How do I deal with my anger?

By Brittainy | Mental Health Minute | 22 Jan 2020

Question: "I have felt from a young age, that I have been discouraged from showing anger. I've been told/made to repress my anger for basically my entire life, and now I have no idea how to approach it from a healthy point of view. What should I do?"

Answer: Firstly I should say that anger is a normal emotion we all feel. It's completely unrealistic to go about life with an expectation that we *won't* feel angry at least occasionally. However, there is a difference between feeling angry and articulating our feelings to someone and acting out angry behaviors such as yelling, throwing things, breaking objects, or being physically or verbally aggressive. Are you looking for advice on strategies to cope with angry feelings or ways to communicate your angry feelings to others?

OP answer: "More so how to communicate that I am angry."

Answer: My best advice is to do some digging. The more you understand yourself, the better you can communicate your experience to others. How do you experience anger? How do you know when you are angry? What do you feel in your body? Hot? Sweating? Hands or jaw clenched? A rush of energy? Seeing spots or black? How angry are you on a scale from 1-10? How do you know? What thoughts are you having? Can you write them down? Could you keep a journal or audio recordings to write down or talk about your feelings and read/listen back to them to gain more insight? What caused you to feel this way? Was it something specific a person said or did, or did it come out of nowhere? Is your anger coming from a place of sadness, hurt, or stress from something else? The more you understand where this feeling is coming from, (and realizing that you are FEELING anger, but a feeling doesn't DEFINE who you are as a person) the better you will get at talking calmly about it rather than feeling like exploding uncontrollably towards others. A monumental step in communicating anger to someone is being able to stop, breathe (this is important, taking a few deep breaths will prevent you from doing something impulsive), and say in a calm voice "I'm feeling angry" or "When you said ___, it made me feel angry", or "I can tell I'm feel angry, I need to take some space", etc. You can find through trial and error the words that work best for you, but don't expect people to give you permission to "blow up" at them. After all, you wouldn't want someone to do that to you. Best of luck, I know you can work through this and come out the other side better for it. Keep going!

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I'm a licensed mental health counselor in the U.S. seeking to enhance the public's understanding of various mental health topics and non-medication based strategies for achieving wellness like fitness and nutrition.

Mental Health Minute
Mental Health Minute

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