Sanctuary and Serenity

Anger Management

Posted on: March 27, 2010


Anger Management

Dealing with anger therapeutically is a tricky business. Physical use of anger may be very helpful, especially for those who have been unable to be angry enough to empower themselves, to set and keep boundaries and to keep from being re-abused.

However, it may also be counter-productive, especially if anger comes easy for you and serves to keep yourself or others away from what is beneath the anger.

Anger, in itself, is a normal feeling like sadness or fear. However, expression of anger can be healthy and productive, or it may be harmful to yourself and others.

Here are some options in expressing and managing anger. Learning an array of techniques can help you deal with situations.

Options For Expressing Anger

1.) Higher Power Box: This is a container into which you can leave notes or letters of things you are angry about or are having difficulty letting go of.

2.) Draw: Draw how the anger looks inside.

3.) Yell: Yell or scream into a pillow

4.) Shoe Stomp: Write the name of the one you’re angry with or the situation on the bottom of your shoe and stomp on it or scratch it off by shuffling your feet on pavement.

5.) Clay: Use modeling clay to illustrate the anger, or simply squeeze it to release the anger.

6.) Physical exercise: Walking, bicycling, swimming, rope-jumping, rowing machine, running, throwing or kicking a ball against a wall, baseball batting cage.

7.) Assertiveness: Practice being straight and honest about your feelings, and laying clear boundaries. Practice this skill with your therapist.

8.) Journal: Write about what the anger feels like inside, or about what you are angry about. You may also want to try off-hand writing.

9.) Breathing: Take ten long, slow, deep breaths. With each breath, allow your body to relax more from toes to head.

10.) Explore other feelings: Behind other feelings may be hurt, rejection, fear, vulnerability, etc. These are often more difficult to access.

11.) Quiet Room: Give yourself 15-30 minutes of quiet, listening to relaxation or meditation tapes. Allow each agitated person inside to feel the calm, and to enjoy the moment of serenity.

12.) Anger Letter: Write an uncensored letter expressing your anger to one person whom you have angry feelings about. Do not mail or show this letter to that person. Bring the letter to your therapist to process the feelings that have surfaced.

Anger Does Not Equal Rage
(Michael Lewis, 1991)

Anger feels justified, whereas in rage one feels powerless.

Injury is recognized in anger but injury is denied in rage.

Anger is conscious, whereas rage, based on shame substitution, is pushed from awareness.

While anger may be easily resolved, rage, initiated by shame, sets up a feeling-trap, whereas shame leads to rage which, in turn, leads to shame.

Anger is not displaced, rage is.

Anger focuses on the actual case, rage is generalized.

Anger is an individual phenomena, rage is a social phenomena.

Anger results in few consequences, rage numerous.

Anger is restricted and focused, rage is diffused.

Anger has an object, rage is diffused in occurrence and the object.

Anger is resolvable, rage may be unbounded.

LET IT OUT!
Here Are 23 Ways to Use Your Body to Release Anger

by Beverly Engel, M.F.C.C. (The Healing Woman, January 1994)

Caution: If you have been suicidal, have a history of severe emotional problems, or have been hospitalized for such difficulties, have your therapist or a friend present when you release anger through any of these physical techniques. They can give you any reassurance or assistance needed.

Hitting:

1.) Purchase an “encounter bat” or “bataca” (a foam bat available in most sporting goods stores) or use a plastic bat or old tennis racquet. Place a large pillow before you on the floor or position yourself on or next to your bed. Get on your knees, lift the bat directly over your head, and come down hard in a swift thrust. You can envision the person you are angry with, but as you hit make sure your eyes are wide open and focused on a spot on the pillow or bed.

2.) Punch a punching bag or punch the air as in shadow boxing.

3.) Pound pillows with your fists. Lie down on your back on the floor or on your bed. Place pillows at your sides, directly under your hands.

4.) Hit a piece of furniture with a rolled-up towel, newspaper or magazine.

5.) Play a sport that requires a hitting action, such as tennis, racquetball or volleyball. Focus on releasing anger while you are hitting.

6.) Sock or punch clay, dough, or any other pliable material.

Kicking and Stomping:

1.) Stomp on old egg cartons or aluminum cans.

2.) Kick a large pillow or ball.

3.) Take a walk; each time you take a step imagine you are stomping on the person you are angry with.

4.) Practice Karate kicks.

5.) On a bed or mat, do scissor kicks.

Pushing:

1.) Place two large pillows against a wall. Lie on your back. Using your feet and legs, kick and push the pillows as hard as you can against the wall.

2.) Facing a wall or door, stand with your arms straight out in front of you, an arm’s length from the wall or door. With feet planted firmly on the ground, start pushing as hard as you can against the wall.

3.) Say out loud, “Get away from me,” or “Leave me alone.”

Throwing:

1.) Throw unwanted dishes, raw eggs, or water balloons against your garage wall, back fence or garbage can.

2.) Throw pillows against the wall. Make sure to let out sound like “No!” or “Get away!” or “Take that!” as you do so.

3.) Throw balls or darts.

4.) Throw rocks into a river or into the ocean.

Tearing:

1.) Tear an old phone book or newspapers into pieces.

2.) Tear up old pillows, sheets, or rags.

Screaming and Yelling:

1.) Put your face into a pillow and scream as hard as you can.

2.) Yell and scream in the shower.

3.) Turn the TV or radio up loud and scream.

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