Anger is energy. It is a natural feeling that is a part of our emotional life. Anger can become your greatest enemy debilitating your health, sapping your energy, and producing all kinds of personal negativity. When anger is understood and transformed, it can become your greatest ally toward healing and finding personal peace.
Anger is one of the most misunderstood and commonly repressed emotions.
When you understand the true nature of anger, you can begin to harness a lost power of your will. Will power is the key to create permanent and positive changes in your life. It all hinges upon how you relate to your emotions.
Before we explore transforming your anger, it is essential to gain emotional intelligence and to do that. We need to clarify “positive” from “negative” emotions.
Emotions are a feedback system offering guidance in our daily lives. They inform us of what we need to do to feel secure and guide us forward in our lives. We learned to judge our emotions during childhood and placed them into two categories, positive (good) or negative (bad) emotions.
We label any constrictive feelings such as fear, guilt, depression, and loneliness as negative and bad. The expansive emotions, love, joy, peace, and happiness, we’ve identified as positive (good). The challenge for you is to redefine your relationship with all your emotions to change how you relate to them.
Think of your emotions as either expansive or constricting, like breathing. You don’t think of inhaling as “good” and exhaling as “bad”? Same is true with your emotions they function by expanding, which feels good, or by constricting, which feels tight and uncomfortable. Their purpose is to guide you forward in your life. However we’ve learned early on in childhood to judge the constricting feelings as bad and wrong. When we do, we repress them out of ignorance. Fear’s purpose is to protect you, to get you to slow down, pay attention, and be careful. It’s uncomfortable, but valuable.
Love moves you forward. Fear slows you down. Love is the accelerator, and fear is the brakes. Would you want to drive a car that only had an accelerator? Having the ability to slow down is a very positive aspect of driving safely. They can work together, and both emotions can positively influence your life when you don’t repress or ignore them. You’ll become more empowered with your emotions when you redefine them.
Negative Emotions are any emotion (love or fear) that you ignore, deny, and repress.
Regardless of their names, all emotion becomes negative when you refuse to feel and express them. Eventually, all unexpressed emotion putrefies into a rage, either inward or outward rage, turning in on yourself or vomiting it onto others who happen to be nearby.
It is the repression of emotion that causes its destructiveness, not the emotion itself! Repression eventually causes depression.
Likewise, love that is repressed can be just as destructive as repressed anger. Emotions are energy that needs to be felt and expressed respectfully. E-motion, energy in motion.
Positive Emotions are any emotion (love or fear) that you honor by paying attention, feeling, expressing, and then releasing the emotion responsibly.
When you respect your anger as much as your love, you will have matured your emotional intelligence and begin to take dominion over your life.
We’ve been brain-washed from childhood to judge anger as a bad emotion. Like all emotions, anger is meant to be felt, expressed, and released… responsibly. Repressed anger always has a negative impact on our lives. Addictions, worry, self-doubt, and powerlessness increase when anger is continually repressed. When anger is released, these adverse conditions can decrease rapidly. Also, within all anger, there is a hidden resource of willpower. The energy needed to end procrastination and take charge of your life can be found when you tap into and release your anger.
How to Create a Healthy Relationship with Anger
It is important to recognize the value of both your constricting and expanding emotions. The purpose of anger is to offer you feedback. Anger is a messenger communicating to you that change is needed in the area of your life that’s triggering this feeling.
For instance, if you feel angry about a person, then something about that relationship needs to change. Perhaps you are not being respected or understood. Pretending you are not angry, only compounds the problem.
Being honest with yourself is the key to harnessing the power of your emotional nature. When you let go of your judgment and honestly feel your constricting emotions, you’ll quickly express and release them. Then, the energy trapped inside of you can become a constructive and positive force in your life.
Four Steps to Transform Repressed Anger into Willpower
1st Step: Take responsibility for your repressed anger (own it).
Just because you don’t feel it, doesn’t mean its not buried deep inside of you. Be willing to begin to feel it. This allows you to connect with it and begin transforming it into a positive energy. You can begin to lift anger out of its destructive and repressed state by realizing these simple truths.
2nd Step: Express Your Anger
- Express your anger into writing.
- Take a legal pad and write at the top of the page,” Me and My Anger.”
- Write the first thing that comes to your mind about anger.
Write in a free association style. Don’t worry about grammar, sentence structure, or spelling. Express your anger by writing down your thoughts and feelings about what’s making you angry in your life, let yourself ramble, and write unrestricted. Don’t worry about it being logical or even understandable by others. It’s not for anyone to read but yourself.
