Listen to Your Anger
Updated: Feb 25, 2020
Anger isn't bad. It gets its bad rap from what people experience when they hold on to it for too long and don't do anything about it or how they express it when they do let it out. When you hold onto anger, it becomes toxic to you internally and to the people in your life. Anger is actually a very useful feeling. It shows where you need to set a boundary and take back your power. Anger can manifest in the body as tension in the upper back, shoulders or neck. Here are some tips on how to listen to your anger and deal with it in healthy ways:
1. Accept anger. First, notice when you feel tension in your upper body. Feeling anger is part of being human. There is nothing wrong with feeling frustrated, irritated, pissed off, annoyed, fed up - the whole spectrum of anger is normal. It's how anger is expressed that usually gets people into trouble. Instead of judging your anger and trying to stuff it, honor it and know that it's there for a reason.
2. Listen to anger. Anger comes up when there is an important part of you that isn't being acknowledged or given the opportunity to be heard. Take time to understand why you are angry and what you need. Anger usually comes up when your boundaries have been crossed, you feel disrespected or that an injustice has occurred. When you feel tension in your upper back body, get quiet and rest your non-judgemental attention on that spot. Breathe into the tension and listen to what needs to be acknowledged.
3. Get even. I DO NOT mean that you get to be physically or verbally aggressive to whoever or whatever pisses you off. Acting in this way, loses your message and people learn to fear versus respect you. Getting even with the situation means that you get vulnerable with others about how you feel and communicate respectfully what you need (if it is safe to do so). It is your job to clarify your limits clearly and consistently which can be done in various ways (verbally, walking away, writing a letter, stopping contact). If the other person doesn't respect your boundaries, it is your responsibility to shift your behavior to get the space you need.
4. Move anger. Anger energy needs to be moved and processed through the body or it tends to stay stuck and can turn into bitterness. This is where exercise and other forms of processing like therapy, journaling and art help to shift anger and assist you in seeing other perspectives. Kickboxing, Tai Chi, running, yoga, hiking, walking and all other forms of intentional body movement are also great ways to process anger.
5. Use anger. The energy of anger can compel you to progress from where you are and shift your current perspective. Used constructively and mindfully, anger can move you to do something slightly different and consider other options - this is growth in expanding your mindset. Consider that maybe you needed to get angry in order to wake up and create the next chapter of your life more in the way you want it to look.
Again, anger isn't bad. It is information that can help us notice where we need to set a boundary, take a step back, move or shift our perspective. Observe it, honor it, then let it go to avoid keeping it stuck in the body for too long. You got this!