Anger is a feeling. It is not logical, or illogical. It's not rational, or irrational. It's not negative, or positive. It's none of these things, it's just a feeling. Some feelings are more comfortable than others. Feeling happy is certainly more comfortable than feeling sad or angry. However, to be a fully emotionally healthy being we need to allow ourselves to feel the full gamut of emotions. The whole spectrum.
Our Feelings Need to be Expressed
The difference with anger is that some of us may express it in a way that is not helpful to us or others, or the way it is expressed may be inappropriate. When we feel angry, which is a natural emotional response, if we are yelling at someone, or lashing out, then we are expressing our "anger" inappropriately.
The key is not to manage or control our anger, it is to find a way to release it in a healthy, safe and appropriate way. Some say when we are angry we just need to count to ten, or think through what we are going to say before we say it. This does not really address the feeling itself.
Stuffing Your Feelings Could Lead to a Multitude of Emotional or Physical Distress
This method of dealing with anger is just pushing the anger aside, or inside, instead of allowing ourselves to feel it and discover a way of releasing it appropriately. This isn't encouraging a release of anger onto the person we may be angry at, but rather to release it in a way that helps us feel better.
In Gestalt therapy, we utilize the "empty chair". This is where we may visualize placing our father, mother, partner or boss to enable us to speak to them in an uncensored way, and thus release our anger. This allows us to move the anger out of our bodies.
For What Reasons Would You Try This Method?
• It is a safe, appropriate, and healthy way of releasing anger because no one is getting hurt emotionally or physically.
• It is appropriate because we are not attacking the person we may be angry with
• It is emotionally healthy because we are not stuffing the anger, which could lead to emotional or physical illness.
Find a Sense of Calm and Peace
Our psychotherapy office has many physical vehicles for clients to express their anger. If someone needs to physically release their anger, a wavemaster filled with water is available to strike with a tennis racket, or a bataka bat.
We have found that using these tools for just a few minutes can help a person feel the anger leaving their body, releasing the charge, and then there is often a sense of calm and peace is acquired.
Try this the next time you feel angry at someone or something:
• Go to your bedroom where there is a soft mattress, or a room where there is a soft cushiony couch or chair
• Pound on the cushioned fabric
• Shout out loud, or in your head. Verbalize what you would like to say to the person you are angry with in an uncensored way
• Notice afterwards how you feel emotionally and physically.