Tools to Use When Angry
“Mindfulness recognizes anger, is aware of its presence, accepts and allows it to be there.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Has your temper ever hurt someone else’s feelings? Have you ever wished that you had different coping strategies to use when things make you angry?
Anger is real. It is a perfectly human emotion that we all possess. Denying it or reproaching ourselves about having angry feelings only makes it worse. The most effective way to have a peaceful heart is to loosen our grip on anger and intentionally give that anger our full attention.
At our house, we employ several easy and effective techniques when we are feeling hot under the collar. First, we accept and admit that we are feeling angry and then we engage our bodies in helping us move the aggravated energy through us so we can physically let go of it.
1. Leave the situation in a huff and stomp up the stairs on the way to our bedroom. This removes us from a heated situation quickly and drives the energy directly out of our body through the soles of the feet. No one gets hurt and it sends a clear message to others that we can really use a little space. The angry energy is set free.
2. Grab a brick and pound nails. I keep a jar of bent nails around just for this occasion. When I get mad or am feeling sorry for myself, I just take the nails and straighten them, on a brick or flagstone, by whacking them, just so, with a hammer. Vigorous physical activity releases endorphins in your brain, chemically creating a relaxed psychological condition. It “straightens” me up. (This technique also works by hammering the nails into a piece of wood or hand sawing the wood.)
3. Tickle each other. When I am super mad at one of my kids, I just reach out and tickle them. It is counter intuitive, but the results are immediate. Tickling helps people bond. They start laughing, I start laughing and it really breaks up the energy. It is really hard to be angry with someone who is smiling and laughing. Taking a little break from the anger is healthy. Laughter lowers blood pressure, improves brain function and relieves stress. The matter at hand can be readdressed later, with a level head.
4. Scrape the dog poop off of your boots. Has anyone ever torqued you off or slayed you with his or her unkind words? A trick I learned recently is to simply go through the motions of wiping dog poop off my shoes. Literally, I start scuffing off my shoes, as if I had dog crap on them. I can walk away from the person and do it, do it right in front of them or even if I don’t have shoes on. Surprisingly, this technique works wonders! Rubbing my feet on the floor grounds my energy and helps me stay solidly in my body. It also forces the antagonizers’ negative vibe out of my body.
Releasing anger in a healthy way involves expressing it in a safe manner. Using the body to physically release it works on an energetic level. Remember that anger is simply a perfectly human emotion.
Don’t let anger be the boss of you. Take charge of it!