How To Control Anger

Anger is the biggest of all the emotions. Its personality is BIG, its body type is large, strong, muscular. Big, bold, loud, extroverted, fast, and in your face. That's Anger.

The temperature of anger is Hot! As in "hot under the collar" and "burning rage." It can feel like a raging fire.

In the animal kingdom, anger is a display of power. As humans we display our power this way as well, raising our voices and threatening others to do as we say.

With anger, it's all about ME. No wonder when people get together to form a society one of the first things they do is make a rule against anger such as "Thou Shalt Not Kill." That's because when we are angry it can feel like we want to kill, and people do kill out of anger....just read the papers.

Yet when we learn to consciously work through our anger, it transforms into the most powerful force for good there is! See the gifts of anger below.

Because anger is so big and powerful it can be scary. It can be intimidating. Many of us are afraid of anger, coming from others, and we are afraid of what could happen if we unleash the anger inside of us. We are afraid of what we might do when we are angry so we suppress it, often to the point were we're no longer aware of it.
A lot of stress that people experience is actually the tension of unexpressed and often unconscious anger.

Some people turn to alcohol and other drugs to try to deal with anger or to try to control anger. But it can soon turn to an addiction because the pain is just temporarily relieved.

No wonder then that we suppress or repress anger. Unfortunately, that just zaps our life force and we become listless, weak and even a victim. Suppression of emotions is not helpful, but what other choices do we have?

How To Control Anger
The answer is to learn how to express our anger consciously. Most approaches to "anger management" teach assertiveness skills or ways of reframing anger as an unmet need. I sometimes teach these approaches in counseling.

But first I encourage clients to attend a retreat to learn how to work with anger in a whole new way. What we do at the retreats is to create enough safety so someone can really let their anger loose for once, without hurting themselves or anyone else!

They can explode and it's okay, even encouraged. By giving permission to it, and inviting it into the room, a huge amount of suppression can be released, not just anger, but the feelings trapped with it. Tight muscles that have been holding back can finally let go. Once expressed we can differentiate what someone who "made us angry" did from our reaction to them, and release them and us. We become free, free to move on and live our lives and let them live.

Anger, and all uncomfortable emotions, are actually powerful forces for good if we learn how to transform and awaken them. That is what we do at our emotional healing retreats. At these retreats it's a safe environment to get to know your anger and get it out of where it is stuck in your body so you can have access to its gifts.

The Gifts Of Anger:

  • Passion
  • Aliveness and Vitality
  • Healthy Power
  • Healthy Boundaries
  • A Clear Clean "No"
  • Standing Up For Ourselves And Others

Learning the gifts of anger is one of the most important tasks of life. As a therapist and retreat leader I've seen the quickest and most profound changes in people as they do their anger work. And it can be quick...I've seen people turn their lives around from victim to power house in the course of an hour!

What Does Anger Do?
Anger set's boundaries, and clarifies a sense of self. The Terrible Twos, when a child learns to wield the word "no" is the phase in life when we learn about anger. If a child's development is thwarted at this time, they can have difficulty with their sense of self and self identity for their whole life, or until they learn how to express anger in a healthy way.

Why Is It Difficult to Express Anger
There are all sorts of reasons we've hidden our anger. We may have been told that anger is bad and been punished as a child for expressing our anger. We've been told "Don't be angry."

If we've been suppressing anger as a way to control or avoid it, we may find we that it starts to affect us in unusual ways. We may, for example, find other people's anger coming at us...and feel victimized by them.
This is the shadow of our anger appearing. And surprisingly, that can be very good news indeed, as we recognize it and begin to work on getting to know our anger and freeing up the parts of us that have been under the spell of suppressed anger. As we learn to own our anger our world changes and we become more powerful, alive and passionate! That's how to control anger, not by suppressing it or manipulating it, but by working it through. We do just that at our retreats.

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