What's the Deal with Anger?

Every emotion we have has a purpose. Emotions are never bad. In fact, they are a helpful way of communicating that there is an imbalance or disruption in our life that needs attention. When I am angry, it is usually a sign that I need to make a change; that I am either not being authentic and/or doing what is best for me, or that I need to shift my perspective and receive the lesson and sometimes the gift in any given situation.

Acute anger can be diffused more simply than longer-standing anger. I’ve experienced both and have taken actions to release and work through them depending on the severity and reason behind each specific circumstance.

What helps me when I feel angry?

First, I cultivate awareness. Anger is often a secondary emotion. The real emotion behind anger is usually sadness or fear. When I take time to peel the layers surrounding my anger, I arrive at the center and discover the true emotion that needs attention. For instance, one time I was furious for weeks and I couldn’t deduce why. I realized it had to do with my health challenges, but that didn’t narrow it down, since, well, I have had LOTS of health stuff. Then I realized I had recently been given many opportunities that I couldn’t participate in because of my physical limitations: a trip to New York, invitations to go hiking, skiing, or even just wine tasting. All of these invitations made me initially happy to receive, but then I became frustrated and saddened that I couldn’t say yes or participate. I felt sad that I was missing out on life. And so I became angry. When I addressed the sadness and frustration and focused ultimately on things I could do instead of what I couldn’t do, the anger subsided.

Here are just a few other examples of what I do when I feel angry:

  • Feast on funny and uplifting books and movies.
  • Journal to help me purge any pent-up emotions.
  • Meditate and practice deep breathing.
  • Move! By engaging in some form of physical activity, I can release any trapped energy.
  • Scream in my pillow – I grab my pillow and scream into it as loudly and as uncensored as I can. It is a healthy release and I feel so much lighter.
  • Watch Bob – There is a comedic skit with Bob Newhart that always snaps me out of whatever difficult emotion or situation I need help with. In the skit, Bob plays a psychiatrist and dispenses therapy within only five minutes. Although the purpose of the skit is pure comedy, it has more truth than you might imagine. This is my go-to quick reminder when I need a hearty laugh and a reality check. It’s at: WatchBob Enjoy!

We all experience anger, it is a normal and healthy part of life. It’s what we do with our anger that makes all the difference.

As always, wishing you healing and happiness,