Anger comes in many shades from mild frustration to full-blown outbursts. Anger is a way of protecting ourselves when we feel threatened in some way. But when we take a moment to notice the effects of anger on our bodies, sleep, health and relationships we start to see anger differently. We realise that it causes a lot of harm to ourselves as well as those we are angry with.
Pushing our anger down and not expressing it, is also not a useful strategy. As the saying goes “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else but you are the one who gets burned.”
A more useful way of working with anger is to notice when you are starting to feel triggered and take a mindful pause. Taking a moment to focus on your breathing and steady yourself. Exploring your thoughts, emotions and body sensations. Recognising the vulnerable feelings that lie beneath your anger such as feeling, threatened, mistreated, humiliated, sad or not cared for. Now instead of reacting in the usual way take a moment to steady yourself and find the words to calmly express how you are feeling. It may surprise you to discover that when you learn to respond in this way you get more of your needs met. As the Chinese proverb goes:
“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape one hundred days of sorrow”