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Freedom from Anger

Freedom from Anger

There are so many reasons to be angry. Someone not living up to your expectations. Social injustice. The circumstances of your childhood. Being betrayed, bullied, abused. Having someone you love hurt or even killed by another. Illness. Your own self-sabotage. Governmental action or inaction. Financial circumstances. Losing a job. Being unemployed. Feeling helpless. This is just for starters - the list could go on forever

Former Australian prime minister, Gough Whitlam, when ousted from office, famously declared, "Maintain the rage", and while much anger is absolutely justifiable, it is important for us to ask whether it is either a resourceful response or useful to hold on to it.  

Anger can help you to survive but it can also keep you victim - a victim to the person who has wronged you or situation that you find yourself in. It can keep you very connected to and thinking constantly about the very person or situation you want to be free from.  And to harbour a desire for revenge may seem appropriate, but also comes at a considerable cost in terms of mental, emotional and physical health.

Anger isn't just turned outwards.  I can't tell you the number of times, when I've asked a client "Who or what are you REALLY angry about?" the response has been "myself".

Anger can be really compelling because it covers up our feelings of helplessness with a sense of power but remember anger isn't who you are, it's merely a response.  The good news is that it is very amenable to being cleared with EFT tapping which is the best method I've ever come across of clearing the negative emotions that can be so damaging to our wellbeing.  

So here are a few tips, and remember that the important thing when tapping is to tune into the feeling in your body and not worry too much about words.  

1.  If the anger seems really compelling start with tapping around the spots while acknowledging "I don't want to let go of this anger".  It's always good to acknowledge your resistances and allow the tapping to dissolve it. 

2.  Part of this resistance can be the feeling that your anger is totally justified so it's good to acknowledge this as well while tapping. 

3.  When you are in touch with the anger and are ready to be free from it, tap around and say "I just let it go, it's safe to let it go, it's good for me to let it go".  After each round of tapping check in to see if the anger is still there and keep doing rounds of tapping until you can't find it any more.  You may find another feeling emerges - sadness often comes up in its wake, so then pay attention to that.  The idea is to tap until you feel clear. 

4.  If you're suddenly triggered by a minor incident - like when I lost the plot in the carpark when someone took MY spot - tap on the anger that is triggered, but then ask yourself what you are really angry at and start paying attention to that. Often there is a well of supressed anger that hasn't been dealt with that suddenly explodes over some petty incident.  So anger at a petty incident is always a clue that something else needs to be dealt with!

5.  Many people are afraid that if they really get in touch with their anger they'll be dangerous and indeed an incredible number of people die because of anger.  But know that you don't need to act it out as others have done.  The reason for acknowledging and accessing it in a safe environment is to use tapping (or other methods) to free yourself of it.  

6.  If you're angry at your needs not being met in some way, name the needs. Write it down, make a list of what your needs are and how they are not being met, or haven't been met in the past.  Then start tapping and work you way through it as you tap - "I'm angry that ______, I'm angry at ______."   Focus on feeling the anger as you tap because this is how you break the pattern in your brain.  

7.  No-one wants to feel helpless and so it can be difficult to even admit it to yourself, but this is often the feeling that lies beneath anger. It has certainly been the case with me but it took me a very long time to recognise it.  It's really worth contemplating in what areas of your life, or what situations you feel helpless in and tapping on it because although you can't change the outcome your power lies in changing your response to it.  

8.  One way out of helplessness is to use your anger to generate action.  Because tapping clears your mind and opens up creativity you could tap the spots while saying "What action is this anger driving me to take".  For instance, I'm both angry at and feel helpless to do anything about the Australian government's treatment of asylum seekers, but I am studying to become a migrant home tutor in English where I know I can make a difference.  

9.  Tap every day!  There are so many different layers and aspects of your anger.  I lived under the illusion for a long time that I wasn't an angry person.  Well, that really was an illusion!  Just because you don't feel angry at this particular moment does mean you don't carry anger.  And there are endless triggers - someone bullies you at work, you're stuck in the traffic, the service is rude, the government makes the latest insane decision, your kids are pushing your boundaries, the internet has gone down.......  

10.  Decide how you want to respond instead.  I have a sign on my bedroom wall which says "I choose love over anger".  Of course I don't always manage that, but at least I have an intention, a direction, an alternative response mapped out.  And it makes a wonderful mantra to tap on.  

As my mentor Stephanie Dowrick always says, "Peace in yourself. Peace in the world".

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