I've had many clients tell me, "Julie, my anger is out of control."
I ask, "What makes you say that?" I often hear things like, "The other day I was so angry I wanted to punch someone." "Well, did you punch someone?" is my next question. The answer, "No." Then your anger is not out of control. Simply feeling it does not equal out of control. Going off and punching someone — that's a different conversation.
But feeling angry is not bad. And allowing ourselves to consciously express that anger is actually very healthy, both emotionally and physically. Pent-up anger makes us sick. Healthy expression is good.
The problem is we aren't really taught about healthy expression, so we end up stuffing it. It seems we are either taught to avoid this feeling along with several others completely, or we have witnessed some really not fun expressions of anger, which makes even considering expression seem terrifying.
As a matter of fact, the whole idea of avoiding negative feelings that we are taught makes me want to scream. Excuse me for a minute while I go find a pillow to scream into. OK, there, that's better. I've also been known to take a tennis racket or a fist to a pillow. (Ask my husband.) It must be an amusing scene to watch, but, hey, it works. Even when I was a child, I could be found chucking a ball against the bricks of the house when I was really mad.
Anger is there for a reason. Go with it instead of against it. You might be surprised about what you discover. Here are five healthy ways to express it.