[Ch. 5 of 9] A Bat, a Mattress, and a Neighbor
May 14, 2019
I remember the day I realized my anger was actually an issue.
I had friends over to help me decorate for my husband’s surprise party. A few hours after they left, I began looking for the masking tape, but it wasn’t put back in its spot. I could feel this intense emotion start running through me…
…I became infuriated.
It was in that moment I realized I was way out of balance. Why would I be so angry over simply not being able to find masking tape?
Honestly, looking back, I realized I had been angry quite often. But I had never recognized how disproportionate it was.
There were times anger seemed to control me, instead of me being able to control it...
...I learned that intense emotions create a biochemical shift in the body, and therefore anger needs a kinetic form of release.
I started running when I would get angry. I would go on a walk or run to help me cool off. But sometimes running wasn’t practical, so I would punch a pillow or scream into the bed.
I basically followed this rule: when I was angry, I needed to release the emotion, but I couldn’t hurt anyone else or myself in the process.
Anger’s the emotion we use in an attempt to control life or situations; the same way little kids pitch temper tantrums. For example, in an attempt to control my husband or kids, I would yell at them when they wouldn’t do what I wanted.
One day, I was working on processing my anger in a safe way…
...The exercise involved taking a plastic bat and repeatedly hitting the mattress on my bed, while yelling “I release my anger!” I kept repeating this over and over again with the bat.
My goal was to work through my anger, and stop trying to control my family members. There were many times I ended up in tears, which honestly is a good thing...
...In case you don’t know, crying is a positive sign when it comes to releasing anger.
So, I had been doing this exercise for about 10 minutes when I heard my doorbell ring.
It was my neighbor, coming to check and see if everything was okay.
I was a little puzzled as to why exactly she had come over, until I realized that earlier in the day, I had opened the windows in the bedroom…
…I forgot to close them before I started my anger release exercise. So she heard me yelling "I release my anger!" out the window!
I’m sure my neighbor thought I was crazy when I answered the door, smiling, and casually told her I was fine. She left looking puzzled.
By using the bat and the bed, I could let out my anger at my own rate, without hurting anyone or anything. I was taking control of it, instead of it taking control of me.
That’s a very positive, empowering feeling.
Years later, around 2008, I was teaching one of my workshops with about 50 students.
I mentioned something about how I used to be so angry, and watched the shocked expressions ripple across the room.
I couldn’t help but react, “why do you all look so surprised?”
One of the students replied, “you’re so kind and calm all the time; we can’t imagine that you were ever angry.” The rest of the classroom nodded in agreement.
Mark that down as one of the most satisfying days of my life.
I quickly reflected and realized that after years of practice, I had finally mastered an emotion that used to control me.
I don’t know if you ever deal with control issues or feeling overly intense, and wish you could perhaps feel differently?
Next week, I’m going to share with you one of the simplest tools I used to help shift my intensity, and ease my control issues (which are triggers for anger).
Look for that email: [Ch. 6 of 9] "Have you been drinking?” …and spoiler alert—there is no tequila involved ;)
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treat. This information is based on research and knowledge by the author, and the ideas are not intended as substitute for medical advice. As with any products it is suggested that you check with your medical practitioner prior to use. The author disclaims any liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any products mentioned herein.