It’s been one of “those days.” anger Too much to do, and not enough time to do it. Your boss yells at you for something that wasn’t even your fault; by the time you make it home, you’re fed up and stressed out. You slam the door, and then walk past your partner without saying a word. Your mate asks you about your day and why you slammed the door. Just the fact that they say anything to you makes you even more annoyed. You tell them, “I didn’t slam the door. There’s nothing wrong. Why do you always have to question me?” You spend the rest of the evening upset.

Sound familiar? Some people play out scenes like this on a fairly regular basis. During the day, some event or person makes them angry, and they spend the rest of the day and evening affected by it. Although the original upset has long gone, they carry the residue of the event with them like a bag of bricks on their shoulders. Without a clearly defined way to rid themselves of their irritation, they spend many hours feeling annoyed for no apparent reason. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, they “blow-up” in reaction to just about anything.

It doesn’t need to be like this. Think of how infants react when they get angry. Typically, they get very upset, scream or cry for a while, then quickly return to a state of contentment. Instead of holding-in their feelings, they fully let them out. Once all their anger has been expressed, they feel calm and at peace once again. Unfortunately, adults have not learned how to deal with anger so well. We’ve been conditioned to repress our feelings of anger and upset. Yet, like steam escaping from a heated pressure cooker, our anger and resentment leaks out, and because it is only allowed to leak out a little at a time, it can take a long while before adults can feel at peace again.

Dealing with anger effectively. As adults, we’ve been taught that it’s not appropriate to “blow-up” or have a “temper tantrum.” Yet, dealing with anger by carrying it around for hours or days on end is not a healthy solution either. What we need in dealing with anger is a safe way to fully release our upsets and frustrations without making a fool out of ourselves. There are many ways to deal with anger, but I’ve found two methods to be particularly effective. The first I call the Adult Temper Tantrum (ATT), and the second I call the Raw Exercise.

In order to do an Adult Temper Tantrum, you first need a private room. A bedroom is best, but any room with pillows and privacy will suffice. As soon after a maddening event as possible, try to excuse yourself and go to a private room. Once in the room, take a pillow and hold it like you’re getting ready for a pillow fight. Think of the person or situation that upset you. Picture it clearly in your mind, and breathe quickly as you feel yourself get angry once again. Then, once you’re back in touch with the feelings of upset, begin to smash the pillow against the bed or floor as hard and as quickly as you can. If you have a lot of privacy, feel free to scream whatever comes to mind as you continue to beat the bed with the pillow. It only takes a couple of minutes of smashing the bed with a pillow (or your fists) before you’ll feel a state of relaxed exhaustion. Then, congratulate yourself for having released all that toxic energy. Finally, end your session by thinking of one or two things you’re grateful for in your life. Take a minute to feel grateful for something or someone.

The Adult Temper Tantrum is unsurpassed in being able to get out a lot of anger from your system in a short period of time. By watching young kids, you can see that the full releasing of emotions helps to quickly restore a child back to a state of harmony. The same is true for you and me. Of course, as an adult you need to be more “mature” and wait to release your upset in a safe and private place. By having an Adult Temper Tantrum, in a couple of minutes you can release a lot of stress and be freed from bringing in “old emotions” into your daily life. Once the tantrum is over, it’s always best to think of something you feel grateful for. This helps to soften your mood and energy so you’ll be better able to return to your everyday life.

Sometimes a private room can be hard to find. If you’re at your office, or running errands, getting to your bedroom may be many hours away. That’s where the Raw Exercise becomes helpful. In the RE, you need not beat on anything. All you need to do is get in your car, play some loud music, and scream your anger out. If your car is parked, loud rock music can drown out your scream. If you’re driving around, the music isn’t as necessary, but can still be useful to help you feel less inhibited. It’s called the Raw Exercise for two reasons. First, it’s a way of letting your raw emotions out so they won’t leak into the rest of your life. Second, when getting ready to yell, it’s best to begin by saying the word “raw,” and feeling the word in your gut. Then, slowly make your voice louder and louder until it ends in an all-out scream. This “building up” form of yelling is easier to do than beginning with a scream, and it helps to save your voice as well.

It is truly amazing how much anger and frustration can be released with a ten second scream. As kids, we instinctively know how to deal with anger. We scream and throw a tantrum as our “natural” way to discharge our feelings. By getting into the habit of hitting your bed or screaming in your car when upset, you can avoid bringing toxic feelings into the rest of your life. The hardest part about doing these methods is being able to overcome your initial feelings of embarrassment. Yet, I’ve found that if you can do these techniques just once, you’ll likely become hooked on how valuable they are. Your friends, partner, and co-workers will wonder why you seem so much more relaxed. Only your car and bed will know your little secret.

Author's Bio: 

Jonathan Robinson is a psychotherapist, best-selling author of nine books, and a professional speaker from Northern California. He has reached over 250 million people around the world with his practical methods, and his work has been translated into 47 languages. Articles about Jonathan have appeared in USA TODAY, Newsweek, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as dozens of other publications. In addition, Mr. Robinson has made numerous appearances on the Oprah show and CNN, as well as other national TV talk shows. He has spent over 35 years studying the most practical and powerful methods for personal and professional development.