Processing Anger

Processing Anger

Just in case the Xmas cheer wears thin, here’s a quick practice to process your anger.

Remember anger is a charge – if any of you have ever cleaned the house or gone for a run while angry, you’ll know what this means. It’s a potent boost of physical energy and, as such, needs to be discharged. Running, punching a cushion, banging the floor, screaming, even just talking it out – all of these are valid discharging exercises. Drinking, pushing it down or trying to ignore it are suppression strategies doomed to failure. A few deep breath isn’t a great strategy either – you need to get rid of the energy first, and then focus in on the breath.

Here’s a 10ish minute practice that borrows from Bioenergetics and Kundalini yoga, for those moments when screaming or hammering the floor are not appropriate.

Sit in a comfortable position – if you’re going to sit in a chair, just make sure you have room to move your arms safely. Lengthen your spine, relax your body and sit your rib cage over the pelvis.

Part 1: Bring your hands into fists, bend your elbows and have the upper arms lightly against the sides of your body. The lower arms are parallel to the floor. Now start elbowing backwards, one arm at a time. As fiercely as you can punch one elbow back, then the other – you can add sound to this too if you like (in Bioenergetics you’re encouraged to say “Get off my back” but aaagh or any expletive would suffice!). Do 1.5 minutes alternating arms and then 1.5 minutes punching both elbows back at the same time. Direct your anger into the movement, really channel it.

To end this part, inhale, draw both elbows back and hold. Let your body grow really tense for 10-20 seconds. Then exhale and relax.

Part 2: Cross your hands over your chest, one hand resting on the other. Become aware of the centre of your chest, behind your breast bone. Feel as though you’re breathing into this space. Become aware of the sensations here and become aware of your breath, letting it slow and calm. Allow the pauses between the breaths to lengthen and let your state of being become softer & more relaxed. Stay here for a minimum of 3 minutes or as long as you need to.