Angry? Get Physical! (Non-violent ways to express anger)

A stack of spiral notebooks sits on my night stand. The pages hold my ideas, reflections, and feelings including my anger. I’m a huge believer in writing my way through anger

Rage on the page is a great starting place.

But writing is not the only way to process anger. There are times I need to get physical and release anger in more dramatic ways.

Unfortunately, angry action as we know it, looks very scary. I can’t watch national news right now because of all the anger being acted out.

Know how

Anger releases cortisol into your bloodstream. This is why anger is such a physical experience. Your body becomes supercharged and this energy needs to be released. This is why it’s important to know how to act out anger in safe and healthy ways.

When I worked through anger issues with a counselor, we found a way that I could express my rage fully and cleanly. I collected empty spaghetti sauce bottles and jam jars. With my counselor as witness I hurled the jars into a large industrial dumpster next to her office. The force of the throw and the sound of the shattering glass brought a tremendous sense of release and relief. And there was no clean up.

Positive Practice: Release Anger Through Action

Actions go beyond words to express feelings. When you feel angry, do something that will not harm yourself or someone else or ruin property of value. Choose an activity that will not result in a clean-up mission. Cleaning up will feel counter-productive.

  • Get physical. Channel extra energy in full-body, sustained exercise: rip out weeds or bushes, split wood, shovel dirt or snow, do fartleks, kick box, throw sand or stones into water.
  • Destroy something no longer of value to you or anyone else: Rip old cloth, cut up a phone book, shred newspaper, stab an old pillow, shatter empty jam jars, build a bonfire and burn your old journals.
  • Let yourself laugh or cry (even hysterically).
  • Scream or rant in private

When you’re done, implement self-soothing. Hug and rock yourself, or massage your arms and fingers.

~ Taken from The Small Guide to Life’s Big Changes

Learning healthy ways to release anger through action is vital when you face BIG Change. These actions will look different for each of us. Think one or two healthy activities that you could try out. People who transition well plan ahead so that they are ready when anger surges. 

If you find yourself unable to control your anger seek a professional counselor to assist you. Don’t put this off; counseling is a helpful guide for getting in touch with your anger and ways to manage it.  

 

Rebecca Waring-Crane

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