What puts your anxiety over the edge? Frustration? Being tired? Holding it all in for way too long?
If you’re looking for an effective way to reduce stress, expressing your anger in purposeful ways can help.
If you spend excess energy on worry, deeper feelings and needs go unaddressed. Acknowledging anger is a tool that will help you organize, prioritize, and feel more at ease.
Here’s what you can do, in 6 Simple Steps:
1. Acknowledge the pain, anger, and fears.
If you tend to fear the future, you likely have pain in your past.
Holding pain and anger inside can contribute to high levels of stress. You may start to build resentment toward yourself or toward others for all of the worry and tension that you have endured.
Spend some time alone thinking and/or journaling. Notice your fears and your pain, without judgement. Allow yourself to now feel emotions (such as anger) about hurt in your past. Your feelings deserve this attention (especially from yourself)!
Putting this into regular practice will help you be more aware of yourself and your stress triggers.
2. Identify your needs and boundaries.
Anger gives you a vital clue about your deepest human needs. It’s no wonder it gets stronger the more that you ignore it; there is something you need to learn from it.
For example, if you consistently say “yes” to things that are asked of you, you’re likely not attending to your need for space and your boundaries about how much time to spend for others’ goals rather than your own.
Can you write down at least three examples of the needs and boundaries that you have that are important to you?
3. Respect your needs and boundaries.
You may notice that your anger can shows it’s face in somewhat indirect ways, such as passive aggressive language, physical behaviors, or even harm toward yourself. This pattern may also cause your anger to build up inside you until you let it out on someone or something in a way that feels out of control to you.
Anger and fear are both clues that can lead you to more clearly establishing healthy boundaries in your life. If you respect the boundaries that you have, the important people in your life will learn to do so too. Practice expressing your needs in clear ways.
4. Forgive yourself.
You may often aim your anger toward yourself, especially if you suffer from symptoms of depression.
Are you stuck in a pattern of being disappointed in yourself? A critical view of yourself is fuel for the fire of anxiety.
Think about the things you appreciate about your personality, your choices, and who you are. Focus on things like how you manage to do as well as you’re doing, rather than on the mistakes that you’ve made. Give yourself permission to make mistakes in order to learn from them.
What’s something you’re punishing yourself for lately? Write it down, and then actively forgive yourself (as you would do for a close friend). Then write down three things you’re proud of about yourself to balance out the habit of being critical. See if you can keep it up all week!
5. Forgive others.
To forgive is not to allow bad behavior, it is to allow yourself to move forward after you have acknowledged (within yourself, or along with that other person) that harm has been done.
Strive to see the difference between allowing someone to harm you and forgiving someone who has harmed you.
Just as there is freedom and relief in accepting yourself and your feelings, there is also freedom and relief when you acknowledge and forgive someone else. Chose someone to forgive today. Whether you decide to let them know it verbally or not is up to you.
6. Learn to use your power.
Your body and your mind are amazing tools. Train them to work for you.
Anger and fear both create tension. The tension is in both your physical body and the world around you. Ignoring these emotions only makes the tension worse, and it also reduces your ability to control your own actions.
Acknowledging and expressing your anger within yourself and/or with someone you’re connected to will help release the tension. Do so on your terms, before anger or worry take control over your actions. You can also release tension through general conversation, physical movement and conscious breathing.
Commit to addressing your anger in a purposeful way, rather than allowing the tension to build within you that contributes to a cycle of stress and anxiety.
Where to Start
The thought of expressing your anger may cause you to feel fear or worry… (clearly, the two are connected).
Facing your anger is facing your fear. Doing so will bring both anger and fear more within your own control and influence.
Anger is often just the tip of the iceberg and can lead you to discovering important information about yourself and your needs. A skilled therapist can help you address core emotions that emerge, while also guiding you to feel more equipped in your every day life.
Contact me to find the best anxiety reduction tools for you.
Sign up for my newsletter to receive monthly anxiety reduction tips!