Anger is a natural human response
Everyone feels angry sometimes, so if you do you shouldn't beat yourself up about it, it's natural. Anger can be driven by fear or comparing ourselves or feeling injustice, there are different shades to anger from mild irritation to rage. As humans we can feel threatened which helps create anger and trigger the fight or flight response. (See the Stress and Relaxation section for more information.) We all get angry sometimes, the important thing about training with relaxation techniques is they help you grow in resilience and increase your overall sense of well-being as we learn how to handle our emotions effectively. In this sense the anger doesn't control you, you are taking steps to empower yourself, to have response that is not only more resourceful but feels a lot better. Poise is Power!
It's a feeling that can tend to arise during the teenage years, as new hormones are coursing through your veins. This is a time of transformation, not only physical changes are taking place, but you are breaking away from childhood, perhaps becoming more separate from your parent's ways of thinking and establishing your own new identity in preparation for your life as an adult. This process of breaking away can bring up uncomfortable and confused feelings.
People tend to think of anger as being a bad emotion. Yes, it can feel bad when the feeling arises, but it's what you do after that initial feeling of anger that determines whether or not it is good or bad.
It's a call for action!
The feeling of anger is actually a message from inside yourself telling you,
"That's it I've had enough of this, it's time to do something about it!" If you go and shout at someone, hurt someone, or break something, then that can be bad, however anger can be a great motivator and many great things have been achieved as a result of angry feelings. What about 'votes for women' - the suffragette movement of the late 19th century. Women were angry and fed up, their voice was not being heard, and so they began a campaign which ended in all women getting the vote in 1928.
Rosa parks the African American civil rights activist famously refused to give her seat up on the bus, because she was angry and fed up with the segregation and bad treatment of black people in America, this was the beginning of the civil rights movement, which has brought huge changes to the way that black people are treated in America.
"I love the man that can smile in trouble that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection." Thomas Paine (Author of 'The Rights of Man' and initiator of American independence).
Look at what can be achieved by actions resulting from angry feelings. In both these situations the people felt angry and their anger gave them the strength to stand up and speak up for justice. It is a powerful emotion.
By practising mindful meditation, you can learn to have a bit more control over your emotions, so that the action you take as a result of anger, is one that actually helps you, rather than getting you into trouble. For instance, having the courage to speak up about something which you feel is unfair, in a clear way, so that people are more likely to listen to you and understand your feelings, they then might be able to help you to change the situation. This is when our anger turns to passion to create change and bring about better conditions in our lives or the lives of others.
What can you do?
So what would be a good thing to do in the moment that you start feeling angry?
- You can count to ten, this gives you something to focus on and so gives you time to calm down a little bit, then you can think more clearly about how to react.
- You can breathe, Just be aware of your breathing in and breathing out for a minute or two, it is quite relaxing to listen to your breathing and this also helps you to calm down. You might find that you feel like taking a long slow breath, this will calm you down even more.
- Try watching your own thoughts. If you are feeling angry, say to yourself quietly in your head. "I'm feeling really angry right now!" and just take a step back. It doesn't mean that you will straight away stop feeling cross, but just acknowledge this feeling with kindness towards yourself. You are feeling angry for a reason after all, be kind to you and allow this feeling. But by looking at it like this, it can make it easier to be calm and look at the situation with a clearer head, so that you might decide that instead of shouting or hitting your brother (or whoever it is you are cross with), that there is a better way to deal with it. You can tell them how angry you are feeling and how the situation makes you feel, maybe write it down, or punch a cushion, (if this doesn't solve it then get other people involved in resolving the situation). It just gives you a bit of perspective, so you can allow the feeling, but then decide in a more controlled way what you want to do about it. You are simply having an angry feeling, that doesn't mean that you are an angry person, or a bad person, it's just a feeling and it will pass, just like a cloud that temporarily obscures the sun.
Get the feeling out in your own way
If you don't feel ready to say something about your angry feelings to anyone, or don't feel that it's the kind of situation where you can say anything, then find your own way of letting the feelings out. Everyone has their own way that works best for them. Some people like to draw or paint the feeling out, maybe a picture about what's going on for you. It doesn't have to be a Van Gogh, or a Rembrandt, it can just be pin men if you want, or a big black angry scribble. Perhaps, writing about it in a secret diary, writing an angry poem or song, or dancing it out, shaking it out. Find the way that works for you. There are many great famous songs, dances and art that have come from anger and transformed it into something creative and amazing. Can you think of some?
Don't ignore it, use it to transform the situation!
Remember anger is a powerful emotion, it's not a feeling that should be ignored, you must listen and acknowledge it, don't just hold it inside. By learning to control your reactions a bit you can start to use its power wisely to really help yourself and others in a passionate and motivated way.
All SMART Coaching(Stress Management And Relaxation Techniques) are designed to provide excellent and relevant quality well-being and mindfulness training, mindfulness training in schools or with young minds and intuition, insight mindfulness training across all sectors.