How do you get angry?
Do you let it build up and then blow up?
Smile through it? Common amongst women.
Do you clear your throat because you want to say something but find it hard to express what you truly feel and think?
These are all defences to anger. And at some point we’ve each experienced a defensive reaction in response to anger.
Now, let’s be fair to our defences. When they were initially formed their purpose was to protect us from being further hurt or overwhelmed either by a person, event or our own emotions.
But usually we end up having defensive reactions well past their initial need which end up hurting us.
Anger is a basic primary emotion and it’s important just like all the other emotions. It helps us to take action, speak up and make changes.
But anger is not aggression. People can often confuse the two which is part of the reason why some people find it hard to express anger: they associate it with a threat to their emotional or physical safety because of how anger was expressed, or not expressed, in their family home while growing up.
It’s challenging to feel into the intensity of our anger.
The power of truly feeling our anger is at the core of being able to feel into our passion, true identity and what we value and believe in. It’s acting on that and speaking from that place.
Denying our anger is denying our identity, our voice, and passion for life. It is fuel for change.
So how do we feel into our anger?
To feel our anger is to feel into the energy of anger. We need to sensations and the emotion itself.
We need to notice, feel and sense when anger arises, where it travels, where is expands and where and if it fizzles out. It means staying with anger and feeling into every bit of it.
You may notice that anger arises in your stomach, the solar plexus region. It may then expand into your chest and throat. Legs can also feel activated as can other parts of your body.
For some anger may stop in the throat and feel like it’s blocked which is why some people have the need to clear their throat. It helps them to manage this block.
Once we sense anger, the trick is not to try to get rid of it, push it out, scream it out, breathe it out vigorously or cry it out.
Although these tools can be helpful in managing anger they won’t help you learn how to purposefully use the energy of anger because the energy of anger would have dissipated. In other words, you would have lost fuel.
When we feel anger, the idea is to expand it into every part of our body.
This may seem initially counter-intuitive but when we use our whole body as a container for our emotions, rather than just one small portion of the body, it becomes easier to tolerate intense emotions and even stay with them for longer.
This approach is based on Integral Somatic Psychology developed by Dr Raja Selvam. I’m grateful for this training because it’s an accelerated approach to working with your emotions.
When we learn to expand our emotions, we notice that some situations don’t seem to affect us the way they one used to.
Initially, this expansion of anger, or any other emotion for that matter, positive or negative, can feel overwhelming. Essentially we are practicing gradual exposure to something which feels unpleasant or bad.
If you would like to learn more about this approach or even be guided through it to help you better experience and express your emotions, feel free to contact me and we can have a chat to see if this approach is right for you.
Remember, when we can be present in who we are we can truly be in our power and on purpose. Embodying our emotions will help us do just that. This is the way forward.