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Dealing with Anger

Expressing Anger

For example, if you take a day off work to wait in for someone who never turns up, naturally you feel angry and frustrated. In general, we feel angry if another person's behaviour towards us is unkind, rude, aggressive or inconsiderate.

Anger needs to be expressed, because if it gets bottled up inside it can cause harm or boil over into rage, which is a very destructive emotion. Anger should be expressed assertively - not aggressively - which means speaking in a strong, steady voice, and not shouting. Remember that losing your temper is never a good solution. It may provide temporary relief, but later on you'll feel bad, which can lead to more anger.

How to deal with feelings of rage

1 - Breathe slowly and deeply.

2 - Try a type of yogic breathing called 'cooling breath'. Inhale slowly through your mouth, with your tongue stuck slightly out and folded into a tube. Close your mouth and hold the breath for as long as you comfortably can. Exhale slowly through your nose. Repeat three times.

3 - Go to an empty room where you can't be heard and have a good scream.

4 - Give vent to your feelings by punching a cushion or other soft furniture.

5 - Do something physical like scrubbing the floor or cleaning the car.

6 - Take some exercise such as running, walking, cycling or swimming - but don't do any competitive sport because this can increase feelings of aggression.

It's easy to think that you're completely at the mercy of your feelings, but in fact you're not. To some extent the way you feel is dictated by the way you think, and bad feelings are often the result of unhelpful patterns of thinking.

We all get negative thoughts and feelings from time to time. Problems with relationships, pressures at home or at work, worries about money or physical health can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety, or even, in some people, to a sense of desperation and hopelessness.

Take a look at a dog when it's resting. Its body is free of tension, its brain has switched off and has gone into peaceful mode. Because of our stressful lives, many human beings have lost the ability to do this, so we have to relearn how.

Planned relaxation calms anxiety and helps your body and mind recover from everyday rush and stress. Music, a long soak in the bath, or a walk in the park do the trick for some people, but for others it's not so easy. If you feel you need help with learning to relax, try a relaxation or meditation class. Your GP and local library will have information about these.

A basic relaxation exercise to try

1 - Choose a quiet place where you won't be interrupted.

2 - Before you start, do a few gentle stretching exercises to relieve muscular tension.

3 - Make yourself comfortable, either sitting or lying down.

4 - Start to breathe slowly and deeply, in a calm and effortless way.

5 - Gently tense, then relax, each part of your body, starting with your feet and working your way up to your face and head.

6 - As you focus on each area, think of warmth, heaviness and relaxation.

7 - Push any distracting thoughts to the back of your mind; imagine them floating away.

8 - Don't try to relax; simply let go of the tension in your muscles and allow them to become relaxed.

9 - Let your mind go empty. Some people find it helpful to visualise a calm, beautiful place such as a garden or meadow.

10 - Stay like this for about 20 minutes, then take some deep breaths and open your eyes, but stay sitting or lying for a few moments before you get up.


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