Everyone has their limits. The sweetest of us can be crossed. The question is, how do you handle it when you feel overwhelmed with anger? From this heated emotional state, anything can happen. From saying something you can’t take back, to having to restrain yourself from getting physical – if we let it get the best of us, Anger can sign checks that our sane self can’t cash. Maybe try this instead:
1) VALIDATE. Acknowledge your emotions, and validate yourself. You have a right to feel however you feel (that doesn’t mean you have the right to do whatever you want to do). As simplistic as it may seem, sometimes just acknowledging your feelings is a way of tending to yourself and re-centering. Say within yourself, “I’m angry, I’m human, and that’s ok.” Just because you feel the anger doesn’t mean you have to act on it. Sit with your emotion until it subsides. It too shall pass.
2) SHIFT. Core Beliefs are connected to Thoughts are connected to Feelings are connected to Behaviors. So if you want to change the way you feel, you can work on thinking of things that are life-giving to you. What makes you happy? What are you grateful for? What things have you accomplished that you’re proud of? Think on those things to shift the way you feel. To go the extra mile, see if you can connect with the core belief that was violated. We only get angry when someone crosses a boundary that violates what we believe. Gaining insight into that can help you shift your attention onto working with that core belief rather than rolling around in your anger.
3) REMEMBER. Don’t forget that holding onto anger towards someone is like drinking poison yourself and then expecting them to die. The one who is harmed by your anger is you. Remember you love yourself too much to ruin your own day with anger. You’ve got a life to enjoy and don’t want to miss positive moments that are happening right in front of you because your mind is somewhere else pondering on negativity.
4) BREATHE. It’s amazing what a deep breath can do. You may not be able to instantly stop the thoughts in your mind, but you sure can make strong suggestions to it by slowing down your breathing. Your deep breathing sends a message to your body that you are starting to relax. Your heart rate slows down, you get more oxygen to your brain to think more clearly, and you literally start getting a hold of yourself. Focus on your breathing and away from the anger. Say within yourself, “In this moment, I am safe, I’m aware, and I’m okay.” And keep right on breathing your way back to balance.
5) LET IT GO. Do it for yourself. You can only carry so much. The weight of anger is more than you need to bear. Explore forgiveness. See if you can view the experience from an angle that helps you release it. Maybe you decide to use this as an opportunity to practice grace – the act of giving favor and making exception for someone that may not necessarily deserve it. Or maybe you decide to let your Exhale represent letting go of negativity. Every time you breathe out, you let go of feelings you don’t need anymore.
Yes, there is righteous anger. Things that rightfully get a rise out of you and help you stand up for justice. But then there are other times when the anger is just not worth holding onto because it’s doing more damage than good. When you find yourself in that state try any one of these suggestions. If one isn’t effective in your situation, try another. Maybe you decide to move through them all. The very attempt and desire to engage in positive behaviors to improve your feelings can lead you out of a negative emotion and into a more peaceful place where you keep your power.
Wishing You Peace & Personal Power,
Chanel C. Bowen, LPC, LCAS, CSI, DCC