Anger can be self-destructive. It can drive away your friends, turn off coworkers, and terrify lovers. Anger management classes? Not for you—you don’t want the world to know that you can’t deal with your problems on your own. But there is a simple technique that can really help. Find out how to transform your anger into inner peace:
Anger is an emotion that can come on quickly like a tornado in the middle of the night. Rage can also be experienced as a long, simmering pot of water, and building up to an explosive boil.
You feel the anger in your stomach, neck or other body part. It affects your appetite, your sleep and self-esteem. You realize that you can be classified as a person with “anger issues”, but lack the tools to do anything to remedy this situation.
You have thought about attending anger management classes, but managing the rage is a long way from understanding and decreasing it. You also believe that attending this type of class would demonstrate to the world how weak you are how you couldn’t deal with problems on your own.
However, you are tired of alienating all those close to you with inappropriate angry outbursts. You are sick at looking at all the holes in the walls of your home from throwing your fist into plaster. You are tired of all the headaches, nausea and muscle aches.
You don’t have a clue of how to deal with this pent up inner hostility. You try taking deep breaths and hitting pillows when the rage is out of control. You finally cry from utter frustration and confusion.
These techniques tend to offer a temporary panacea, you feel slightly better for a few minutes and then the anger begins to gnaw inside again. This is a never ending cycle where the roller coaster never stops.
On the one hand, you want to stop reacting angrily and on the other hand you are afraid to let go of this explosiveness. You can’t conceive of how your life would be without this familiar, yet destructive rage.
Exercise can transform anger into peace. If you are not doing so, with your physician’s approval, you need to begin an aerobic exercise routine.
Your workout does not need to be long or intense. As a matter of fact, studies indicate that as little as 15 minutes of exercise can catapult you into a state of calmness. This state will help you understand and work through your anger.
You can choose walking, running, cycling or any other aerobic activity as your sport. You must work out for at least 15 minutes.
Develop a question about your anger before you begin your workout. It can be as basic as “Why am I so angry?” You can also ask, “Why do I get so angry when lovers break up with me?”
The state of calmness that you experience while working out will enable you to access the confidence to face previously overwhelming emotional pain.
You will find that anger is not the first emotion to arise when you are triggered by someone’s actions.
No, it is not rage or hatred. It is hurt. The first reaction you feel when rejected by lovers is not anger, it is the ache that comes from feeling abandoned.
You will learn that the initial feeling of hurt moves at lightening speed. It is now your job to slow this pace down and no longer ignore or override the feelings of being devastated and frightened.
You will learn through working out your body, mind and soul that it is essential to experience the pain that comes from the hurt in order to recover from it.
While you are pursuing your 2-mile walk, you will notice over time, anger changes to hurt, then to sadness, then to self-forgiveness and transforms to acceptance.
You will learn that getting the anger out through hitting something is not only totally ineffective, but unnecessary.
Feeling the hurt allows you to experience the pain underneath the rage.
Eventually you decide to join an anger management class in an effort to reach out to others who also have rage issues. You no longer feel ashamed and want to connect with others deeply.
Copyright (c) 2007 by Bob Livingstone. Reprinted by permission of the author.
By Bob Livingstone, LCSW