Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. – Buddha
We see and hear about anger daily. Co-workers argue about a decision. People attempt and commit murder out of anger. Road rage, domestic violence and depression involve elements of anger, indirectly.
Anger is an emotion. An emotion is a mental reaction, associated with or accompanied by a feeling, a physical sensation. Being angered results in a desire to “get even with” or taking revenge on who, or what, caused the anger.
Types of Anger
An article on selfhelpmagazine.com, “ANGER: WHAT IS IT? and WHY,” describes characteristics of angry people:
- The “Mad Hatter” Driver – This person yells, curses, and offers gestures to other drivers when s/he is in a hurry and frustrated.
- The Sulker – This person shuts down in a chair and stops speaking and looking at others.
- Safe Haven Abuser – This person takes her/his frustration out only on the ones s/he loves.
- The Distractor – This person disregards the object of his annoyance by reading the paper, forgetting to run an errand, or playing the radio too loudly. When s/he is confronted, the response is: I didn’t know; I forgot; I’m tired.
- The Blamer – This person blames everybody for everything and rarely accepts responsibility for his or her own short comings.
- The Avenger – This person believes s/he has been given the right to seek vengeance in any way for anything by using the excuse: they deserved it.
Anger can be expressed, repressed and, either way, painful. Learning how to express and manage anger takes the same amount of energy that it does to repress it . . . perhaps less. Once you’ve learned the skills and put them into action, the less anger will affect you.
Unexpressed or repressed anger will unconsciously build up in the body and make its presence know. Surveying 20,000 workshop participants and clients, Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks, authors of Conscious Loving, The Journey to Co-Commitment, found that anger is felt as: tightness in shoulders and back of neck; headache, especially in back of head and neck; tight or sore jaw muscles; clenching jaws, or nighttime grinding of teeth; crawling or itching sensations in upper back, shoulders, arms; and picking at fingernails.
Manage Your Anger
We’ve always heard, “Count to 10 when you become angered.” Have you ever tried this? If you have, you already know the benefits. Counting, or taking time to detach from your emotions, allows you to see things more objectively. Counting incorporates breathing, which slows down your heart rate.
Once you’re calm, it’s time to explore where the root of the anger begins. Could it be from a childhood incident being recreated in the present? From having unexpressed feelings embedded in fear? Or, from not knowing where they exist and not taking the time to unearth them?
Avoid anger burnout. Being angry slowly eats away at you in every aspect of your life: personally, professionally, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Working through it in a safe environment leaves you feeling lighter and empowered.
Explore and work through your anger while practicing yoga. Join me Wednesday nights. YOUR FIRST CLASS IS FREE!
Kelly D. McClain is a registered yoga teacher (RYT) currently teaching Beginner’s Yoga on Wednesdays at 7:15 p.m. at the GLCCB. Send your questions or requests for more information atHaYoga.Kelly@yahoo.com. Also, visit Tim Hurley, RYT at the Center on Sundays at 3:30 p.m.