How to Release Anger & Resentment
I get it: this post has NOTHING to do with travel or any of my usual topics. So why am I writing about anger, of all things? The purpose of this blog is to explore topics I find relevant, insightful, or inspiring. And I believe that the cultivation of emotional maturity, which includes releasing anger effectively ~ is a HUGELY under-discussed, yet much-needed topic. We all want to handle ourselves with greater maturity: but I think many of us simply don’t know HOW. And not everyone can afford therapy. So in this post, I’m providing two extremely effective, inexpensive methods for learning how to release anger & resentment.
Why This Topic is Relevant for Me
This post is especially relevant for me, because I lost a long-time friendship earlier this year, due to a trip that went very awry. Unexpressed, bottle-up anger turned into full-on rage during a long car ride, & in this particular situation: I felt genuinely afraid for my safety. And this is a friend I’ve had for over 20 years. I could never have imagined the day when her & I wouldn’t be friends. But this repressed anger & terrifying rage ~ combined with concern for my safety, were absolutely unacceptable. A hard limit had been reached for me, & there was no going back after that point.
Unexpressed anger can cost you friendships & relationships. Because it always finds a way out, somehow. And usually with people you love.
And that’s why I wanted to write this post. I know I’m not the only person who has dealt with anger issues. And I don’t find anything particularly shameful about admitting that: anger is a perfectly normal emotion. Kids get angry all the time ~ but they usually tantrum their way through it & forget about it twenty minutes later! The problem is: when we’re adults, we can’t throw tantrums anymore…but we still get angry (because we’re human). So what do we do with it then? Can we effectively learn how to release anger without hurting someone, or ourselves, in the process?
The answer is: 100%, yes we can. You can. Exercise (particularly boxing), talking to a trusted friend or therapist, & journaling are all highly effective ways of releasing anger. You must take that angry energy, acknowledge it, figure out EXACTLY what drives you so crazy, & ultimately: let it go.
It’s when you can’t let it go ~ that you have a problem.
Signs That You Need to Release Anger
Sometimes, you may find yourself in a situation where traditional methods just don’t work. Or you simply can’t “let it go.” Here are signs that additional work may be beneficial:
- You find yourself snapping at people often, & sometimes for no reason;
- You get road rage….A LOT;
- You notice that people have begun to distance themselves from you, & you’re not quite sure why;
- You feel impatient or exasperated often;
- You’re easily irritated ~ whether by a waiter, your significant other, or your kids;
- There’s a chronic situation or person in your life (such as a boss), who causes you great stress on a regular basis;
- There’s a person or situation in your life that you just can’t forgive, no matter how hard you try;
- You feel “stuck,” & have felt that way for quite some time, but can’t figure out why;
- Your anger has cost you a friendship, relationship, or a job.
If any of these are true for you, then doing work to release anger will be extremely beneficial. So many areas of your life will change for the better. And if ALL of these are true for you: then for heaven’s sake: DO THIS WORK ASAP!!!
How to Release Anger & Resentment
Both techniques I’m recommending here are guided meditations, & should be done by yourself, in complete privacy. You can find them on Amazon & ITunes.
The first guided meditation I’m recommending is POTENT. It gets right at the source of whatever, or WHOEVER, is causing you the most anguish ~ right now, in your life. It’s called “Anger Releasing,” & was created by Louise Hay. Louise is one of the original “self-help” gurus, who long-ago identified that many bodily ailments are directly related to specific, negative thought patterns. Read more about this in her watershed book, “You Can Heal Your Life.”
In “Anger Releasing,” you’ll be invited to “confront” five people in your life. You’re encouraged to tell them ~ either out loud, or in your mind, EXACTLY why you’re angry with them. (Some of the things you’re actually angry about may shock you.) Louise also invites you to punch, hit, or throttle your pillows ~ whatever you need to do to get the anger physically OUT of your body. It may sound primal, or childish, but I promise you: it’s HIGHLY effective.
