Work Through Anger
To address anger directly, the first step is to acknowledge what you are feeling. Many people see anger as an undesirable feeling because of the negative association with violence and aggression. Actually, anger is a normal feeling to have. Trouble usually begins when people try to ignore, deny and suppress anger. These actions build stress and tension while diminishing your resources.
Begin checking in with your feelings daily or several times per day to track the level and intensity of your anger. You can document your experience in a journal or with homemade tracking sheets. If creating worksheets is not in your future, premade ones exist online.
Tracking your anger allows you to understand times and situations that bring about more anger. From there, you can choose to avoid the situations altogether or find some other way to modify the conditions. This will help with the people, places and things that make you angry, but you are still left to answer the questions from earlier.
It may seem questions like “Why did this happen?” and “What did I do to deserve this?” have no definitive answer. Because of this, it is up to you to create an answer that sounds believable and is grounded in rational thought.
For example, consider saying, “I didn’t do anything to deserve my physical disability. It is not punishment for something I did or did not do in the past. This is just the way I am and I accept me.” By believing this line of thinking, you lessen feelings or judgments that you are responsible. Less responsibility means less guilt and less shame.
If that example did not strike a chord with you, consider a more religiously involved one by saying, “God has a plan for everyone. This is the plan that He has for me. It is not my job to question or understand the will of God. I trust God’s plan.” This idea goes along with the view that “bad things happen to good people.” This response brings a sense of peace to the situation.
If anger still persists, don’t hide it. Show it.
- Yell – Yelling at people is usually not productive. People’s feelings get hurt and you say things that you do not mean. So, yell at the wall or into a pillow. Scream as loud or as long as you can. After you complete the yelling, think about what it is you really want to say to someone and more appropriate ways to communicate it.
- Break – Visit a local thrift store or yard sale to find unwanted dishes, records, vases or anything else that looks like fun to break. Store them in a dedicated place in your home and when you feel anger building, seek them out. Of course, safety is important. Think about wearing safety glasses and gloves. The sensation of breaking something can be quite rewarding.
- Hit – Determine what is hittable in your home. Balloons are great options as they are readily available and clean up easily. Many times, anger and depression come from feeling powerless or helpless. Hitting something can inspire a feeling of empowerment that you can use to achieve your goals.
- Throw –Throwing a ball against a wall or a chunk of clay against the top of a table provides relief by releasing energy and stimulating your senses of touch, sight and sound. Pick up that clay and throw it down harder next time.