I Wish Someone Had Told Me… How to Deal with Anger

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. – Anonymous

Today, I threw a pen and punched my desk. I pounded on my keyboard and slammed my office phone down. I’ve NEVER been like this. I’ve never thrown an adult tantrum! I’ve always been able to remain calm and find another outlet for my anger. But lately, it’s been bad.

This sounds incredibly stupid but I’ve been getting extremely angry. My jaw is constantly clenched and I bite my tongue all day. Nothing I have been saying for probably the past week has been anything remotely close to what I was thinking… but if I said what I was thinking I’d probably be locked up right now.

Luckily for me, my boyfriend Tom helps me say nice things and coaches me through how to behave. I wish there was a way to control my anger though. A way to manage it rather than suppress it like the rest of the Minnesotans do.

So after throwing my pen today, I decided to Google it and see if there was any therapeutic advice out there for anger. The first search I clicked on brought me to a page that had two tips for anger.

Useless Advice

First, relax.

WHAT THE ACTUAL F?!?! You think someone who is angry doesn’t know they should be freaking relaxed??? I don’t even remember bullet point two because I was so enraged I exited out before reading on.

The next site I found was so adorable I couldn’t even be angry. It takes a meditative approach to dealing with anger. TinyBuddha.com had a bunch of awesome articles but this one I found had a great list of tips and tricks to help manage anger (specifically when you’re mad with someone but I think they fit most situations). These tips also work when dealing with other emotions like jealousy, fear or even joy!

Someday I’ll be as chill as Pearl…

Let Yourself be Angry

The tip I like the most was that I needed to sit in the anger (or emotion). (Step 1) I needed to just let myself be angry. I’ve always figured I can’t be angry or show any emotions besides happy – especially at work! But really, I didn’t need to talk to anyone – so I could take 2 minutes and be angry. Even if you don’t have your own office, walk to the bathroom and take 2 minutes to yourself and decompress. PLUS, turns out, this is actually solid advice. Research has shown that we experience emotions like a wave, at some point the intensity of the emotion will crest and our feelings will go back to our base. Studies have also shown that fully experiencing the emotion (anger in this case) helps lower the intensity of that feeling the next time.

Listen to Where You Hold the Anger

Step 3 recommends you listen to where you’re holding the anger. Mine was my jaw and my shoulders. By focusing on where you feel your anger – you are also following Step 1 by allowing yourself to be angry. So first let yourself be angry and find where you’re feeling the anger.

Ask Yourself, “Why does this bother me so much?”

I jumped to Step 7, which was extremely enlightening – ask yourself why this is bothering you so much. Answering that question and thinking about it really helped calm me down. I was able to justify my feelings and put into logical sentences why I was angry. So instead of yelling, “I’m flipping irritated because you’re a dumbass!” I could say, “I feel angry when… you’re a moron!”

Ok… I still need to work on that part. We can’t all be perfect! 😉