Do we express it appropriately so as not to harm others or our self?
Anger is a powerful emotion and it can be incredibly destructive for the individual and for the whole world. Just look around at the state of the world – so much violence in all nations and cultures. It is not a question of whether the emotion is legitimate but whether we are expressing it constructively. We all get mad at our loved ones, our neighbours, at our governments, our bosses, our work colleagues and usually it is because of a difference of opinion. Frustration turns into anger.
How can we work with anger?
Firstly we need to acknowledge that we are feeling anger. So many of us are so well practiced at denying and suppressing anger that we fail to realise its existence in our everyday life. Common ways of dealing with anger include:
- physical and verbal aggression. Slamming a door, smashing a plate, kicking your own foot against a hard object, lashing out verbally at the person who upsets you with loud angry voice, even physically hitting and punching, or standing in a threatening pose. Road rage ” yelling out the car window and blasting the horn because the person in front of you is too slow and they should know that you are late for work”
- Sulking and withdrawal – ignoring the person/s who have upset you for hours, or days, even years in some cases.
- Vengeful thoughts – thinking of ways to get back at that person. “How dare they do that to me, I’ll teach them a lesson…”
- Constant criticism of the person – picking at the things about them you don’t like, always finding fault in the other.
- Sarcasm disguised as humour
- purposefully not doing something for the other – like not offering your loved one a cuppa when you are making one for yourself, or not doing that task they asked of you some days ago. It’s petty to withhold, but you feel they don’t deserve your help because they upset you.
These behaviours are carried out by most of us some of the time, and some of us most of the time! But one thing’s for sure, they only serve to make things worse in the long run. Relationships suffer and so does your health – tension builds up in muscles, energy cannot flow properly through the body systems – immune system, nervous system, digestive system, cardiovascular system – all suffer and you get to experience pain and fatigue.
Anger is a powerful energy and it can be used as a force for good. When anger arises, we can use that powerful energy to direct it into doing some physical task that needs doing like cleaning the house or washing the car, or going for a power walk, or a workout at the gym. We can pour out our anger into a written journal, or speak about it to a trusted friend or book a session with a counsellor.
We can train ourselves to respond more appropriately – all it takes is honesty with oneself and the practice of patience and acceptance! It seems that most of us have constant opportunity to practice patience and acceptance in our daily lives because we all differ in our beliefs and attitudes and values. Ultimately accepting our differences with kindness and respect reduces the chances for anger to arise in daily life. Accepting that we cannot always influence or change the things we don’t like helps us to live a happier life.
Remember, life is a work in progress, and we get better at everything with practice.
How can natural therapies help?
Bach Flowers offer a way to bring balance to our mental and emotional state. Holly is a “must have” whenever we are feeling angry towards someone and this anger interferes with our ability to feel kindness for the other person. Willow is for feelings of bitterness and resentment which may arise if we feel powerless in a situation. Chicory for those times when we may be feeling “poor me” and want others to do more for us.
Bowen therapy helps clear obstacles in our energetic system so that body systems function properly. Bowen therapy can help us to de-stress – tension is released and pain is alleviated, bringing calmness to our thoughts and emotions which helps us make better decisions about how we live our lives.