(Skip this if you never get angry.)
research to show that exercise blunts anger. So, for
example, if you know you're going into a situation that's
likely to make you angry, go for a run first. That, or some
other kind of exercise could help you manage your anger
However, for most of us it's much more complicated than
that. Although anger is a normal human experience, some will
say that anger is one of the most universal and destructive
moods. The destructive aspects of anger come into play when
anger is mis-directed or applied where it doesn't belong.
The more common destructive application of anger or rage is
not physical but emotional. Emotional abuse is so common it
can be taken for granted as "normal" and often not even
recognized as abuse. In the long run, it can do more damage
to a person than physical abuse.
It's been a horrible day for you. You know the drill:
gridlock traffic, coworkers and bosses that get crosswise
with you. Technology that doesn't work properly. The last
straw is when you bend over to pick something up off the
floor and the seam in the seat of your pants rips.
But you are able to manage your anger and frustration. Some
one lends you a few safety pins and you get through the work
day. You walk through the door at home and someone (or
animal) you live with says or does the "wrong" thing. And
they get it! No, it's not physical, but it's a nasty mood
that you brought home and it leads to emotionally abusive
interaction: yelling, name-calling, put-downs, blame for
things that person had nothing to do with, etc.
Many couples and family members have figured out that a
transition period is necessary before interacting with
family once you get home. Go to the bedroom before you speak
to anybody. Set the pillow up on the bed and pound the
pillow. Yell at the pillow all the obscenities you need.
Tell the pillow how hard it's been for you because of it
getting in your way of progress all day long. Blame it for
all your woes. Rip the pillow to shreds to show the pillow
how you felt when it split your pants open. Flog the bed
with the pillow until your arms are weak. Not only will you
feel better after 15 to 30 minutes of this kind of exercise,
but you will be a nicer person to live with for the rest of
Emotional abuse is almost always misplaced anger. Work out
your anger literally either with exercise and/or with
verbalization's rather than emotionally beating up on your
Anger is emotional waste in a manner similar to physical
waste. Making waste is a sign of life. How we manage the
waste is what matters. Most homes have bathrooms and
commodes that accommodate physical dumps. We also need homes
that matter-of-factly provide spaces (and time) for
"Hey Dad, where are you?"
"I'm in here taking an emotional dump, working on my anger.
Leave me alone. We can talk when I'm done."
"Hurry up. I need to use the anger room myself!"
"Son, use the one down the hall! I'm in here now."
Taking an emotional dump, that is relieving yourself of
pent-up anger, in the wrong place at the wrong time in the
presence of the wrong people has negative consequences you
will regret in much the same way you will regret taking a
physical dump in the wrong room at the wrong time with the
wrong people present.