Why do we make anger management so hard?
For the last 5 weeks I’ve been working with some incredible women in my new 1:1 program, The Anger Tango, and they keep being shocked at how gentle the process is. I find this a bit perplexing, because it’s not like I called it The Anger Mosh Pit or something. The process I’ve created has a solid foundation so that it feels safe and supported to do this big work. In therapy the first couple of sessions are about building trust between you and the therapist, but in my process, it’s really building trust between you and yourself. (My job is really just to create the space and ask the questions… my clients do the big emotional lifting.)
But we have this belief, as a collective, that anger work is hard, complicated, stressful. That it’s going to mean digging into your trauma and facing your darkness. It activates our sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response). And many of us also hold onto a story that we need to work hard for something to be worthwhile. My goal for the approach I use with anger as a sacred teacher (in my book or my programs) is that we can squash that belief and embrace our worthiness.
You’re allowed for it to be gentle. Easy. Graceful. And I’m going to share the 5 things you need to do every day in order to make your process with anger a little bit gentler. (And if you’re ready to dive in, you know where to find me.)
Are videos more your jam?
If you prefer to digest your content via video, you can unpack this whole article in the video I’ve shared below. It was the inspiration for this post. 😉
When you first wake up, ask your heart and your body what you need and how it feels.
This may seem like a curious way to start your day, but it works on so many levels. You know right away what you need, or what’s coming up for you (that may help or hinder you) so you can start planning, accommodating, and making space and priorities. When we operate on auto pilot, the things we need or the big feelings we’re holding onto tend to sneak up on us because we haven’t created space for them to be fully expressed. When you ask, you get to bypass any behind-the-scenes shenanigans that your shadow tries to come up with and bring everything into the light where it can be handled.
As well, if you’re someone who holds onto beliefs of being unworthy or undeserving, this process becomes VERY validating for your tender heart. Imagine starting each day with the message: your needs, your desires, your feelings matter. I will factor them into this day. Powerful stuff right? This is one of the easiest gifts you can give yourself.
Move your body in a way that feels good.
Emotions are just energy bouncing around inside of us, and while we may enjoy the feeling of emotions like love, joy and excitement, feelings like anger, guilt, and resentment take up as much energy but feel a lot less enjoyable. My massage therapist used to say the issues are in the tissues – we hold onto our emotions and our traumas in our bodies, and we need an outlet for them to move.
I’m not going to try to convince you that any particular workout regime is right for you – however you choose to move needs to feel GOOD to you, especially if it’s something you’re going to commit to every day. Some people are going to enjoy the rush of endorphins that comes from a run. Others enjoy the physicality and the socialization of a group sport. Some will have solo dances in their living room. I personally love the stretch and supportive feelings of Restorative Yoga. What you do doesn’t matter as much as doing something regularly so that energy has somewhere to go.
How long you move your body will also depend on what feels good, what your personal physical abilities allow and what fits into your life. It may take some experimentation to find what works for you and your body, but give it a shot.
Drink LOTS of water.
If you’ve ever attended one of my events, you’ve heard me go on and on about the importance of hydration when we’re working with big emotions. Much like the movement aspect, drinking lots of water gives the energy somewhere to go. We’re also made largely of water, so it supports our body to process whatever is coming up. This isn’t just for difficult emotions like anger – if you’ve had energy healing like reiki or even a physical treatment like a deep tissue massage, water can be a powerful support for your physical and energetic body.
Honour your boundaries (even the little ones).
When we get to the point of explosive anger, it’s usually been an accumulation of lots of events (often times, self betrayals) that have added up until the energy needed to move. When we honour ourselves from the get go and hold very clear and communicated boundaries, we don’t allow resentments to build up, so anger doesn’t get an opportunity to become explosive.
I know a lot of parents and entrepreneurs struggle with this, because they want to be liked and respected, and they’re worried that saying no, in particular when something would be easy enough to do is going to impact how others treat them. Here’s the truth: boundaries are fierce declarations of self-love, and they’re how we teach people how to treat us. We deserve to surround ourselves with people who respect who we are, not just what we can do for them. It’s important that we say our boundaries loudly and clearly (because people aren’t mind readers, and what we think is obvious may not be to everyone) and uphold them so we stand for the love we have for ourselves.
End the day with a gratitude inventory.
Gratitude is a powerful tool on so many levels, but my favourite aspect is the impact it has on the brain. Gratitude releases our alpha waves, which is that feel good brainwave we experience when we’re happy or even after a long, relaxing breath. Ending the day focused on what you’re grateful for sets you up for a good night’s sleep because you’re not activated by what you see on social media, or worrying about what’s coming up tomorrow.
I know a lot of people who will do this with a journal (or bullet journal) and do either a brain dump or stream of consciousness about the events they’re grateful for from that day. Other people create a gratitude jar and each day will include a note of what they’re most grateful for from that day, and then on New Year’s Eve they open the jar and reminisce. For me, I like doing it as a prayer before I go to sleep. I lay in bed, and talk to my angels to cut and clear the energies from the day and protect myself as I sleep. And I end with thanking them for the beautiful things that took place, and more often than not, I’m drifting off thinking about what I’m most grateful for.
When we get to the point of explosive anger, it’s usually been an accumulation of lots of events that have added up until the energy needed to move. When we honour ourselves from the get go and hold very clear and communicated boundaries anger doesn’t get an opportunity to become explosive.
Let’s re-write the anger story…
It doesn’t need to be hard, or complicated – we can bring a lot of ease to the process of honouring our emotions, and the more we do that, the more we normalize it, the easier it will become. Let’s prioritize dealing with our feelings as they come up. Let’s make our anger practice a priority as preventative medicine for our hearts. As we do this, we can see that there’s an easier approach, and that gives us permission to approach our otherwise uncomfortable feelings more freely. So much so that we can rejig our beliefs around anger and other scary emotions.
With love and magic,
Ready to move your Anger?
Sometimes anger shows up at an inopportune moment, and it can be hard to think of what to do on the fly. (Because let’s be honest, anger doesn’t create the clearest headspace.) I’ve gotchu covered. Download my free checklist: 44 Ways to Kick Anger’s Ass so you can get those feelings moving and get on with your day.