Anger affects everyone. And whether we’re on the receiving end, which we quite often are, or the purveyor of inner disgust that cavorts outward, matters little. Anger, as it’s personally reconciled, must best find expression in safe ways. If we cannot manage that it can be ruinous.
The causes of anger are just as wide-ranging as its manifestations. The following 20 ideas with which to vent our anger safely are provided in the hope that one or two might resonate with the reader. But, it pays each person, individually, to explore the deeper divides within that separate them from their essential tolerance provident for peace.
The key in effecting safe expression for anger is, obviously, in the early detection. Then it’s a matter of safe escape; of cognitive and emotional redirection.
Giving Safe Expression To Anger
1. Go for a walk. Walking involves exercising the will to remove ourselves from the physical source of our anger. It gives us time to reflect.
2. Have a cry. The truth about anger is it’s a secondary emotion; the primary emotion can, at times, be sourced in extreme frustration. Letting the emotions boil over in tears can be the most direct way of resolving the situation’s anger. Find a safe place.
3. Beyond instinct, patiently listen to someone. This is usually only workable in certain situations.
4. Watch a movie. Comedies probably won’t work, so go with the flow regarding genre. A movie fitting your present temperament (action, drama, etc.) will probably work best.
5. Do something, anything, productive; if you can switch your attentions that easily. This is short shrift victory over the anger—from stark negative to wondrously positive in one move.
6. Honestly communicate with someone you trust; someone you have previously gained permission from to vent with—someone who is safe within themselves and feels safe for you.
7. Exercise. Going for a run, a cycle ride, or doing a workout will burn off the excess energy that the anger is producing. Exercise also provides us mental digestion time. Just ensure you’re switched on enough to be mindful of hazards to ward against potential for injury.
8. Find somewhere quiet and dark and curl up; sleep if you can. If the mind keeps spinning around and around meditate on something far-flung.
9. For one moment, breathe. Breathe in... breathe out. From the diaphragm. Allow your composure to be restored in simple breathing. Turn the anger into something else.
10. Sex and anger are usually incompatible, but it does work for some. Just ensure it is safe and enjoyable.
11. Plan. It might sound ridiculous, but planning shifts our consciousness from the present into the future. It’s also a productive use of time.
12. Go to a space all your own. Regain control.
13. Choose something different. Reframing the circumstance turns us off Calamity Road, sending us left or right to a destination called Reason.
14. Switch stimuli. Take the eyes or ears or nose and give them over to an inert use of your senses; sensual responses can be redeemed quickly. Avoid eating.
15. Allow someone to tickle you. To do this requires the rejection of pride; the mind has this capacity. Though it won’t work for everyone, laughter tends to melt anger.
16. Resist the urge to drive, unless a serene and safe journey can be undertaken. Likewise, don’t operate anything hazardous unless it’s known to be therapeutic.
17. Do anything you otherwise enjoy, without expecting to enjoy it. Anger twists typical enjoyment, but at least something usually enjoyable diverts the attention.
18. Go and do something nice for someone, despite yourself.
19. Read an anger management book, or anything that provides perspective, like a poem or devotion or similar.
20. Saving the most predictable for the end: scream into a pillow.
We can manage our anger or our anger will manage us. It’s up to us, really.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.