Emotions play a huge part of what it means to be human and are essential to our survival.
Feelings of fear help you escape situations that put your safety at risk, and feelings of happiness help you build bonds and meaningful relationships with others.
Anger is also an essential emotion, and although we might not see it at the time, feeling angry helps us to stand up for ourselves and our loved ones as well as motivates us to correct injustices.
Unfortunately, may of us struggle to express our anger effectively.
We tend to bottle it up and become consumed by it, which can go on to create a whole host of problems down the line.
This bottling up has incredibly damaging effects on your health and can cause digestive problems, insomnia, high blood pressure and, as anger raises the stress hormone cortisol, it can also can lower immunity, leaving you more susceptible to illnesses.
These effects can go on to create feelings of depression and anxiety, which can further affect your health.
Bottling up anger is a vicious cycle, which is why we need to learn how to deal with and manage feelings of anger safely and effectively.
With these three steps, you will not only learn how to express your anger, but also understand its place in your life and start making it work for you instead of against you.
1: Find an outlet.
This is incredibly important. We know the terrible effects bottled up anger can have on our health, so expressing it in a healthy way is absolutely vital.
Anger can make us want to yell and scream and in extreme cases some people can lash out physically, but it is possible to express anger without harming others or getting yourself into trouble.
Helpful anger outlets:
- Write it down. Sit down with a pen and a notebook and just write. Write down your thoughts as they come into your head and don’t edit them. This is a steam of consciousness writing exercise and doing this for just five minutes can help get your thoughts and feelings out of your head and onto the page. It is also helpful if you’re not sure why you’re angry as you might find that your thoughts start to become apparent as you write them down.
- Get outside. Going for a quiet walk or run can help shake off the physical effects of feeling angry. This is a healthy way to manage all that pent-up anger and energy as well as giving your head space to examine the situation.
- Take five. Anger helps us to stand up for ourselves. If someone has done something to upset you, take five minutes to do some deep breathing and collect your thoughts before speaking to them. This ensures you can get your feelings across clearly, calmly and effectively.
- Get loud! Anger does make us want to yell and scream, but there are ways to relieve this urge without screaming at someone and regretting it later. It may sound silly, but screaming into a pillow or belting out one of your favourite songs when you’re alone in the car can relieve the urge to scream and yell without getting you into trouble.
2: See anger as your catalyst for change.
Anger can help us identify when something is wrong or no longer serving us.
Examining your anger through one of the techniques above can help you identify the cause (if it wasn’t already apparent) and help you see what in your life needs to change.
Flipping your perspective in this way can be incredibly empowering as you begin to recognise the things in your life that simply need to go, whether it be a toxic friendship, an unhealthy habit or even a stifling, unfulfilling career.
Use these feelings to bring about healthy changes so you can move forward with peace and purpose.
3: Focus on what you can change.
Now that you’ve explored your feelings, it’s time to focus on the things you can change.
Anger can leave us feeling powerless, but focusing on the things you can change can make you feel stronger and in control of your situation.
It might only be something small such as removing toxic people from your social media feeds or switching off the news for a couple of days. It could even be something bigger such as leaving a relationship or moving to a new house to start fresh.
By expressing your anger and viewing it as a way to bring about positive change, you will start setting healthy boundaries for yourself and start living the life you deserve.
Whatever it is you need to change, understand that you have everything within you right now to bring about the changes that are essential to your happiness and well-being.