Learning to deal with our emotions rather than bottling them up is essential to our wellbeing and our ability to create relationships; but how exactly do we do that?
It is thought by psychologists that staying quiet while seething inside can lead to chronic stress, depression, low self esteem and possibly physical illness. And yet it is considered impolite to let people know how we feel, to keep our thoughts and emotions hidden inside is what we are taught to do from a very early age. Whats the best way to get rid of these negative feelings?
Maybe we should count to 10, remove ourselves from the situation and take a few deep breaths. Thats one way that will help you to calm down; taking deep slow breaths can slow down your heart rate. So many of my clients have said that only helps for a while, that is until “those thoughts come back”.
There is also a train of thought that thinks its healthier to let is all out by shouting, screaming or even smashing things. A few years back there was a train of thought that one way to get rid of peoples anger was for them to hit things – this was usually a pillow. The angry person would take a bat or stick and repeatedly hit something whilst thinking of their anger.
There is even a place in San Diego (www.smashshack.com) whereby you can go and pay for the privilege of being able to smash things. Its proving so popular in the US that we in the UK will be able to try out this way of venting our spleen very soon.
Googles and a safety suit are provided (we must remember health and safety whilst being angry) and a padded room whereby people can then smash crockery and glasses etc; they can even bring their own stuff if they so wish.
Studies have found that these kinds of techniques can actually make people even more angry and aggressive than before. The more they practice being angry the better they get at it ................
Anger like all emotions is there for a specific reason and is a signal for us to take action possibly change something and communicate to others that something isn’t right.
The old fashioned English way of keeping a stiff upper lip may even be damaging for peoples career according to research done by Harvard. This project tracked the lives of more than 800 people for the past 44 years and found that those who dealt with their anger were more likely to be happy in their life and career and enjoy closer physical and emotional intimacy whereas those who suppressed their feelings were more likely to have disappointment work and person lives.
So how can we deal with anger in an appropriate way?
Exercise is one way as the exertion will reduce adrenalin and any aggression whilst giving you time to think and calm down.
Another way of helping people deal with aggression and anger is to ascertain their strategy, what is it that they are doing in their head that makes them feel this way and teach them how they can change the way they are feeling, responding to situations that will allow them to let go of any aggressive angry thoughts; in turn giving them the ability to decide what needs to change to enable them to improve their physical and emotional wellbeing.