Transforming Anger

Tessa Burns MartinRelationship, Stress

Written by Sharon Stopforth, Registered Social Worker

How do you dance with anger?  You may not know what to do or where to go with it.  Anger can often feel overwhelming and rear its ugly head at inappropriate times, with a tremendous force that doesn’t match the situation and ends up getting stifled or repressed.  If anger is repressed for too long, depression and self-destructive and addictive behaviour are often the result.

Are you masking your anger, rage, and frustration, denying your instinctual gut feelings?  Denying feelings blocks the healing power of anger.  Use anger to gain greater self-clarity for reshaping your life.  When you feel angry, the first step is to know how it feels, getting in touch with how anger first appears in your body.  Intellectual analysis is not called for here.  Let the body’s wisdom lead the way.  Stifling it, denying it, or distracting from it blocks the flow.  My heart pounds, my face reddens, and my stomach tightens the very moment a situation triggers anger.  Instead of reacting by venting, or distracting myself from my feelings with analytical interpretations, I immediately bring my attention to my body, breathing into my angry places.  By being fully present in my body I’m able to take care of me first; I flow with the energy as it enters and eventually works its way through my body.  This practice helps me to break free from the old way I used to dance with it.  In the past I was never able to communicate effectively while in the fight mode.  Now once I’m fully aligned with my body, I manage my anger wisely.  I tackle the challenge of effective communications, asking myself “What is the real issue here?” and “What do I really want to say?” Coming to courageous decisions, writing letters, making phone calls or directly confronting issues is often the last step.

If your rage is overwhelming, seek guidance, particularly if it revolves around sexual abuse.  Those who do not confront their incest or sexual abuse secrets and get counseling are likely to suffer from addictions and depression.

Once your anger is channeled and understood, the way is made for new growth and transformation.