With all of us stuck at home and having little to no distractions it’s harder than usual to deal with our emotions. Carrying anger and resentment can be far more damaging for us than the person who put us in that situation. As Mark Twain put it, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Being angry at someone consumes us and fuels negative emotions and without us realising, we are carrying a bucket full of unwanted emotions.
Anger is a natural emotion which all of us feel. The situations might differ but how we deal with anger is entirely upon us. Anger is a natural emotional response to when we feel we have been wronged. Anger is mostly triggered by feelings of hurt, anger, injustice or rejection. It puts us in a vulnerable position which creates a lot of distress and chaos inside us. This confusion of emotions leads to anger. We often use anger as a defence mechanism to protect ourselves from facing the underlying emotions, to feel in power or control or to simply let out what triggers us. While these are natural and fairly normal responses, anger can cause us more harm than good.
And so, here are a few healthy ways to practice to help cope with feelings of anger and resentment as compiled from Psychology Today.
1. Identify underlying emotions
The next time you find yourself in a position where anger is taking over you, take a few steps back and observe what you’re feeling. Ask yourself, what did the person say or do which triggered you to feel angry. You will find that anger is actually a build-up response of the hurt or injustice this person put you through.
2. Respond don’t react
Usually our first response is never a well thought out decision, it is mostly us behaving in an impulsive manner. In other words we react, not respond. In order for us to understand the difference we have to practice healthy ways to cope with these difficult emotions and the first step is to acknowledge them.
3. Consciously be present with your emotions
When you feel these difficult emotions, try not to suppress them. Feel them, acknowledge them and give yourself some time and space. Let these emotions pass and then proceed to decide how to respond.
4. Identify your part
Be brutally honest with yourself and hold yourself accountable for the situation you’re in. Learn and understand how you played a part because of which you are in this situation. This doesn’t always mean that you encouraged or enabled it. But you can always reduce the feelings of hurt and resentment by removing yourself from the equation.
5. Practice expressing and channelling these emotions differently
Just because you’ve spent years expressing your anger by fighting, crying or screaming doesn’t mean it’s the appropriate way of dealing with anger. Journal your feelings, share them with a trusted friend or take some time off and go for a walk and clear your head.
Acceptance doesn’t mean you like what’s happening or what has happened in the past because of which you’re carrying all that anger and resentment around. You just have to accept things for what they are and how you respond is where your power lies to overcome feelings of anger and resentment.