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Got Anger?? Here is a quick tip release

Updated: Jan 2, 2021

Anger is a healthy emotion but feeling angry and frustrated can propel you into a spiral of ruminating thoughts and keep you from feeling your best. It can also make you cranky and snappy with your loved ones and colleagues which is certainly not ideal. It's important to feel how you feel though and not just stuff your feelings. Keeping feelings in, especially anger, can cause them to pop up again later and sometimes in inappropriate and regrettable ways or show up negatively in your health.

The most effective way I've found to process anger is something called release writing. This is a strategy Christine Hassler details in her book, Expectations Hangover. This is a life altering book, by the way, I highly recommend it if any area of your life hasn't turned out how you expected and you have any challenges dealing with that, but that's a whole other blog.

For my variation of release writing, you take a blank sheet of paper and write down how you are feeling. Because of the way our brains process, it's really important for you to write this instead of typing to receive the full effect. If you aren't sure what to write start with exactly what has triggered you, some possible sentence starters might include:

-I am incredibly angry because...

-It is unbelievably unfair that…

-I can't believe you...

-I hate you for...

Let it all out and don't hold back. Make this as colorful as you'd like and use whatever language reflects how you really feel. This is not a journal entry so it's really important that you write as quickly as you can and let whatever comes to mind flow to the page even if it seems disjointed and messy. It's also really important that you don't stop and re-read. This is a pure release of energy and might even make you feel breathless and very likely emotional as you write. When you get to the bottom of the page, go back to the top of the page and continue writing over what you wrote before. There are two reasons for writing over what you just wrote. One is so you don't feel compelled to go back and read it. If you release this emotion and then go back and read it, you will be putting it right back in. The whole idea of this is to release the emotion and process it so that you can get it out in a productive way. The second reason is so you can feel assured that no one will ever read what you are writing so you can feel safe to really let it flow. Say whatever you want and just get that anger out. Christine doesn't suggest that you write back over what you wrote but she emphasizes the importance of not re-reading it. Instead, she suggests that you burn the page(s) in sort of a ceremonial way to truly show the end of the process and the emotion being gone. In my angrier days, and there were many, I found release writing incredibly helpful in the moment and sometimes that was at work so burning the page was not an option. That's how I came up with writing on top of what I wrote before then once I got everything out, I'd tear the sheet out and take it to the shredder with a sudden feeling of peace.

Christine Hassler has other excellent ways to process anger and frustration but I have to say of those and other methods I've encountered in my personal development journey, this one is by far my favorite and unbelievably effective. I suspect this might come in handy for you during the frustrations that sometimes coincide with the stress of the holidays. I hope this helps you feel better!

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