Everyone gets angry. It’s a normal response to disappointments, betrayals, unfairness, and confrontations. Have you ever tried to hide your feelings when you’re angry? It’s pretty difficult. Whether we act out or go into a deep freeze, it makes itself known.
Anger is not good or bad – it’s what we do with it. Some are afraid of their anger or judge it wrong to feel it in any way. With uncontrolled or disowned anger, we make terrible decisions, harm relationships and our physical bodies, it can even grow into aggression and violence. The truth is anger can be a positive energy source for us as long as we acknowledge and direct it appropriately.
How it Effects Your Body
Every emotion creates change in our brain chemistry and physical body. Feelings like anger, fear, frustration, resentment and shame can be overwhelming. Without warning our body is flooded with physical sensations. Anger looks different on everyone: some grit their teeth, turn red, others remain calm, go quiet, or for others it’s to cry and shout. However, what happens in our brain is the same for all.
As anger builds your body’s muscles tense up and your heart rate increases. Chemicals are released inside your brain causing an explosion of energy lasting a few minutes and leaves you needing to take protective action. It hijacks your attention as you become fixated on the target of your anger. It distracts us from being present and available.
Anger tells you something is amiss. Emotions surface as our brains gather memories and past experiences to assess if the current situation is dangerous and what we need to do to protect ourselves from being hurt again. Then we store it for future protection.
Unfamiliar and highly emotional experiences create different patterns of activity in our brains other than calm and safety. When similar circumstances arise meeting this criteria, our system alerts us and lets us know if it is safe or unsafe. It is important to know that the brain can give distorted information. The brain recognizes the same pattern of intensity but never evaluates content, whether that experience was good or bad.
At a basic level the nervous system allows messages to flow between brain and body. Sometimes this energy gets stuck in your nervous system if it has not been processed. Never gets integrated. Never released. It’s recycled and replayed over and over. What we are in fact reacting to is unintegrated energy trapped in your nervous system and not the current situation playing out in your life.
Change the Conversation
All emotions serve a purpose. Anger, as any other emotion, influences us and can motivate us to make decisions and take action. Anger is a sign that something is off. To deny your anger allows it to continue to fester and grow: we can become irrational or unpredictable.
The first step in transforming the anger you’re experiencing is to bring awareness to it. By acknowledging your anger, the situation alters and allows some releasing to begin. The anger alerted you that something is not working and needs to be brought up to date to reflect who you are today. It can help map out the hidden pain that is often sitting beneath the anger.
- In mastering how to express your anger – you unlock your power. You have possibilities. When anger, shows up instead of immediately following it into a blind reaction, can you take a pause and a deliberate breath? This creates a space and allows you to begin to defuse some of the anger.
- When we get angry there is a burst of energy that surges forward. The force of this energy can push us to move beyond our normal limits, and do things we didn’t realize we were capable of.If disowned or projected anger it can sometimes have disastrous consequences creating chaos and conflict in our life. Sometimes we invent all sorts of things we would do to the person or situation that caused the anger. That’s a lot of imagination at work. What about harnessing that into a positive channel?
- It we approach people with accusations or blame they immediately become defensive. Allow yourself to consider where the other person is coming from. Why did they say or do that?I wonder what they were thinking and feeling? This can only help you develop an understanding of the other, as you build communication with compassion and empathy.
With awareness we can transform what is holding us back. As we change, we learn how to use it wisely leading the way to live an authentic life.
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