Anger is somewhat different from other emotions categorized as negative because sometimes the biggest problem we have with it is that we don’t want to feel it. Many people have been raised to believe that anger is destructive, uncivilized, and overall, not very nice.
Attitudes are quite different in the world of animals. I have seen tiny kittens hiss and shriek with all their might when a big dog approaches them. Sometimes it’s not the biggest but the loudest that wins or prevents a battle.
When we hold anger inside ourselves, we become candidates for high blood pressure, ulcers, and a number of other conditions. Anger, when used constructively, can relieve stress. When repressed, it creates stress.
Unexpressed anger also has a strong tendency to turn into the sour bile of resentment. (See previous post, no, not the cat. I understand he has no trouble expressing anger. It’s the one before that.)
Give yourself an outlet for expressing your anger. For years I’ve recommended to my clients that they write down everything they’d like to say to someone with whom they’re angry. Don’t hold back. Say every terrible, vicious, and vindictive thing that you’re feeling.
If you happen to be living with that person, put the file somewhere that it won’t be found. Why not delete it? I would highly recommend and even urge that you do this eventually. However, I often find it helpful to cool down and read the letter a while after I’ve written it.
Once the heat has been dissipated, you may discover that some of the things you wrote range from ridiculous to hilarious. You may wonder why you were so upset about some of the subjects you covered.
These realizations help to train your awareness. The next time you feel anger coming on, you may have the mental acuteness to ask yourself if this is really such a big deal. That needn’t stop you from writing about it. However, you might melt a few less keys as you do so.
Let me reemphasize: The release of anger is healthy, but the degree of healthiness depends on how it’s released.
Oh, and don’t forget to delete that document.