Example, you might start to write: “This exercise is stupid. I don’t believe I’m doing this! Trying to write down my anger is so frustrating I don’t really feel it… I feel stuck, like I’m back in fourth grade… oh I remember how pissed off I was at my teacher Mr. SoandSo…blah, blah, blah”… you’ll suddenly begin to tap into the anger that is held inside of your subconscious mind.
Let the thoughts and feelings roll out of you! Don’t assess or judge your words.
Requirement: WRITE IT DOWN. Don’t just think about it.
There’s magic in writing, because you can not write as fast as you think. When you force yourself to write down your thoughts, you have to slow down your thinking. That is when you start to reveal the repressed and forgotten feelings and thoughts that you didn’t even realize were buried inside your mind.
This may feel awkward at first, but soon it will start to flow out of you in a stream of consciousness. Before you know it, you’ll tap into the anger trapped inside your subconscious mind and begin to release it safely and responsibly.
After writing for a while, the constricting feelings will shift and lift to a peaceful feeling inside of you. When that happens, destroy the paper, tear it up, burn it, or flush it down the toilet.
Next, take a break and do something you enjoy. Relax in a hot bath, go for a walk, enjoy your favorite movie, do something fun. This will help you lift beyond these feelings into a more expansive, peaceful space. Give yourself at least 2 hours and up to 24-hours to relax before moving on to the third Step.
3rd Step: Express your anger imaginatively. This is an important step to free your mind. It involves using your imagination to unhook the negativity from your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind does not know the difference between something you imagine and something that really happens.
For example: Have you ever sat in a movie theatre and watched scary images on the screen that caused you to tighten up with fear and become anxious?
Logically, you knew you were safe because a hundred other people surrounded you. However, your subconscious mind didn’t distinguish the images on the screen from what was really happening to you. It felt threatened and causes your autonomic nervous system to respond.
This is how the body-mind connection works. Your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what you imagine and what physically happens to you. Your subconscious mind reacts the same in both situations.
Guided Imagery Technique to Release Repressed Anger
Close your eyes and imagine the person standing before you. This person may have died long ago. It might be a boss, a parent, someone who pissed you off. Tell them in your mind how angry and upset you are. If you need to act it out, then act it out imaginatively!
If you were so angry you could have kicked and spit on them, then in your imagination, kick and spit on them! Play it out in your mind. Remember that the purpose is to release this repressed energy inside you to transform your life.
Now is your chance to vent the pent up energy from your subconscious mind! Don’t hold back. The more vivid you imagine this with honest feelings, the more effective it will be.
Tip: If it is difficult for you to express old anger from your childhood, let your inner child express their feelings. Let the angry part of you, your child, adolescent, or teenager express their feelings they had never released. Imagine that part of you and talk to him and let him know it is okay to express what he feels inside.
You may be worried that if you vent your anger in meditation, are you somehow sending negative energy to the person. Remember, your intention is where energy flows. You intend to transform anger into positive energy, not hurt others.
Once your subconscious mind has vented your anger, you can easily forgive and let go of the past. You can be free and experience greater personal peace.
Let the angry part of you ‘‘act out’’ the feelings — imaginatively -don’t hold yourself back. Honor by listening to the angry part of you, and it will set you free.
4th Step: Forgive the person who angered you. Forgiveness is the releasing phase let them go. Your motivation to forgive someone isn’t about the past, its about the future.
Again, you can do this in your imagination, imagine the person in your mind and tell them, “I forgive you” I am letting you go. You don’t have to meet up with them and talk to them physically. You can effectively forgive them in your mind, where it really matters. Forgiveness will come easily once the anger has cleared from your mind.
Still unsure how to forgive? Read my article on Forgiveness
If you have difficulty forgiving them, then go back and see if there is more anger you still need to release.
Once you have forgiven them and yourself (for attracting this negative experience), decide what positive energy you’d like to experience more in your life. Do you desire greater self-determination, discipline, and creativity?
Visualize how you want to feel and be in the future. Imagine yourself back in the flow, empowered, and feeling great with a renewed ability to be focused, productive, and at peace with yourself and the world.
When you release repressed anger, you automatically strengthen your inner power. Your life becomes full and rich with greater love, happiness, and peace.
(Listen While You Drive)
Transforming Anger into Will