Two things I love about this meditation: 1) By doing it in complete privacy, you can say EXACTLY what’s pissing you off, without worrying about a therapist (or friend’s) judgement, & 2) By addressing 5 people, she allows you to address both current & past grievances ~ ones that may never have been fully addressed. It’s THOROUGH. After doing this meditation, I cannot tell you how much LIGHTER I feel, as if some burden or weight has been lifted. It’s quite incredible.
But you have to be willing to go there.
Bottom Line: You need to be emotionally brave to use this meditation, & willing to confront your past. But if you can get through it, you will feel SO much better. It’s like having an emotional enema.
Belleruth Naparstek Anger Meditation
Where Louise’s meditation is like a full-frontal attack on your anger ~ Belleruth’s is more of a slow & gentle unwinding of it. Her “Guided Mediation for Anger & Forgiveness” is subtle, & may require more listens to really get at the root of the problem. But for some: this may be the better way to go.
She leads you through a 20-minute guided meditation, followed by 20 minutes of affirmations, designed to invoke compassion & forgiveness. Affirmations work on your subconscious mind, & are used by everyone from Louise Hay to Tony Robbins (he calls them incantations). They are powerful, but I find they need to be used repetitively; whereas Louise’s CD is more like a one-two punch to your anger.
Bottom Line: A more subtle approach for dealing with anger & forgiveness, but no less effective. Belleruth also has a LIBRARY of work: for trauma & PTSD, anxiety, & even for relaxation & overall wellness. Her work is recommended by the Mayo Clinic, Kaiser, Johns Hopkins, & the U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs.
How to Release Anger & Resentment
If you’ve randomly come across this post on “Google,” my intent is that it helps you figure out the source of your anger. If these meditations resonate with you, as they did with me, I know they will make a HUGE difference in your life. You will feel SO much lighter. Your spirit & energy will be brighter, & your relationships will be enhanced. You’ll be more aware of your own boundaries, & that in itself, is an enormous blessing.
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A timely and practical piece of lettering that delivers specifics-So well done! In my experience the sandwich of anger, blame and shame is not worth consuming, because though blame and anger can provide an illusion of power or control- it is in reality, neither -and taxes the person expressing the anger, instead of releasing it. Thank you for the tools you have offered for it’s release, an essential step towards inner peace and forgiveness.
Such a good point, Suggy ~ that anger DOES absolutely provide an illusion of control. But that illusion usually leaves a “hangover” effect, because it just does NOT feel good. Thank you for writing ~ I clearly took a big departure from my normal fare here. But I think these topics & tools are SO important to discuss, & are more relevant than ever, with the prevalence of Twitter tirades, childish behavior, & the “mask” that social media provides ~ allowing people more freedom to act poorly. People need TOOLS!! Love you cuz xoxo
Thank you so much for writing this post. I notice that in the past few months, I’ve been extra snappy with my family. It doesn’t feel good – but I also can’t seem to stop. I’m realizing now that I’m taking out a very stressful job situation onto my family, which is completely unfair. This post really resonates with me, & I have just ordered the “Anger Releasing” CD to help get to the bottom of this. My family doesn’t need to bear the brunt of my job dissatisfaction. Thanks again, Shannon
Hi Shannon! How astute of you to realize that your anger is being misplaced onto your family, when really you’re angry with someone (or something) else. I know the CD will be cathartic for you; I’ve used it many, many times. So many relationships could be saved if people better knew how to “place” their anger ~ so congratulations for taking this step. Love, Noelia
Great article! Question: when I click on Louise Hay’s “Anger Releasing” CD & am directed to Amazon, it says the CD is $130??! Is that correct? Is that how much you spent? It just seems really expensive! Thx Molly
I know, Molly ~ I just saw that!!?! That’s crazy! I spent more like $10. I’m not sure if the CD has been discontinued (sincerely hope not!), which is driving the price up ~ but you still have two options: 1) Buy a used copy on Amazon for around $15, or 2) Buy on ITunes for a similar price. Hope that helps! xoxo Noelia