I used to store my anger and it affected my play. Now I get it out. I'm never rude to my playing partner. I'm very focused on the ball. Then it's over.
-golfer Helen Alfredsson
From "Positive Energy," by Judith Orloff, M.D.:
Anger, an intense sense of displeasure and antagonism, comes from the Latin angere
, "to strangle." We get angry at those who've harmed us, aggravated us, or let us down. We get angry at ourselves. At God. Growing up, I was angry about being stuck on Earth; I felt like an alien, just longed to go "home." Sometimes anger becomes a mask for fear or hurt; it also leads to resentments, which I'll discuss later. Anger is human, we all have it. In this program you'll learn to identify it and healthily release it, then keep moving on. Anger is a toxic subtle energy. Seething in your system, it can eat you alive, or else dangerously erupt. Keep in mind: Those painfully polite churchgoing housewives turned ax murderers snapped from repressing anger, not from consciously expressing it. Make changes now to disfuse anger that throws you off by following the 48-hour rule.
1. Quickly identify your source of anger. Impulsive, unconscious anger is the dangerous kind-it can hurt us, others, even break windows. To avoid unhappy repercussions, when anger hits, slow down your reaction. Immediately identify the cause, but don't go on the attack.
2. Give yourself permission to rant for 48 hours max. The worst thing you can do is squash anger: trying to contain this energy bomb will only explode your insides or cause you to passive-aggressively act it out. But now is not the time to confront the offender. For 48 hours, let lose and rail about the object of your anger by yourself, or with a therapist or friend. Doing so begins your healing by diffusing negative energy.
3. After 48 hours, start letting anger go. This means getting out of your ego (even if you're "right") and into self-preservation. Releasing anger is a process, but you can start now. I recommend writing in your journal to vent all the venom. Or keep praying to have it removed. Breather your anger out of the emotional energy center in the solar plexus; make sure it doesn't congeal. Take a few moments periodically to breathe calm in, and expel the toxicity of anger.
4. Express your anger to the offender. First, take a measure of the situation. If the person is nonreceptive, vindictive, or there's no positive gain (say with a tyrant boss), it may not be appropriate to express your anger directly. Instead use the above steps or minimize contact. If you think the person may be receptive, remember the goal is not to eviscerate him or her, but to get your point across and be heard...The offender may want to resolve differences or apologize. If not, don't fuel antagonism or engage in a power struggle. Stay firm and centered in the knowledge that you've expressed your truth. You might say, "I respect your feelings, but we have to agree to disagree. I'm sorry we can't resolve this right now."