Express Anger in Healthy Ways

Anger is healthy, when expressed in the appropriate way.  What is not healthy is stuffing your feelings. If you suppress your feelings they will grow and eat at you, often building inside until you explode.

Repression of emotions is one of the major causes of addictions, abuse, depression, and disease in our culture. In many families, emotions are either repressed or expressed in abusive ways. As children and young adults we’re too often told being angry is bad and we should just move on.  When I got angry I was punished or shamed into repressing my emotions.  I felt rejected and my emotions discounted.  When I’d express I was angry, sad, fearful, disappointed, I was told, “Oh no, you’re not feeling that.” As a child I learned to mistrust my own perceptions and repress what I felt.

If we do not express anger in healthy ways we tend to turn that anger inward.  Often that turned in rage becomes physical abuse. We cut ourselves, abuse ourselves with substances, we spend without responsibility, smoke, do drugs, behave recklessly, feel entitled to behave as we please without assuming responsibility for our actions.  The rage my father often expressed taught me that it was okay to express my anger inappropriately by raging.  His frequent abuse of alcohol taught me to turn to substances to deal with the anger I was repressing.

When you get angry do something to let it out.  Don’t keep it bottled up inside you.

Healthy expression of feelings gets the angry, hurt or scared energy out of your body without hurting property, yourself or any other person or animal. Run, walk fast, punch a punching bag, or yell into a pillow.  Whatever activity you choose make certain it does not harm you or anyone or anything else. Focus on the feeling of release and freedom you get from moving the stuck anger energy out of your body. Remember it is absolutely okay to be angry, but never okay to be abusive.