Anger is a powerful emotion, and it can make you feel terrible. If you squash it down, it doesn’t go away—it sits there and eats away at you. But we don’t live in a society that encourages healthy, safe displays of anger. You either see people blowing their tops or bottling it up.
There are legitimate reasons for feeling angry. You were hurt, let down, disrespected or you weren’t heard or acknowledged. Maybe you were passed over for a promotion or blamed for something you didn’t do. Whatever the reason for your anger, it doesn’t help to hang onto it. It is corrosive and can make you bitter, disempowered, or vengeful.
Here are some excellent ways to work through your anger and let it go.
- Write it down
Writing down why you’re angry is powerful. It gets all those resentful and irritated thoughts out of your head and into the world where you can deal with them.
Write a letter to the person who hurt you. Yell on paper, curse them, tell them precisely what you think. Write until you cry; write until it’s all out. Then you can tear it up, burn it, stomp on it, or hit the delete button.
- Look at the reason you’re angry
Frequently, the incident that triggered your anger is just superficial. The real reason you’re mad is buried underneath, waiting for a trigger. Maybe a random comment or a misplaced joke reminds you of a childhood incident or the way your ex treated you. All that original hurt and anger rises up in the present. The good news is that it came up to be dealt with. But not with anger and not with the triggering incident.
- Pause and breathe
Before you react with angry words, remember what your mom told you and count to ten. Practice your mindful breathing and consciously let the angry feelings go. Tell yourself you’re not going to give that anger any energy. Keep doing this until the intense feelings subside.
- Delay acting
Maybe whatever made you mad deserves some kind of action in response. That’s legitimate. What’s not valid is lashing out irrationally. That way lies mistakes, over-reactions, and possible relationship damage.
Remind yourself that you are not your emotions. The situation will still be there when you’ve calmed down enough to deal with it in a thoughtful, appropriate way.