Healthy Anger can help Heal

Christyl Rivers's image for:
"Healthy Anger can help Heal"
Image by: 

Everyone gets angry at some point. The trick to managing it is to know if you, or the anger, is in control. With blind rage, a person is "taken" over" by their emotions. This is not healthy for any emotions, and especially not anger. There are many ways, however to take control of emotions, and that is always a better empowerment strategy. Here are some ideas for working with others to contain anger, and also some individual solutions for working through it alone.

Life is not fair by any measure. However, life controlled from a locus of being in charge helps a person get through any stormy sea safe and sound. First and foremost, a person must admit anger, and actively choose by that awareness, to contain it. Once the person "holds" the anger, rather than letting it control him or her, the hardest part is already done!

Next, the best use of anger is to put it toward justice. This can be very, very helpful, but not if one gets stuck on defining how unfair or unjust a situation may be. The person who may have mistreated, cheated, or exploited another likely does NOT know (or admit) they have done so. Trying to get confessions, apologies or compensation may just end in a eternal dual of angry opinions. A better way to handle this is find something both parties can agree is for the greater good. That may sound challenging, and it is, but that is exactly why it is also so rewarding.

Let us say you are angry and want justice. To take an extreme example, take a look at situations where people vehemently disagree. Religion, government regulations, taxes, abortion or gay rights. For the person who takes an entrenched, never give an inch attitude, problems stay. Yet, finding something that all people agree upon, even in the most divisive conflicts results in both sides feeling a win/win acceptable foundation is reached.

Begin at the most basic premise. All people deserve to be treated respectfully. The second step is to channel anger into progress by asking for a meeting. The event may need to be mediated by an objective third party. Set ground rules for the meeting which says people get 3-5 minutes each, to make their points.  Each speaker is allowed to make "I feel ___" statements.  At the same time, they are disallowed to make any  "You did/do this____" statements. Then most crucially, each participant offers two to three acceptable, well reasoned solutions that show an effort to give some ground in order to make overall progress.

In the case of religion or politics, a person may begin with: "I respect you. Let's give people concerned with this issue the right to be heard. Let's start by accepting all of us want fairness and equity. Let's show that with this: I will accept these five points, if you will give in on these other five points." Then each side makes their specific offers, which they should have come up with beforehand. The points should be non-judgmental and pro-active, for example: "Every child deserves to be wanted, loved and cared about, therefore hate crimes against minorities, gays, or people who are free choice will not be tolerated. Birth control is a better alternative than abortion, so let's work together for contraception and improved education for everyone." 

When dealing with anger alone a much different approach is called for in handling the problem. The first step here is to, in every way you can, acknowledge you may feel alone, but being an angry human you most definitely are NOT alone. Everyone feels it sometimes. Also, the world outside that gives life, re-birth, renewal and regeneration will always provide a second chance for you to feel connection.

After that here are some specific things to try: write an angry letter, story or poem and get all the negative emotions purged from your body, then ceremoniously shred and burn the note that is toxic with anger. Punch a pillow or any soft, cushiony object. Try other creative outlets such as painting, drawing or organizing a room. Cry if you can, because that cleanses and detoxifies the stress hormones human bodies build up.Get active, and especially go for a walk, run, swim, or bike ride, letting the thoughts flow, but also acknowledging the support and nurturing of sunshine, trees, flowers, animals, air, moving water and more. These are all as real as anger. Appreciation of them helps frame reality more clearly in the big picture. Find someone and offer to be there to help them with anything they need in exchange for providing a sounding board. But be definitive and specific about how much of their time you will use, people cannot be infinite containers for pouring your troubles into; this is essential.

One productive outcome of anger is learning and being grateful for the life lessons given. But the most rewarding and emotionally beneficial outcome is finding peace, acceptance, and if at all possible belonging and connection through cooperation with others.

More about this author: Christyl Rivers

From Around the Web

  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrow
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrow
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrow