Coping With Anger and Rage
Most of us are taught from a very young age that anger is inappropriate. We learn to stuff it down, breathe it out, or turn it to tears. Many of us have seen awful things that come from uncontrolled anger, ie rage, and do everything we can to avoid that feeling in ourselves and people who display their anger. We see the havoc it causes in our own lives as well as the world.
Anger is not a bad thing though, it’s what we do with it that makes it a destructive or creative force. Our anger makes us less likely to put up with abuse and injustice. It can motivate us to seek out better circumstances and disconnect from those who are a consistent drain on our energy or resources.
It’s when we don’t listen to our anger that it becomes rage. That’s the slow boil that makes you feel ready to bubble over at the slightest provocation. If you’re struggling with anger or rage, I would like to offer you a few tools to help you in the moment as well as long term. Of course I’m not a doctor so please consider seeking out a professional if that is available to you.
What to do when you’re ready to snap
I think most of us have been there at one point or another. This is where the real danger lies. We might cross a line and say or do hurtful things that we will regret when the dust settles. Our ability to think and act rationally lessens when we’re angry.
Remove yourself from the situation
I know, easier said than done and it might take some practice. How you do this is going to differ depending on what’s triggering you and where you are.
Obviously if you’re at work, it’s probably not the greatest idea to walk out but you might take a break and go splash some water on your face. You might do something similar if it’s your kid that’s testing you.
Sometimes you might find it beneficial to just close your eyes and have a go-to visualization to help you remember what’s important while you take a few deep breaths.
Focus that energy into something good
Some people exercise, some create, my personal favorite is listening to loud music and singing with it at the top of my lungs. Your outlets will be very specific to you and your circumstances.
I highly recommend making a list of things you can do so you you don’t have to try to think about it when you’re in the moment. It’s always good to have some kind of a plan to guide us when we’re dealing with any of our more difficult emotions.
Healing and maintaining balance with anger
If you’ve got anger issues, I can guarantee you they didn’t just happen overnight. You learned your method of dealing with anger when you were young. If you never learned how to deal with it in a healthy way then you almost certainly collected years of awful people and circumstances that became kind of built into you because you didn’t know how to let them go.
Identify the source of your anger
Identifying what the problem is the first step in any healing process. If you know why then you can start to figure out how best to deal with it.
There might be people in your past or who did unforgivable things, you might be currently surrounded by people who make you feel less than, maybe you’ve got anxiety or some kind of sensory issues that need to be addressed.
Identify and experiment with possible solutions
What works for others may not work for you so don’t get discouraged when you try something and it doesn’t help. Other people’s experiences can inform us but they can’t replace the work we do within ourselves.
Do some inner assessment, research, see what works for others, try it out to see what helps as well as what doesn’t. Experiment your way into a plan of action you can take whenever things get tense and learn what habits you can cultivate in order to make those tense times less and less frequent.
In addition to identifying and working on the root cause of your anger, you want to train your brain to look for the good more than the bad. Make no mistake, you will find what you’re looking for so you should purposefully look for what you want rather than what you don’t.
What and who is good in your life? Think about that every day and dive as deep as you can into the gratitude you feel. Meditate, create, make it a point to see and celebrate even the smallest bits of progress you’ve made. Do new things and cultivate the connections you have with those who bring out the best in you. Take what hurt you and help others rise above. The more gratitude and joy you create, the less room there is for anger.