How often do you get angry? What do you when you lose it?
I used to have a very confusing relationship with anger. I would just cry and look sad when in fact, underneath I was seething. But I was too ashamed to express it. I witnessed a lot of anger outbursts in my childhood & thought all anger was wrong and hurtful. Terrifying, frankly.
Also, not feminine – angry women are hysterical, right? That was my conditioning at the time.
Fast forward to adulthood & lots of healing & coaching & yoga practice later...
I am practically never angry with my clients :-) I'm particularly proud of that - it means I have set healthy boundaries and attract clients who respect the committment to themselves and my work. It wasn’t always the case when I started my business. Thank you for up-levelling with me!
I am now most challenged by anger in motherhood and in marriage. With the people I love the most. Sounds familiar? ? I NOTICE MY ANGER A LOT MORE these days BECAUSE I now OWN UP TO to it and AM WORKING ON IMPROVING IT.
If you’re experiencing anger, below are 6 KEY QUESTIONS to ASK YOURSELF:
Are my boundaries being crossed? Have my repeated requests i.e. to be given space been ignored?
For instance, my 4-year-old is going through yet another growth phase when he continuously invades my privacy. I am learning how to express my anger constructively – BEFORE I blow up, BEFORE my boundaries are crossed, but sometimes I make mistakes. I forgive myself. We cry, talk, breathe and try again. We actually do pranayama (breathing excercises) together, he’s so sweet!
Anger is a great information mechanism on our boundaries, it's how we express it where the challenge lies.
2. Am I prioritising my self-care? Have I got enough water, food and SLEEP?
Lack of sleep in particular shortens our fuse. Research shows that when we don’t get enough sleep, we make our decisions based on the reptilian (primitive brain) rather than the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for processing emotions and threatening stimuli on a much higher level. HAIL TO ALL THE MOTHERS whose children are going through the Nth sleep regression, it’s not you, it’s lack of sleep & science is on your side!
3. Am I going through deep healing, therapy, counselling or coaching process?
This can be a tricky one - after all we go through therapy or counselling to feel better and have a better grip on our emotions, right? WHEN WE WORK ON SOMETHING WE BECOME MORE AWARE OF IT, so it feels like there is more of it.
For example, I'm going through a deep healing and abundance mindset work with my coach at the moment. This affects me on two levels.
First, it brings up old traumas and releases them and sometimes that old anger that wasn’t mine comes up to the surface before it leaves my system. Second, as my self-worth increases, things that I have previously accepted or bore are no longer okay. As I learn to express my stronger energetic boundaries, not everyone around me likes that change because it makes them uncomfortable, and sometimes I fail to express it in a way that is respectful or contained. I am learning with practice and it gets easier with time! My loved ones also get better at respecting my new boundaries, so it's an ongoing growth journey!
4. What can I forgive myself and others today?
After we lose our patience, or one of our loved ones does, the next phase that often ensues is guilt (if it was us) or resentment (if it was someone else). Compassion is a vital indgredient here to avoild build-up of more resentment and guilt. We are human - we will get angry from time to time. What we do after an outburst, using the time constructively to seek forgiveness and understanding with ourselves or another person, is a key indgredient to our growth and healing. We can make A DECISION to forgive and then allow the process to take several days, it does not need to be immediate. The healing process after an anger outburst (and the time it takes to be ready for reconcilliation) will differ for each person.
5. What else is my anger telling me? How can I understand it better?
Anger covers up many unprocessed emotions. Vulnerable example here: I have lost my best friend in September. Grieving can manifest itself as anger. Especially when you have a ‘get-on-with-it attitude or are a support system to others while you’re grieving. Can I sit with my sadness instead?
6. How can I own my anger and be fully accountable for it, without projecting it on others?
Here you may wish to consider that it is okay to express your anger and affirm your boundaries in a way that's respectful towards others and their boundaries. WHAT WILL SERVE YOUR HIGHEST GOOD?
I invite you to do some journaling & reflection on this as this year draws to a close. It will allow you to treat yourself with more compassion and gain more awareness of your broader emotional landscape.
Yoga can of course be a wonderful practice to observe our emotions as they arise. Whilst chances of you getting furious on the mat are low ( I hope), the practice creates an opportunity to create space between emotions and our reaction in a controlled environment with limited stimuli. As we continue with this awareness practice, we can take it off the mat as well.
For me, mantra chanting has been really crucial in anchoring my mind and working through difficult emotions, such as anger or frustration. Chanting allows me to focus and changes my emotional vibration so that after 5-10 minutes of practice, I often end up laughing rather than ranting!
In my coaching sessions I often use specific mantras, in addition to mindset work, when we focus on creating healthy boundaries and transforming difficult emotions with my clients.
What works for you? What practices or rituals do you want to introduce in the New Year to befriend your anger?