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The importance of recognising and regulating anger

a lady who is angry and screaming

Anger is an emotion that is usually shamed and shut down. It’s perceived as a ‘negative’ emotion (I prefer to use the terminology of light and dark) that shouldn’t be experienced or shown. However, no feelings are more valid or acceptable than others.

The Rainbow 🌈

I like to think of emotions and feelings as an ever-changing rainbow. When we see a rainbow, we don’t see one or two colours shadowed; we see the whole spectrum. No colour is more valid than another, and no colour is viewed as ‘not allowed’. Each colour enhances the rainbow and makes it beautiful.

“I just don’t get angry…”

When I first start coaching my teens and discussing emotions, I often hear, “I just don’t get angry; I usually cry instead, " which resonates with me so much. When I was young, I didn’t allow myself to get angry. Deep in my soul, I knew that my parents had been through so much and didn't want to contribute to that—so much so that they still say to me, “We’re still waiting for you to rebel!” Luckily, I learned the tools to release my energy so it doesn't affect me or anyone.

So, my clients’ response to ‘not feeling anger’ tells me that it’s there but has been suppressed or not allowed, and the emotion is trying to find another way out. 

Anger can be a scary emotion to be confronted with, whether you feel it or witness it in someone else, so it's much easier to dismiss it.

What are the physical sensations of anger?

Anger can be felt in different body parts depending on who you are and your environment. Physical sensations could look like:

  • Feeling shaky

  • Feeling teary

  • The urge to scream, shout and swear

  • Loss of appetite

  • Holding tension in your jaw

  • Lump in your throat

  • Feeling electric energy through your limbs

  • Increased heartbeat

  • Feeling hot and sweaty.

Some of these sensations can be pretty scary, especially if you feel like acting on them to feel a release. Well, here’s the thing: you can! And it doesn’t have to have a dangerous or harmful outcome; in fact, you will probably feel great for getting that energy out!

How to safely release anger from the body

When we experience anger, it’s essential to let it flow through our body like we do with excitement, sadness, joy, and other feelings. Some releasing practices may be high-energy or more reserved. 

  • Scream into a pillow.

  • Have a designated punching pillow.

  • Twist or wring out a wet cloth.

  • Stamp your feet! Children naturally do this because they instinctively know how to release energy.

  • Karate chop a cardboard box.

  • Squeeze a stress ball.

  • Put your hands in ice water, then splash it on your face.

  • Write a letter about what has made you angry. Say everything you wanted to say in the moment. Then safely burn it and watch it go up in smoke.

  • Start kickboxing.

  • Run around the block.

  • Go into another room, close the door and shake it out. Shake and wiggle all that energy out of your limbs (this is my favourite)!

The more you practice honouring anger, the quicker you will find what works for you, but remember that what works in one situation may not work in another, so keep this information handy so you can draw on it when necessary.

I’d love to hear if these suggestions help you or a loved one regulate anger more effectively over the coming weeks.

Sending Light Your Way 💫

Zoë x

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