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Why it’s Okay to be Angry and How to “Do” Anger Better


Why it’s okay to be angry and how to “do” anger better


We all feel anger at one time or another. For some of us, it’s a daily experience while others may experience anger less frequently. One thing is clear, however: 


Feeling anger is a completely normal part of being human.  


However, there can be a lot of shame associated with this powerful emotion, leading us to act in self-defeating ways when anger arises. Remember, our emotions are useful as they give us information about our needs. And anger is often a secondary emotion signaling that we are expressing other emotions underneath (such as hurt, fear, disappointment, disrespect, etc). As adults, we have the ability to decide how we express these emotions. Let’s look at a few effective ways to “do” anger (that is express our emotions) in a responsible, compassionate way that will leave you and loved ones feeling safe and supported. 


#1 Take a break!

If you’re having a difficult conversation and notice physical signs of anger arising (increased heart rate, heat in the body, etc) there’s nothing wrong with taking a pause to calm down and return to the conversation when you’ve had time to cool down. 

You can say something like:

  •  “This is getting intense for me, I’m going to step away and will be back in _____”. 
  • “I’m feeling angry and need a minute to calm down. Let’s take 5 and return”.
  • “I’m too upset to give this conversation the thoughtfulness it deserves. Let’s revisit this in_____”.


#2 Keep a daily mood journal.

This is a great tool if you struggle to identify your feelings or “why” you feel a certain way. 

If you’d like to start noticing when you feel anger, enter events in your mood journal at the end of the day when you noticed you were angry and note what was happening around you when the emotion came up. The entry can be as simple as marking the moments that the emotion arises or be as detailed as making suggestions for how to handle situations in the future.. 


#3 Practice deep breathing.

Yes, this sounds too simple to be true. Yet, science shows there are incredible benefits from taking deep belly breaths to lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Additionally, by taking deep breaths when you feel anger, you give yourself internal permission to feel the emotion without suppressing it or taking out that excess energy on others. 

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