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Dealing with Anger

I have learned over time how to express anger. It’s taken me a while to figure this out. For the longest time I have thought that expressing anger meant that there was going to be an aggressive confrontation, which scares me. I am afraid of all forms of confrontation; I’m not sure what my reason is. However, expressing anger is vital to our mental health. It is just as important as expressing all of our other emotions. Stuffing emotions, especially anger, can result in an eventual burst of emotions. Emotions will come out at some point. In order to convey ourselves in a healthy manner, we need to express our emotions as we feel them. 

In order to express anger in a healthy way, it’s important to first stop allow ourselves to process the event that caused the anger. Sometimes, I try talking out loud to myself when initially processing the emotion. I take deep breaths in and out slowly to calm myself down. Then I find someone that I’m comfortable talking to, someone who will listen to what I’m saying, who won’t judge me, and who will offer advise if I ask for it. It’s important to stay objective, and that’s what this other person does for me. 

Sometimes, when I’m extremely angry, I need to do something physical, such as working out, to let out some steam. The last thing I ever want to do is communicate my anger disrespectfully to anyone. Personally, I know that it is easy to get caught up in our emotions. When that happens to me with anger, I have accidentally hurt some people’s feelings and harmed relationships. I have learned the hard way, not to respond right away to my anger. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that for me, nothing good happens when I respond immediately to a situation without thinking it through first. 

It is normal to get and feel angry. It’s not something people want to feel on a regular basis. For a long time, I would ignore my anger. I would tell myself that I don’t need to be angry, when in fact I do need to feel this emotion along with every other emotion. I stuffed my anger over and over again, until it exploded. This is where I learned to communicate my emotions, no matter what they are, as they happen, to me and to others as necessary. 

When I was in rehab, one of the things I learned to express how I felt to others was by saying, “When you…I feel…” For example, if someone says something mean to you, take some time and process your emotions. Talk to another person if you feel it would help. Then, once you’re calmed down, talk to that person by saying something like, “When you say mean things to me, I feel angry and disrespected.” I know it sounds a little weird, but it does work. It’s a great way to honor your emotions and let others know how you’re feeling without an argumentative confrontation.

1. Process the event that caused anger. This can be done by talking yourself through the problem out loud (not yelling).

2. Take deep breaths in and out or count slowly to ten to calm you down if needed.

3. Talk to another person about what happened.

4. Do something physical, such as working out, to let out some steam.

5. Express your emotions, don’t stuff them. Use the “When you…I feel…” to help express yourself.

Read the rest of Jodi's posts here or visit her personal blog

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