Photo: antoniodiaz (Shutterstock)
There’s no one right way to respond to anger, but there are certainly wrong ways. Sarcasm, passive aggression, outright aggression—there are healthier solutions to letting out some steam.
Anger doesn’t just go away, but that doesn’t mean you have to surrender to it in an unbridled fit of rage. When you’re struggling with feelings of rage (repressed or not), it helps to have coping techniques at the ready. Otherwise, you risk lashing out in unhealthy ways, potentially hurting yourself and those around you. Here are ideas for different healthy ways you can channel your aggression and let out your rage.
Get moving however you can
Whether it’s sprinting, boxing, or punching a wall: If there’s one tried-and-true image of someone redirecting their rage, it’s through an intense workout.
We’ve long known that exercise is stress relief, no matter your skill level. You don’t have to sign up for boxing classes (although they could be great to look into). Find free workout videos online or do a few sprints down your block. If you have a yard, throw a ball against a wall. It might feel silly, but letting yourself yell or grunt during your workout can help you get into the anger-release zone.
Visually represent your frustration
Received a rage-inducing email from your boss? Print it out and then tear it to shreds. If you feel like you don’t have a physical outlet for your anger, make one yourself.
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You can also write down all your angry thoughts on paper and then destroy them however you see fit, whether that’s scribbling on them, sending them through a shredder, or tossing them (safely!) into a fire. Hell, if you have a safe space to do so, try smashing some old junk to smithereens. The key here is to be mindful about how you’re visually representing not just your anger, but the fact that you’re letting it go.
Channel your anger into creativity
You can also release your anger through more soothing, thoughtful outlets. If sprinting around your block and tearing up pieces of paper are only feeding into your rage, here are some ideas to channel it in a more controlled manner:Sing. If you’re able to, singing in the privacy of your car is ideal. Draw or paint. You don’t need to be artistic to feel the benefits of splattering paint on paper. It’s about letting loose, not about making something that mom can hang on the fridge. Journal. Don’t feel pressured to articulate your anger—even just typing a stream-of-consciousness note on your phone can help calm you down.Listen to music. Find calming, uplifting music to distract you and bring you some peace.Try yoga. Deep breathing and mind-body focus will force you to sit with your anger, without letting your anger control you.
Talk with someone you trust
Like with any strong emotional reaction, bottling it up inside will most likely backfire. Consider reaching out to a trusted friend or loved one about your anger. Evaluate whether your response is proportional to the issue. A little perspective can help diffuse your emotions and help you calm down.
Going forward, try documenting times you feel anger in order to identify patterns in what sets you off. Are you always pissed at the same person? Are there certain behaviors or situations that simply grind your gears? Figuring this out can help you prepare for, manage, or avoid feelings of rage in the future.