What are some things you can do with your anger besides lashing out? Anger is strong emotion that can be helpful to us in some situations. It is part of the “fight or flight” response that we need for survival. Our heart rates and breathing increase and we become extremely focused. The problem is that we cannot fight everything that makes us angry. We could get in trouble, lose relationships, or destroy things. The piece of anger where we become extremely focused is helpful when we are being attacked, but not so helpful when we are pissed off at the fast-food worker for getting our order wrong. We get into trouble when we cannot let it go, be assertive without being aggressive, or calm ourselves down. These three alternatives are ways to handle our anger without being aggressive. “Letting it go” can be helpful in the moment and allow us to handle the situation the way we want to. However, using this tool as our only resource can lead to unresolved feelings in the long run. Calming ourselves down is the same type of tool but it helps with the physiological aspect of anger. Calming techniques help lower our heart rate and slow down our breathing, allowing our minds and bodies to relax enough to handle the situation how we want to. A third technique is to be assertive without being aggressive. This will help us get our feelings off our chest and express what we need without harming another person physically or emotionally or breaking something. The problem with this technique is that we cannot always tell someone how we feel or what we need. For example, we cannot have a civil conversation with the person who did not use their turn signal. Following them until they get out of their car to talk with them and tell them how frustrated we are is typically unacceptable. Using these three tools at different times in different situations can be so helpful. However, this can be easier said than done. For help implementing these tools into your daily life, please schedule an appointment with us at The Center for Healing and Change.
To Healthily Expressing Ourselves,
Courtney Crotty, Graduate Intern