’re starting to learn and accept our feelings more anger is one of the feelings that is still very taboo.

We are taught that anger is like cancer that kills us from the inside. We’re made to feel bad when we feel angry.

“You’re too angry.”

“Being angry is unhealthy.”

For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind. – Emerson

The truth is that anger is an emotion like all the others. It’s not better or worse. It just is what it is.

Love is another emotion that is known for getting people in heaps of trouble and yet no one would dare suggest that folks not feel love.

When we repress our natural feelings, whatever they are, we are saying that what we feel is not okay. Not only that but when we don’t find positive and productive ways to channel our anger, we hold onto those feelings and they just change into something else that is usually more toxic than just sitting with the feeling would have been.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is to get angry.

In fact being angry can actually be healthy for you. The trick is to find the delicate balance between allowing yourself to feel angry without going overboard or allowing the anger to consume you.

Holding onto angry like a friend’s hand and walking around angry with the world isn’t healthy but neither is pretending it doesn’t exist. 

Feeling your feelings — whatever they are — is perfectly okay. There is nothing wrong with you because you get angry. (Little secret: everyone does!)

But process your anger in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling worse, beating up on yourself, or shameful. Some ways I like to process anger are:

::Writing an email to someone you’re pissed at and saying everything you’re feeling::

This is one of my personal favorites. I love to open a blank email and write out every angry thought I’m thinking. I do not censor myself and really let myself go crazy with it. I say the things that I would never really say to anyone and just allow myself to feel it without judgment.

I type until I’ve let it all go and then I either save it or delete it. I never type in a name in the subject and I never press send.

There is something really liberating about being able to comfortably say and feel what you want. It’s much better than holding onto those angry thoughts and letting them plant seed in my heart.

::Get physical::

While sometimes anger makes us want to punch, hit or throw things that is NOT what I am suggesting here. What I am suggesting is that moving your body can help get you out of your head and help release some of the mad energy.

It should be intense movement like going for a fast paced walk, doing sit-up or push-ups, riding your bike or just dancing like a maniac to music that gets your juices going. The activity it to channel the angry energy by using your body as a tool. You can scream, punch the air, or really any movement that feels comfortable and good.

:: Sit with it::

It’s okay to sit with anger.

Yes, you read that right. I said it’s okay to sit with anger.

It’s okay to sit quietly and just feel it. To breathe in and out and to notice where the anger turns up as physical sensations in your body. It’s okay to notice whether the anger has other feelings that come along with it, like guilt or sadness or shame.

Sit for a set period of time (5-10 mins) and just feel it. Watch the anger float past and through you like clouds in the sky.

When you’ve reached the end of your set time, get up and shake your body and do something that makes you happy, like listening to a song, or watching a funny clip on YouTube. The trick is to leave the anger where you were sitting and not carry it the rest of the day.

::Vent it::

Normally I believe that we shouldn’t spend a lot of time complaining about stuff, and that venting can sometimes be misused and abused. But I also think that venting to someone can be helpful for releasing anger.

You can vent to a friend, a family member, a professional like a therapist or life coach, or even your pet. The trick is to have someone who is safe and who will not judge you, offer advice or tell you to “get over it,” and who understands that you need to just feel the anger to get over it.

Like with some of the other things, you’ll want to set a time limit with how long you vent so that it doesn’t become a never ending bitch-fest that makes you feel worse rather than better. Maybe ask your venting friend to set a timer for you and to tell you a joke at the end.

I sometimes think that our feelings are very much like us: energy that is moving and breathing and just wants to be seen and acknowledged. The best way to get through any feeling with a negative association is just to feel it, without judgment, and to let it go like the ribbon of a balloon and watch it float up into the air until you can no longer see it.

Don’t be afraid to be angry. Get pissed. Get fucking good and mad.

It’s okay.

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