Today, we’re diving into a topic that’s often swept under the rug, especially for us moms: anger. Anger is a powerful emotion, but it’s one that many of us don’t quite know how to handle. In fact, it’s often the number one emotion that women, moms in particular, struggle to deal with.
Let’s get real for a moment – many of us have been conditioned since childhood to suppress and deny our anger. We’ve been led to believe that anger is weak, a lack of self-control, or even pointless. So, rather than expressing our anger, we’ve become experts at repressing it, holding it in. I know I used to be this way – I appeared calm on the outside, but I was a pro at bottling up my anger. And, let me tell you, there are consequences to keeping it all in.
If we continue to deny and suppress our anger, it’s like holding onto a beach ball underwater. You can only keep it down for so long before it explodes back to the surface. Not to mention, if our anger becomes volatile, it can cause harm – both to ourselves and to those we love.
Anger is not our enemy; it’s meant to be heard, expressed, and released. It’s a powerful messenger, signaling that something isn’t right – a boundary is being violated, a fair treatment is lacking, or we’re stifling our authentic expression. The thing is, anger is often a secondary emotion, meaning it’s a protective layer for more vulnerable emotions like sadness, frustration, hurt, or fear. Our anger often masks these underlying feelings, and this happens on a subconscious level.
Recognizing that anger is a secondary emotion is a game-changer because it allows us to get curious about the primary emotion beneath our anger. When we understand what’s truly bothering us, we can be more self-aware and express our anger in a healthier way.
Now, here’s the deal with anger – it’s a big emotion, and it carries a significant energetic charge in our bodies. Emotion is energy in motion, and anger can affect your physiology, changing your body temperature, increasing your heart rate, and altering your respiratory patterns. All this energy is not meant to be held and stored in our bodies. If we don’t release it, there are consequences: it can shrink our window of tolerance, causing even minor issues to set us off, and it can lead to burnout because our bodies are carrying a heavy allostatic load.
So, what do we do about it? How do we release this pent-up anger in a healthy way?
Here are three body-based techniques that can help.
1. Wall Pushes
Connect with what’s making you angry – if it’s in the moment, that’s great; otherwise, allow yourself to revisit the situation that triggered your anger. Bring it to mind and focus your attention on it until you feel that somatic response, that shift in your body and nervous system that says, “I’m angry.” Once you’ve accessed that anger, stand facing a wall, place both hands on the wall, and push. Lean your weight into the wall and breathe. You’ll feel a release of sympathetic energy – something will shift. You might even find yourself getting emotional, and that’s perfectly okay. When you notice that shift, bring safety back into your body – grab a cozy blanket, make some tea, or take a relaxing bath. You’ll notice calm and peace returning to your body.
2. Have an Adult Temper Tantrum
Here’s a tip you can borrow from your toddler. Kids are masters at expressing anger, although they’re still learning healthy ways to do it. If we let them, they’ll scream, cry, and let out their anger for a few minutes, and once the cycle is complete, they start to regulate, and they feel better. You can do the same – grab a pillow and scream into it, or go sit in your car and scream for a few minutes. Do some pillow slams while screaming, stomp your feet, cry – let it all out.
3. Hit Things
Ever wondered why “rage cages” are popping up everywhere? People pay money to break things and let out their anger. You can do this at home too, in a safe way. Buy a pool noodle, cut it in half, and go outside to smash it against the ground or a tree trunk. Hit it against the floor, pound your bed, or use a punching bag. These options provide a safe way to release pent-up anger.
A final note on these techniques – they can be cathartic without being healing. They allow you to release the built-up tension in your body, but it’s essential to connect with the anger associated with a specific experience as you perform these exercises. This connection is what truly helps you heal and regain inner peace.
So, let’s start treating anger as a messenger and express it in a healthy way. The next time you feel the fire of anger burning within, try one of these body-based techniques. You’ll find it’s a powerful way to regain your sense of balance and release what’s been holding you back.
Remember, it’s okay to feel angry – it’s part of being human. And with these techniques, you can embrace and release that anger in a way that is healthy and empowering. Your journey to a more peaceful you begins here.
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