The answer is a resounding YES and here's why!
We've all experienced it...the screaming and crying on the kitchen floor because Mom said no cookies before bedtime. Okay, so that WAS quite a number of years ago and we have all developed better ways of coping with our anger. (Not to mention that we now control the cookies!) The feelings of anger and rage can still rear their ugly heads though and bring frustration and overwhelm along for the ride.
Granted, these thoughts, feelings, and the actions they spur aren’t very desirable or well-received in social situations. Yet, as tempting as it might be to repress our ranger, doing so can have negative health consequences. Studies have found that suppressing anger can amplify pain and put stress on our bodies. Repressing anger has also been tied to anxiety and depression .
The benefits of acknowledging and harnessing this "angry energy" can be a motivating force that can make people feel more optimistic and confident. In laboratory studies accepting our anger has been shown to help lower stress on the heart and manage pain.
So what is the key to accessing and processing our anger - Moderation. Totally loosing control of our anger (screaming in rage, and physical violence) is literally bad for your heart — and has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease .
There’s a clear difference between anger and mismanaged anger. The key to reaping anger’s benefits is learning to cope with it in a healthy way. The basic steps for acknowledging our anger are the same no matter what your age, situation or circumstance.
TIP #1: Breathe
Breathe. Realize that you're getting angry. Watch for muscles tensing, your face heating, hands shaking, shallow breathing, your voice rising.Think about the consequences if you lose control — will you feel bad, be embarrassed or make others feel this way? Will you hurt someone - perhaps someone you love?
TIP #2: Question
What are you really angry about? Is there a need that isn’t being met? Is this self-protection? Is this 'current' anger or could it be something from the past? Although it might feel safer taking out our anger on the ones closest to us, it’s important not to misdirect feelings. Focus on identifying your needs (after all - anger is all about unmet expectations). Figure out how these needs can be met in a healthier way. If need be, after you've calmed down -talk to that person about it — take time to hear each other's point of view.
TIP #3: Cool Down
Take the time to cool off and calm down. Listen to music, take a walk, call a friend, work out, hit a pillow, meditate, take a shower, or do a few yoga poses.There's no time limit here - if it takes a few hours or a whole day - it's all okay! What’s important is handling the situation calmly and communicating your needs to negotiate the conflict. Use “I” statements (“I felt hurt by” instead of “You always hurt me”). Really Listen. This helps minimize the chance of things escalating into more anger.
Congratulate yourself! You've not only managed your anger - you've harnessed the energy into a motivating force! We won’t get this right every time and that's okay. So celebrate - take a long bubble bath, see your favorite sports team, take a trip to the planetarium, take in a movie!
As always..., be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up because of what you feel or don’t feel… or about what is happening in your life. Embrace it all and know these experiences could very well be the key to releasing blocks and moving into a more balanced state!
Supporting you on your journey,