Anger is a river. It wants to be released into the vaster ocean. It wants to move naturally. When we repress it with premature forgiveness, block it with false positivity, repress it in the name of pseudo-peace, we just dam(n) our natural flow ~ Jeff Brown
Anger has been described in primarily negative terms in our culture and is often an emotion that carries an outcome of punishment attached to it. It is a primal instinct that in mankind’s early evolution was a healthy response to danger.
Even though anger has its roots in being one of many healthy and normal human emotion, it can also be both hurtful and destructive. The headlines are overflowing with reports of war, gang violence, domestic violence, torture and murder that are the result of some level of anger that has spilled over into harmful action. At the heart of angry behavior there is often fear of losing control of a situation or a repression of expression that can be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Without some level of boundary, anger can become destructive and can wreak havoc at work, in your relationships and in your everyday life.
The Value of Anger
Anger is an unpleasant feeling if you are on the receiving end of it and can feel overwhelmingly powerful if you are expressing it but it is not necessarily completely negative. When channeled in the right direction, however, it can be used for productive purposes. It can be personally empowering and can provide a channel for self-expression that is both necessary and commanding. If you pay attention to your ‘anger moments’ they can support you to:
- Release repressed emotions
- Know when you are ready for healing
- Claim your true desires
- Direct and focus your chaotic energy
- Cultivate respect
Constructive Ways to Channel Anger
You can develop certain skills to keep a check on your anger and learn how to channel its forceful energy in healthy and positive ways:
- Take Some Distance – Respond rather than react: When we pause, we give ourselves a chance to let our initial impulses dissipate before we act on them. Sometimes this may take only a minute, depending on the situation. Other times we may want to sleep on it before we respond. i.e., if we take the time to think thoroughly about appropriately responding to a situation – rather than fly off the handle – it can make a big difference.
- Take a Breath – Filter the facts:Jumping to conclusions about your setbacks is often a catalyst for toxic behaviors. It is crucial to check perceptions in order to respond effectively since sometimes our perception of the situation are the issue.
- Communicate from the heart – Unmute yourself: Speak openly and directly when you are angry at others. Use firm but respectful words to make yourself heard. Be straightforward. Tell the person what you are feeling and why you’re feeling it. Avoid the temptation to judge the other person, criticize, or attack them.
- Do not defend…Listen – Open your heart and ears: Often, major conflicts are often simply misunderstandings in disguise. If we take the time to listen to the other person, we can avoid the misconception and become more aware of their perspective.
- Take Another Breath – Go Inside – Reflect: How have you contributed to this situation? In this situation, how could you express your feelings more effectively? Do you enjoy attacking other people or exploding when you’re angry? Asking yourself such questions is a great way to practice self-reflection and personal accountability. It also provides you with insights as to how to approach the situation differently and more effectively.
The skills to deal with anger constructively can be hard to learn, but they open up a broader perspective and induce empathy and personal growth. The outcomes are well worth the effort and vigilance.
Be well, Breathe Inner Calm