2 Simple Methods for Dealing With Anger
First and foremost, anger is not a bad thing. It is a natural thing. In fact, it can be a healthy and constructive tool when used appropriately. People have studied anger both in its positive form and the harmful consequences.
It’s a mistake to presume that kindness, compassion, love, and fairness line up on one side of a continuum, and anger, rage, and dislike, on another side. Positivity alone is insufficient to the task of helping us navigate social interactions and relationships. A healthy society is not an anger-free society. – Kashdan and Biswas-Diener
What happens when we don’t use our anger appropriately and instead bottle it up? I have extensive experience holding anger down. All the little things build up and compress until there isn’t an ounce of space left. I snap! Often it isn’t pretty.
How many of us have stressful jobs? It is inappropriate to have a public outburst because of small things at work, correct? Throwing tables and chairs when people steal your labeled yogurt from the work room probably would result in anger therapy.
So what do we do? We bottle it up. Until our unsuspecting loved ones at home take the last yogurt from the fridge, now no one is safe. It isn’t the yogurt. It isn’t that your loved one enjoyed the yogurt. It is days of telling yourself to bottle up your rage. It is the lack of respect in the workplace that has spilled over and has been triggered at home.
Do you bottle up your rage?
I recently read “15 Struggles People Who Bottle Up Their Feelings Understand” by Christopher Hudspeth. If you find yourself exploding or constantly holding in your disdain, check this out for some comic relief that you can relate to.
Number 6 hit the nail on the head for me:
6. Eventually you’ll blow up. It’s inevitable. Probably randomly, all of those feelings will come out at once, and you’ll have the friendliness of a possessed person in the midst of an exorcism
The Health Implications of Bottled up Rage
According to Health Agenda-Mental Health, Psychologist Victoria Tarratt named the following health issues linked to suppressing emotions:
- Physical stress
- High blood pressure
- Memory issues
- self-esteem issues
I have witnessed these symptoms in myself and in loved ones who tend to suppress their emotions too. Acknowledging this has been a big step towards improvement for me. I have talked with the loved ones that I have exploded on in the past and apologized. It is important for them to know that the cliche is true, “it’s not you, it’s me.”
Two Simple Methods for Dealing With Bottled Up Rage
There is a ton of advice out there for expressing emotions and activities that you can do. I am going to share two that I have been working on from Mindful- Healthy Mind, Healthy Life:
- Think like a chess player– thinking about how your actions will elicit reactions can cut exploding time in half. I know that if I explode over petty household squabbles, my husband will respond in a certain way and I will retort in a pattern. A never ending circle. Instead, addressing the core of why I am angry and then deciding my next move has created a far more peaceful house where marriage is concerned. As of yet, the workplace or outside world takes more balls to express anger appropriately without bottling it up.
- Checking Anger Speed Limits – How often do we say things we don’t mean? Have you been caught in an argument where both parties are spewing words at each other and not even listening? Simply trying to talk over or be louder is not a victory. Mindful suggests taking a step back and truly thinking through your next comment. Listening to your opponent’s rebuttal thoroughly. It is hard to do, but slowing down the argument at least lets you get off your chest, in an understandable manner, your points. Now you are not left brewing over what you could have, should have and would have said.
What methods have you tried to release some of the pressure from bottled up rage? Share your techniques!
For more on emotions and how hormones add a whole other layer to the struggle, check out the post below.