Robin D. Webb
There could be a toxic workplace, perhaps, or even just an unhealthy friendship; there are individuals that have or are currently experiencing emotional challenges. At times, it can be difficult to know how to express certain emotions correctly, particularly an aggressive emotion such as anger.
Whenever you need to be able to express, “I am angry,” but you are not certain of how to do so, here are some ideas:
1. Re-direct your thinking or shift focus toward another activity.
When we experience a strong emotion such as anger, all that we can think about at the time is how angry we are and what caused the anger. Oftentimes, those thoughts are replayed over and over again until the anger escalates. Even talking about the incident which caused the anger could possibly re-fuel the angry emotions.
However, there are a variety of ways that a person can regulate his or her emotions and thought processes and they are as follows:.
Watch a funny movie, read a book you love, engage in physical activity such as going for a walk, or listen to music.
Finding a way to help your mind shift into a different mode is the goal. That could be as simple as packing your lunch for tomorrow, preparing the coffee maker for the morning, cooking for a loved one, or even taking a bath and getting into cozy pajamas. The key component here is to do something that requires intentional thought so that your brain has a chance to get onto a new track.
2. Say “I am angry” to your journal or your phone.
If your co-worker or a family member did something that you can’t quite get over, turn toward a healthy expression of your anger. You can e-mail yourself, write in a journal, or type how you feel into the Notes app on your phone.
The key here is to find an outlet that does not include screaming at the person that you are upset with. Set a time to express your anger in healthier ways and address any offense that’s necessary to address.
For example, state that you are angry and need to take a break from the discussion for about an hour, then either go into your bedroom or take a walk to process what the issue or challenge was. Ensure that you and your partner come back together within timeframe agreed and start conversation with possible ‘I Statements.’
In the heat of your anger, you will usually address your own emotions without examining how you feel. One of the best ways to explore those feelings is to write your anger out in some form. If you are a musician or a singer, this may be through song, but don’t send the recording to anyone.
3. Practice relaxation techniques such as breathing techniques, prayer, or meditation.
You may be a person of faith who chooses to turn to prayer, or you might enjoy a light stretching routine while you recite a familiar poem or verse in your mind. Another idea is to light a candle and allow a familiar scent to bring you comfort since the olfactory sense (our sense of smell) is tied to our memory center.
Some choose to bake when they are upset simply because it reminds them of happier, calmer times in life.
Although practicing a relaxation technique may not help you communicate the anger you have felt, it can give you a clearer mind to process and think about why you had gotten so angry in the first place. Understanding the root cause of your anger is a really helpful awareness tool that can prime your next steps.
4. Identify your triggers and examine the root causes of your anger.
Not every situation results in anger, especially if you come from an aggressive household or have had to deal with childhood trauma. Anger may have been the easiest emotion for you to express.
At times, we may need to process the emotion of anger and recognize that we had actually felt hurt, lonely, or left out or misunderstood. Perhaps it might be that the anger that we felt had come from an expectation we had that was not met, or from a feeling of not being able to trust another person.
Becoming aware of the root causes behind our anger can help us communicate with the other person what our needs or expectations are. One example is that if your roommate had invited her friends over, made a meal, and left the kitchen dirty (again), anger may rise up in you.
After calming down and exploring the root causes of your anger, you might realize that you had felt hurt and rejected by your roommate, because not only did she not invite you into the fun, but then she forgot to clean up the mess after the event as well.
In this case, your anger may be masking feelings of being left out. Decide upon a time to have a heart-to-heart discussion, then speak from the perspective of feeling left out and then as necessary, share with your roommate that those feelings resulted in anger.
5. Be accountable for your emotions, regardless of the outcome.
A willingness to explore the root causes of your anger is wonderful. Be willing to own your feelings. Even when your emotions seem illogical or out of place, accept responsibility for them.
One example is that you got stuck in traffic on the way home from school and your economics professor said that your project wasn’t complete. You must now spend the weekend working on the project if you want to get a good grade.
Another example is when you walk in the front door and discover that your little sister’s puppy has taken it upon himself to chew your sock into shreds, resulting in you lashing out at your sister.
Being willing to own your emotions, means recognizing that it is not your sister’s fault. Puppies chew things, and you had left your bedroom door open. The real issue of what you are upset about is the weekend of work that lay ahead of you, not your little sister’s puppy chewing up your socks.
Taking ownership of our emotions and being able to express our emotions in an appropriate manner is a healthy way of dealing with them.
6. Talk it over with a trusted counselor or friend.
Recognizing the source of your anger is important and learning how to express our emotions is just as important. However, it can help to reach out to a counselor on a regular basis as well.
One of the most important aspects of a person’s emotional wellness is taking proactive steps before excessive anger issues begin. Finding a counselor or a trusted friend who can be an active listener is important.
While having a friend who is willing to listen is wonderful, this can also place an unnecessary burden on your friendship. It may also mean that your friend is getting a one-sided view of you as a friend. So take the steps necessary to find a counselor near you. Call one of our offices to talk about how to find a counselor that will be able to guide you through everyday life situations that sparks anger.
Saying, “I am angry” is not easy. As humans, at times we tend to let our emotions get the best of us. So, acquiring some tools and techniques that we could put into practice or apply to life situations or circumstances, helps to maintain our emotional and mental wellness. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with me or one of the other counselors in the online counselor directory.
“Yelling into the Phone”, Courtesy of Alexandra Mirghes, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Standing in the Field”, Courtesy of Lachlan Dempsey, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Protest”, Courtesy of Sushil Nash, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Silhouette”, Courtesy of Colton Sturgeon, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
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