7 Healthiest Actions When Your Anger Wants to Burn The Place Down
Just don't burn the place down.
And you know as well as I do, there are many ways to burn the place down. I've learned all the many ways anger can mess things up and mostly it's through bruised or severed relationships or broken objects for me. No one needs this list more than I do.
When you're mad as hell, self-awareness and love need to push through. This will take an ass load of self-discipline. So try to practice this awareness and love when you're not in the throes of red hot lividness. As much as you can. Especially if it's your go-to negative emotion like it is with me.
The underlying point here is that anger is actually fear. So if you get mad at yourself for getting mad (doesn't make much sense but it happens), just know that deep down, you're just scared. There's a part of you that is afraid. This will need to be investigated. See #3.
Anger is not a bad thing. Just like inflammation in the body, it points to something that needs attention. Something that needs to be worked out. It has its place, but should not completely run the show. The human uses the anger, not the other way around.
I know you're not worried about it when your anger possesses you like a demon, but regret is a hard pill to swallow. So let's lessen that burden by taking 7 steps that are nice to take in order and or just grab any one you can remember when the monster tries to take over and go with it. Hang on tight.
- Walk Away: For goodness's sake, just get out of there if you can. Keep your lips shut and move your feet. Don't say what you're thinking. If you're in a situation like on the phone, or you're in a car, or an important meeting, or stuck in an elevator, just close your eyes (unless of course you're driving the car) and imagine yourself not there. Imagine you are in a forest or in a cave under a waterfall, wherever you can go mentally. Right now decide what place you will go to in your mind when the time comes. But if you can physically get away, do it as soon as you can. Explain to anyone who is there and will be thrown off by your absence, "I have to walk away right now. I will be back." That's all. If something needs to be discussed say, "We will talk about this as soon as I can. Excuse me." As bland and basic as possible. No harm unto anyone including yourself.
- Keep Walking: Physically move if you have gotten away. Even if you can't get away. Energy gets stuck if we don't let it move through us. Power walk and punch the air. Or maybe punch a punching bag. Run! Do a vigorous yoga workout even if it's only for 5 minutes. The point is to breathe hard. Don't let that energy get stagnant in your body because it will come back out to possess you later, or it will turn into a disease. Move it out. Intend to move it out with the breath through some kind of vigorous physical movement. Open a window and let it fly out of there. Those who get angry a lot should consider buying a punching bag. For real. I'm thinking about it.
- Write It Down: Maybe you have a journal or it's just your laptop. But have something to write to. If it's a person who pissed you off, you could write a letter to her or him. Maybe, after waiting a significant amount of time and doing some major thinking and editing, you could give it to the person. Only if it does no harm to the relationship. Only if it will help. Otherwise, just write how you're feeling and begin to investigate what you're fearing here. Because anger is at its core a type of fiery fear. Delve into whether or not some part of you is in pain and another part of you is protecting that part. It may even go back to childhood, or it may go back to last week, but something needs attention, something needs to be healed. Something needs to be changed.
- Locate: Where in the body is the anger mostly located? It might be in one place or it might be all over the place. This will take a lot of inner sensitivity, and you might need to shut your eyes. But just investigate where it is physically in the body. It will feel hot and contracted most likely, very tense, maybe even heavy if you have noticed in the step above the anger is actually pain. A lot of times it is located in the solar plexus area where willpower sits. If it's more of a sad anger, it might be in the heart. Check all over the body from top of the head to the toes.
- Meditate: First ask yourself what you are going to need to get through this without doing any minor or major damage. What quality are you going to need? If you ask honestly, something will come to you honestly. Maybe it's strength, maybe it's love, maybe it's patience or compassion. Then close your eyes, breathe in (filling up the belly deeply), and say "I breathe in ___ (name your needed quality), then breathe out slowly, present with the breath as it rises from the lower belly through the core and out through the mouth, saying mentally to yourself, "I breathe out this anger." Feel the anger leave you from the place where you felt it most strongly in step 4. And after doing this as many times as possible (I recommend 17), do one more round, feeling it completely leave the whole body on your exhale. The trick is to believe you are receiving the quality and believe, intend and know the anger is an energy field that is leaving you through the exhale. This is also a form of praying, asking for what you need.
- Check Inside: Is there anything left? What has this taught you? What is life trying to teach you with this situation? If there is still fear or pain, try to hold that fear or pain in your awareness. Especially if you have located it in the body. As if the awareness is a mother wrapping herself around a scared or hurting child (which would be your fear or pain). If you need to cry, do this please. Crying is good. Get it out. If you don't know what this anger came to teach, just ask. In time, you will know what it came to do. Take note of any images that come to you. Try to be a good listener.
- Go Back: When you're ready to return to where you were when the anger came, make sure you are completely ready, and the anger isn't just hiding out, waiting to pop back out like a goblin. Sometimes you can't know this until you put yourself back into life. If you need to remove yourself again, do it again and again until you know you can take the wheel. When you go back, go back carefully and gently and turn up the volume of your self-awareness. Face whatever must be faced, especially if you had some answers about why you got so mad. If there are words you must say to someone, be sure to choose them carefully and say them lovingly. It helps to rehearse and think about the effects of your words and actions. If there are actions that must be done, may they be gentle and loving but firm and decisive. You will know when nothing is to be said and when you must say something. Be quick to apologize if things get out of hand. You are only human. Don't harbor anger towards yourself. You're not Jesus. Neither is the other person if there is another human involved.
My favorite part about this process is separating the anger from myself. I love looking at anger as a child. Wrapping my awareness around it like a blanket. "I have anger in me" is something I try to remember to say because that leads to finding the energy of it in the body.
What is your favorite way to deal with anger? Most common situations for it to pop in and take control of you? Comment if you dare.