I know I'm not the only one that has a rough time dealing with anger in their lives. In fact, if you don't have enough anger about things from your past, I'm sure there is enough current stuff to create anger in your life. For some people, they seem to get angry all the time at the smallest things while other are very adept at hiding it and not even aware that they are doing this. Regardless, of what type of person you are and how you deal with anger, it is prevalent in our society and in our lives. One just has to stop and take a moment to look and see it.
For me, I was never allowed to get angry growing up. God knows I had plenty of reasons to be angry. But in our family, the only one that was allowed to get angry was my father and when he did, it was an explosive situation that you hoped you were somehow absent for the unveiling. You never knew when it was going to hit but you did know that without a doubt, it would strike at some point. If we did cross the line and show anger around my house to anyone, you were often shamed into a point of feeling pretty low for even thinking you could be angry.
Even though I learned to bottle the anger up and stuff it down inside of me, sometimes it would boil over. I liked to spend time outdoors away from my family because it was peaceful and well, it was just better that way. When I really got angry, I would venture outside to get away from my family and then I would find objects to hit myself with. It may have been a rock, a stick, or board, a rope or whatever I could find and then I would hit myself until it hurt or I bruised myself or until I could see and feel the evidence of it. Of course, by the time the pain hit me, I wasn't aware I was angry anymore and then it would turn into self hatred and self condemnation for doing this to myself. I would vow never to do this again to myself only to fail time and time again. It was a battle I could not win, yet I continually tried to go on full scale attack.
Now, many years later, I'm still dealing with how to let the anger out that resides within myself. It seems there is no shortage of it and while I try to put a happy face on myself, I know it is there waiting for me. It is waiting to erupt. There's no shortage of people who have felt the influence of the anger within me. After all the work I've done on myself, it is more manageable and controllable but it still is there. I've taken some big strides to overcome it but I still feel as if there is no end to the source of my anger. That makes me sad beyond measure and I hope one day, I'll be able to state this differently.
For now, here are a couple of things that I do to help let the anger out in a safe way without hurting anyone. I never want to hurt anything around me and I'm glad I'm so sensitive to prevent me from ever doing that. I witnessed too much of this growing up and there is no way I'm going to inflict anything upon anyone. Most of these anger release methods I have learned were with the help of Dr. Paul Canali.
1) If I can get in a swimming pool, I go to the end of the pool that isn't too deep like around 3 feet deep. I began to move my arms around in circular fashions to the side making deep and strong waves. All the time, I'm connecting my mind to the body and trying to feel everything that is coming up. Often, I think about a recent situation in my life that is really pushing the anger up and I put the full force of this into the waves I'm making in the pool. When I'm nearing the point of feeling exhausted from this, I take a deep breath and put my mouth under water and scream as loud and as long as I can (so no one can hear me of course). When I'm out of breath, I find a comfortable place next to the pool that I can just rest and relax on and let my breathing slow down. Sometimes I do this more than once but you'll be amazed at just how much anger you can release and how much you release from your body.
2) Another method I've used is I have an elastic band (exercise band) that I can lay on my massage table (or bed or floor) and put my hands through. (see picture above). I begin to pull out on the band while I think of the situations that are really making me upset. As I do this, I sometimes put a big exercise ball between my knees and then I begin taking the force of the my hands in the exercise band and pounding my fists on the exercise ball. If I can get myself to do it, I allow myself to scream during this time. If not, I try to make any type of sound. The sound really does help push things through. Usually it doesn't take much before the anger has decreased in me and my body. I always make sure I give myself time to rest, and come down from what I just did. That rest and relaxation moment is just as powerful as the expenditure of energy.
3) Since I live close to the beach, I have sometimes went to the beach in an unpopulated area. Once there, I've written a word that describes what is behind the anger coming up, into the sand. After I have written the word, I then begin to jump up and down on the word trying to obliterate it and screaming as loud as I can (if i can). Of course, making sure no one is around helps me to do this.
There are many other ways that people use from various sports to various activities. There is no set limit on how you can do this and no shortage of ways to do this. The important thing is to connect your mind and your body to the feelings that are coming up within you and just allow everything to come out that does. It may be screaming and it could be crying. You might feel pains and body issues that you have never felt before. There are many things that you might experience. Keep letting all of that flow through you and out of you. Don't hold any of it in. This is not easy to do sometimes and sometimes it takes me a lot to get to this point and to allow it to happen. When I do allow it, there is usually a moment of transformation in me. At this point, I try to record in my journal all that went on, all that I felt and anything that I connected with.
Anger isn't easy for me to connect with at times. It is very frightening because of my past and learning how to be with it, is just as frightening. I remember at one time in the not so distant past wondering if it was ok to acknowledge or go into the anger. Finding safe ways to do this is a good thing but letting it build up to the point where you strike out at others is taking you into dangerous territory. Once you let go of the anger in a safe way, you'll be amazed at just how much different your body and your mind feels. It is liberating! The more you can connect your entire body and mind to the emotions coming out, the more you'll find you are able to release.
*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog
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