Anger Management 101

You Choose When & Where To Lose It (in 10 Easy Steps)

I am surveying the Band Aid strips I have on both knuckles as I am writing this. I am loathe to peel back the plaster because I know what I will see is still raw and bleeding.

“Why, how and what happened?” you may be asking (I hope you will anyway). But before getting to the bones of it let me flesh out the scene.

As women we get the message, usually subconsciously in the form of societal pressures that women do not get angry or upset. It is frowned upon, unacceptable and just not “lady like”.

But it is ok for women to cry. How many times have you been so angry and seething over something completely different and finally all it takes is for some idiot to cut you off in traffic or you pull into your driveway at the end of a long day and see the kids have again forgotten to put their tricycles away that tips you over the edge.

Your partner and kids know that “Mommy is upset”. Actually Mommy is angry and feeling like she could throttle someone right now but what the people around you see, is a woman who is about to cry.

Usually we end up at the crying stage because we do not have the confidence to assert ourselves. For example, we don’t feel we deserve raise or promotion even though we have worked our guts out on a project and are afraid to ask the boss lest they turn us down; we let lesser life forms (who may take on the guise of work colleagues or relatives) denigrate us and we have no snappy comeback when it happens.

In the end, it is about being angry at ourselves for not standing up for ourselves.

Well ladies, this type of cultural conditioning is bad for your health. So what am I suggesting you do?

1. Get some assertiveness training, but this is a whole new subject, so I will post that at a later time.

2. What I am about to describe is a strategy that can be applied immediately. If you are uncomfortable about doing this, be assured this is a good thing. When you step out of your comfort zone, you grow as a person. The person who continually grows gets to finish first in the marathon race (we call life) towards creating lasting wealth and their ideal lifestyle goals.

This principle revolves around getting physically angry with an inanimate object eg a punching bag, or a couple of lounge cushions or pillows stacked up and getting down and hitting them. Not just little taps like you would fluffing up the cushions in your lounge but seriously belting them.

Many of you would be familiar with doing some physical activity to deal with your anger, but what I am proposing is that you do this regularly (at least twice a week).

But you say, “I’m not going to punch a bag when I am not angry”.

And I say that’s exactly when you have to punch the bag. The logic is that rather than always be on the brink of spilling over (think of when the toothpaste tube getting squeezed in the middle caused an almighty argument in your household that was way out of proportion to the perceived offence!), you have cleared enough head room to always allow for these sorts of conflicts to occur without you completely losing it.

If you are wondering, the answer is yes. I schedule my anger sessions every Tuesday and Thursdays at 4 pm when I head over to the gym and almost destroy the punching bag.

It has become a habit and it is quite easy for me to bring to mind situations that require this sort of physical venting.

As a consequence, I have found that I can deal calmly with people or situations that otherwise could easily degenerate into a shouting match. Rather than being riled and defensive and consequently responding aggressively at what I perceive as them having a go at me, I mentally schedule that person for 4:15 pm at my gym session. This allows me to step outside myself and deal with it in an unemotional way to get the best outcome for both of us.

For the sake of this exercise I will assume you are in the privacy of your living room or garage ie some place where there is enough space to do the following:

Step 1. Get changed into some loose comfortable clothing

Step 2. Arrange your cushions in a stack on the floor

Step 3. Kneel on a folded towel in front of the stack

Step 4. Your torso should be at right angles to the floor. Now raise your right hand in a fist and bring it down at half strength on the cushion stack. The side of your fist should make contact (like when someone is thumping the dinner table). When you are doing this your upper body moves with your arm almost like you are bowing, but not in a groveling or subservient fashion

Step 5: Repeat with your left hand

Step 6: Do this for a minute alternating with your left and right fists to get warmed up and feel a sense of momentum in your actions. Rest for a minute

Step 7: Focus on an imaginary point on the cushion stack and get serious about using your fist. You may well hear a thump when you do this. That’s great because that is exactly what you want to hear

Step 8: As you get into the rhythm of hitting, make a “huh” sound with each punch and have that vocalization come from your gut and not your throat

Step 9: Bring to mind the event or person that really annoyed and irritated you. Picture yourself smashing that person or event, if you want to say what you have been thinking, by all means say it now. Shout it if that is what you want to do. Keep going until all that anger has dissipated.

If you find yourself starting to cry, stop. This is about getting the anger out; if you want to cry, go see a sad movie.

Step 10: Breathe deeply through you nose and exhale through your mouth. Do this a couple of times until you feel a sense of calm and peace. Bring to mind again that person or event, bless and release them.

So, coming back to the Band Aids on my knuckles. Well, I had forgotten to pack my boxing mitts when I was away on a training course and had been doing my normal scheduled anger work at the hotel I was staying. I was so absorbed and in the flow that I did not realize until the end of my session that I had left some skin on the bag. No biggie.

Yours in health, wealth and happiness

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