Let's Talk about Anger: How Do You Deal?

Friday, December 11, 2020

This doesn't feel great to admit, but: I used to have a bad temper. Not, like, a violent temper, but definitely a temper. The door to my childhood bedroom is still broken at the bottom from the time I slammed it shut & kicked it in anger as a teenager... & my foot went straight through to the other side. (Sorry, Mom.)

With time, age, & a lot of personal effort, I've gotten my temper largely under control. Recently, I found myself in a situation where I was furious; I'd just gotten some upsetting news, & I was so mad about it that I just... didn't know what to do with myself. 

When I finally calmed down, after having dealt with my anger in a number of healthy, responsible wats, I got to thinking about how much I've changed in this particular area. Sure, I sometimes still yell when I'm angry, but don't we all? Honestly, I'm pretty proud of myself. 

Anyway, after all of that thinking, I thought I'd share with you the ways I deal with my anger in mostly healthy ways... & I'd love to hear your tips, tricks, & time-tested emotional survival skills, too.

Do something physical.

When I'm angry, I feel like there is not enough physical space within my body for the way I'm feeling, like the anger is a tangible thing that is busting at the seams & seeping out through my pores. The only way to deal with this initial burst, in my experience, is to get it out in a physical way. The key is making sure that it's a healthy physical way, unlike kicking a door.

For example, after receiving aforementioned news, I decided to go for a walk around the block. Unfortunately, it had snowed about a foot the night before, so that wasn't a great plan. You know what was? Channeling my angry energy into shoveling my driveway, which was both cathartic and helpful. 

Listen to the right music.

Long ago, I made a playlist called "Songs from the Bear Pit," which is how I used to describe my anger: I don't stay mad long, for the most part, but if I decide that someone is on my shit-list, they go into the bear pit, & there's almost no likelihood of their ever coming out.

The "Songs from the Bear Pit" playlist is full of songs that reflected that anger, including "My Interpretation" by Mika, "Puke" by Eminem, "I Don't Fuck with You" by Big Sean, "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morisette... you get the picture.

Reach out for support.

I am always wary of reaching out for help when I am angry. I tend to say things I don't mean, or at the very least, my angry energy can be the sort of all-consuming that sucks the air out of a room & makes other people uncomfortable. I know by now not to inflict that on others.

Once I've calmed down from the initial rush of anger, though, I often reach out to a loved one I trust, someone who knows me & my personality & can understand that, usually, my anger comes from a deep passion or caring that just feels too big for my body. And at that point, talking it out can really help.

Meditate.

When I am first feeling angry, this is almost impossible for me. Like I said, I have to do something physical to help soothe the initial burst of angry energy. Afterward, though, I am often left with anxiety & panic, a sort of frenetic, aimless energy that needs to be addressed it its own ways.

When that part of the process sets in, I turn to meditation. I love the meditation classes on the Peloton app, in particular, which are broken down by goals, like calming, energizing, forgiving, having compassion. etc.  

Take a nap.

When all else fails... sleep. I can't be the only person who employs this strategy for blocking out the world, right?

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