When Being Angry Feels Normal
If you’ve been carrying around angry feelings for a considerable amount of time, then you may be so used to it that you’ve forgotten this isn’t a normal way to feel.
You know this, and yet if these have been your emotions for so long, then how will you manage to pull yourself out of yourself long enough to take an objective view? How will you step back and grow in awareness of these angry feelings that hold you back from feeling peaceful and satisfied?
Using Mindful Exercise to Break Through Anger
One way to get up close and personal with your intense emotional state with the intention of resolving your anger is to become more mindful during and after exercise.
What exercise works best to help you relieve anger? Truth be told, any exercise will help. But specifically, a combination of stretching such as yoga, and cardio, such as running or aerobics, can ease the tension that you carry with you in your muscles, and which accompanies you wherever you go.
You may not realize just how pent-up your hostile feelings have become.
Anger is normal. But anger manifests as tense muscles and shallow breathing. If you tend to carry around a lot of unresolved anger then you likely feel stiff all over. You may clench your jaw, walk around with tight fists and as mentioned, fail to let your breath out all the way.
Shallow breathing decreases the amount of oxygen flowing through our body, which is theoretically supposed to nourish our organs and reach the extremities such as our hands and feet. The angrier we feel inside, the more likely we are to keep the muscles rigid and taut, and we’ll also fail to fully expel breaths from our lungs. If we’re not fully breathing out, then we can’t breathe as deeply on an inhale. The shallower our breath, the more stressed we feel. Our body suffers in silence.
If you’d like to change this state of extreme tension that you take with you wherever you go as a result of having anger as your constant companion, then it’s a good idea to engage in stretching and cardio exercises.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. You can simply do a few yoga positions if you’re familiar with yoga. Some of the best yoga poses for releasing anger from the body are the warrior poses. These poses require us to engage the largest muscles of the body which are in the legs.
It may also be helpful to look up a yoga sequence that is specifically designed to help calm emotions. Spend 15 to 30 minutes doing slow mindful movements from one yoga pose to the next.
Pay attention to how you feel after you finish your series of yoga poses. Are you calmer? Do your limbs feel lighter?
Wiggle your jaw. How does your jaw feel? What are your hands doing? Move your toes. Pay attention to the muscles in your neck and back. Do you generally feel as though a load has been lifted from your shoulders? This is wonderful. You’re on your way to knowing the difference between what it’s like to walk around angry all the time versus relieving your body and soul of the emotions that keep you in a tense and anxious state.
To go a step further with your anger-releasing exercise, engage in some cardio to tire out the large muscles and get the heart pumping. This does not have to be a complicated process like signing up for the gym if you don’t belong. You can simply slip on a pair of sneakers and head on down the road for a jog for about 15 minutes or so.
Jogging is a weight-bearing exercise that releases tension in the body because of its impact. Rhythmic hitting of the body against a surface such as the ground has the effect of calming the nerves due to the repetition and the release of tension from the muscles.
Once you’re finished with your jog, do a few stretches such as the runner’s stretch, and maybe some downward dog and plank pose if yoga is turning out to be your thing. You might also try forward fold. If you’re not into yoga, you can simply look up some runner stretches that will open up the hips and relieve the calf muscles.
Once you have completed your stress-relieving workout, pay attention to your body sensations once again. How does your forehead feel? What are you doing with your mouth? How do the muscles in your neck and back feel now?
Cardio exercise and stretching remain some of the healthiest ways to relieve stress. When we move our bodies for prolonged periods of time and get the heart pumping, we raise endorphin levels and get rid of unwanted tension. Doing this mindfully, paying attention to how we feel before and after our exercise, will also help us recognize when those angry feelings may be surfacing once again. There is no better relief for pent-up anger than a good thirty-minute to a one-hour session of sustained exercise.
But even if you don’t have that much time to spare in your busy day, just 15 minutes of exercise will really make a difference in getting rid of that pent-up emotion that stands in the way of you and your happiness and inner peace.