Healthy Anger

anger dudeBecause there was renewed interest on my old post of the Good Little Girl Syndrome, I decided to do a post on healthy anger.

I found these ideas for healthy anger on various articles on the internet:

  • If you are angry with someone else try writing them a letter, write it as messy and mean as you want. Get your anger out in words, when you’re done tear it up, burn it or dispose in a manner where it can not be found. This exercise really helps. (source)
  • Talking with someone who is not in any way associated to your anger, talk to them, release your frustration. The person whether a friend, family member, or some one else, they will listen so talk let it out. (source: same as above)
  • Perhaps you would rather work out your anger with some physical action, try lifting weights, hitting a punching bag, going for a run or bike ride, jump on your kids trampoline. (source: same as above)
  • Know you are angry. Feel it. Some signs of anger: increased heart rate, red, hot face, sweaty palms, clenched fists, tense or shaky body, tightness of the throat. (source)
  • If you are coping with a lot of historical anger it might help to write a list of all the people you are angry at and why. Remember you are not planning to share this list with any of the people on it. (source: same as above)
  • Even more ideas for dealing with anger in this post (avoiding road rage, guided imagery for old, unresolved anger, anger in dating).

Why is it important to express anger? If you keep it inside, it can become toxic. Anger just is; people often confuse anger with the reaction to anger (for example, rage) or to holding a grudge. In Hebrew the word “ka’as” can mean all three; see my past post on R. Abraham Twerski’s discussion of the word “ka’as”.

If you need help resolving deep, historical anger, please see a good therapist!

Can you extend this list? What are some healthy ways you would suggest for dealing with anger? Or have you had uncomfortable consequences with holding anger inside? Bad experiences with rage, your own or someone else’s?

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9 thoughts on “Healthy Anger

  • Thank you for writing such an important post!
    I also find that writing a letter is very helpful. But I don’t necessarily dispose of it immediately. Instead, I put it aside, and then – if I’m still upset – I come back to it later and see if I’m ready to tone it down somewhat. Sometimes I am, and sometimes I’m not. Of course, I never send the letter in the end, but I find that slowly whittling it down and making it more “presentable” works for me. This way I can figure out which issues still bother me and which issues are no longer relevant.

  • This is a fantastic post in so many aspects. Letting anger fester inside us will eventually turn against our own Self, and cause us physical and emotional problems.

    I would think that list or letter writing would be an excellent way to let out one’s anger.

    I found a replay of the “women” discussing the movie Loving Leah. I found the statements to be quite appalling.

  • Now I’m wondering if I read “historical” anger somewhere or I made that up. I was thinking of anger that one feels at age 5 or under, that one rarely remembers coherently. Sometimes early anger can get in the way of moving forward in life.

    I can see why PTSD of returning war veterans would be very difficult. I read recently that children in Israel rate higher on stress tests than in other countries.

    Thank you all for responding.

  • I don’t get REALLLLLLY angry very often, but I don’t always feel 100% blissfully happy, either. I find the 2nd and 3rd ideas work best for me. Sometimes it’s hard to take talking to a non-involved person because they don’t necessarily “side” with me. But we all need to hear the straight truth sometimes.

    And exercise of any form takes away most of the cares in my world. When there are REALLY bad things going on that it can’t take away, it at least clears my head and lets me find the best of the situation.

  • I also find this term, “historical anger” really intriguing.
    Art work helps me with anger expression. I don’t worry about the outcome of the drawing or painting. I just go free form, using very physical slashing or scratching brush strokes or pencil marks.
    Sometimes it’s just an exercise (like riding my exercise bike) to release anger, and sometimes I’m happy with the outcome!

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