When I was a kid and got mad at someone – usually my brother – I would either complain to someone (my parents or one of my sisters) or I would retreat into my room and put on some music. Often I would write about it in my diary, which always helped calm me down.
I’m not so different today – I deal with anger usually by trying to remove myself from the situation if possible. If I’m home, I’ll go out for a walk. In the past, I went out to my car, intending to take a drive, with disastrous results: I was so mad that I didn’t concentrate on my driving, and once I backed right into a cement post! Another time, I hit a telephone pole at the end of my driveway! So I don’t get into my car when I’m still at the height of my anger. Taking a walk is safer, and I can breathe fresh air and enjoy nature. This is great in good weather, but I don’t have this option if there is a storm or it’s really cold out. Where I live, this is half the year!
If I’m at work, I will vent to a friend if I can; otherwise, I hold it in until I’m in my car on the way home. In the car, I will tell off the person I’m mad at! I just say exactly what I feel out loud where no one can hear me but myself. Both of these things help to calm me down somewhat, but there are problems with each.
If I vent to someone, I feel guilty for unloading my problems on that person; I often feel as though I lean on a few good friends too much, expecting them to listen to my problems. I apologize every time, but they always say it’s OK (of course – they’re my friends; but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it really is OK). However, talking to a friend helps because usually that person has a different perspective on the situation or at least will provide me some sympathy. I sometimes worry that if I do this too often, that person will no longer want to be my friend. So I try to keep my venting to myself as much as possible.
Telling someone off in my car is good therapy, perhaps; but because there isn’t anyone there to hear me, I sometimes have trouble calming down with no one else to soothe my ego. If I’m really angry because of something unjust that someone has done to me, telling the person off in my mind sometimes gets me even more riled up!
In the end, the best thing is WRITING. I have filled many pages of my journal (just as I did as a kid except now I use a computer) with descriptions of situations that have happened at work or at home that either made me angry or depressed. If I’m at work and simply have to write a rant, I put in a flash drive and save the rant to the flash drive so that there is absolutely no record of it on my workplace computer that someone could possibly find later.
These written rants are probably the most therapeutic means I have to deal with my anger; plus they provide a record that I can look back at later, when I have a calmer perspective on the situation. Sometimes, after reading them, I feel embarrassed about how ridiculous I sounded! But that’s OK – it’s my private journal and that’s what journals are for. These angry writings may provide fodder for a story I’m writing someday; when the character I’ve created gets angry, I have plenty of examples of what that’s like!!