Anger is a part of life. It is an emotion that is giving us information. Just as excitement is telling you something. Yet the problem with anger is that if it is left unchecked, it creates more problems. This article will cover how you can let go of your anger in a healthy way.
Not ignoring it. Not taking it out on others in a hurtful way. But instead in a way that allows your emotions to be acknowledged. And solves the issue that triggered your anger.
These are the actual steps that I take in order to understand and let go of my anger. Let's get right into with step one, recognizing our anger.
Before you can ever let go of anger, you first have to acknowledge that you are angry. For some situations, you will know right away that you are angry. Your heart starts to race, you feel the anger. And you know it's not another emotion. In these situations you can quickly move to the next step.
However, many times we don't even recognize that we are angry. For example, you might first think you are disappointed that a vacation has cancelled. Yet, if you explore further you realize there is also anger there. Perhaps it was cancelled because your boss took away approval.
In situations, where there are many emotions, anger can often hide. It takes some exploration to even know you are angry.
My two favorite ways to do this are journaling and meditation.
Journal Prompts to Help You Identify Anger
- What am I feeling right now? Don't stop at the surface feeling. We often have many feelings that occur at one time. Your anger might be hiding!
- Am I fully acknowledging my feelings? This is another way to ask the last question. Sometimes we just need to be asked slightly differently!
Guided Meditation to Identify Feelings
Often the best way to identify our feelings, is to release control and allow answers to come through our subconscious. Meditation is a great way to do this. Try this meditation.
How to Calm Down When Angry
Once you know you are angry you can start the calm down phase!
When your anger is triggered, it is easy to want to react right away. But when we do this, it usually does not turn out great. Why? Because we are emotionally reacting. While we want to listen and honor our feelings, we also don’t want to take action from them when we don’t understand them.
To make this even harder, when we are angry your entire system gets on board. Your mind and your body are ready for action. It is hard to stop and act from a space of calm when your body is ready for a fight.
So how do you calm yourself down enough to be able to understand your emotions and react in a calm way?
I do one of two things. Either meditate or intense physical activity. Which to choose? For me it depends on the situation and where I am at. There are times, when meditation aggravates me, there is so much anger I just can't sit. In these cases I turn to physical activity. For me it is a high intensity workout, but it can be any movement that get the energy out of your body. The focus should be on exerting enough energy that your body can rid its self of the excess energy from anger. So if you are walking, make sure it is a brisk pace.
For meditation, I recommend a mindfulness practice that forces you into the moment. A body scan is great for this as it has you turn your attention back to your body. Another great option is a breath focused meditation, where the emphasis is on the exhale. This moves your body from fight/flight mode to relax and restore mode.
Another type of meditation that is great for anger, but more for once you are calmed down. Is a Loving Kindness Meditation. This will help you have love and compassion for all parties involved.
If you don’t have time to set aside and calm down, the best thing you can do for yourself is to do at least three deep breaths. This can be done anywhere at anytime. It will help you slow down and think. Focus on your exhale being longer than your inhale to re-balance your nervous system. If someone is waiting on your for an answer, say “give me a minute to think.” Then do your breathing to calm yourself before you respond.
Body Scan Meditation to Calm and Restore
Understand Your Anger
You know you are angry, and you have calmed down. Now it is time to begin to learn more about why you are angry.
The more you understand your emotion, the better you can deal with it. But this is not just about the situation at hand. It is also about healing any limiting beliefs that may be showing up as triggers for the anger. The best way to do this is by journaling. Below are some journal prompts that I use to gain a deeper understanding of the situation.
If you don’t like to write, then you can talk out loud the answers. Many people think while talking. You can also use art as a way to dig deeper into the materials. Art therapy and art intuition are great ways to understand better.
Journal Prompts for Anger
Journal prompts for the ones that are fear based:
More Journal Prompts for all anger situations:
Now it is time to take this information and create a plan!
At this point you might realize that you are dealing with some misplaced anger. I have more journal prompts and advice for you in a separate article. How to Deal with Misplaced Anger
Taking Action to Resolve Anger
Anger will not go away if you don’t handle the triggering event. So based on what you discovered in your journaling it is time to create a plan on how to solve the trigger.
If you had actions you could take from your journal work on doing those. Add them to your calendar or to do list.
If it was limiting belief based then start working on rewriting your limiting beliefs.
If it was based on old events, start working on healing those old wounds.
The important part here is to create a plan, and act on it. Otherwise the next time a trigger appears you will just be angry again!
Final Notes About Anger and Emotional Healing
The level of anger that surfaces is proportional to how much you are emotionally, physically and spiritually worn down. If you are already worn down from other issues in life, then when something triggers your anger you react more intensely than if you have extra emotional space to deal with it.
There are two ways to prevent getting yourself into a space where you melt down each time something bad happens. The first is emotional healing work. By healing old wounds and the limiting beliefs tied to them, fewer things will trigger you. The second is to have a self care routine that focuses on bringing your nervous system back into balance. This means to focus on thing like meditation, yoga, energy healing and anything else that builds your reserve of inner peace.
While self-care though things like pedicures, nights out and a healthy diet are all beneficial. They are not quite the same as working on things that nourish your soul and build inner peace. Start creating your list of what nourishes you and add it to your day. Even five minutes will help you!
Understanding and managing our emotions takes time. Most of us are not taught this from a young age, so give yourself some space to learn. If you ever can't control your anger or are confused by it, seek help. Don't risk the damage it can do to your relationships.