So you blow your gasket once in a while. Or maybe a little more often than you?d like, throwing, ruining and punching things, and feeling like you?re generally out of control.
If a court orders you to undergo anger management training - well, that's a pretty big tip. You've got issues. For the rest of us, saving ourselves from overindulgence in fury is a major health priority. We are never weaker than when we're angry.
Meditation is great for learning to focus your energy and practise control. So is breathing: before you react to anything, take a few deep ones, inhaling for five and exhaling for five, and see if that pause changes the way you feel. You might be surprised.
What the experts say
"The shamanic journey can help us see from a different perspective and heal wounds. We journey by the use of a drum or another percussion sound that changes our brainwaves into a state where we engage more of our imagination. It is essential to ask a question like 'What is the source of my anger?' The drum, which we call the shaman's horse, carries us into the upper or the lower world, where we access information or healing. We constantly repeat the question and meet spirit helpers who speak to us through our senses. They use metaphor, so we may not understand what they're saying initially, but they ultimately help us understand what we need to heal. It isn't another person causing our anger: they have just triggered something within us that we need to attend to."
MARTHA LUCIER, shamanic practitioner, South River, Ontario
"I would recommend journalling and getting in touch with your inner self through meditation. Anger is associated with the liver, so I would suggest acupuncture and massage to counter the physical effects of anger and stress. I also urge cutting out junk food or doing a nutrient-based detox; some powders have amino acids and vitamins to help detoxification. A castor oil pack can help the liver detoxify, depending on the problem. Sometimes the problem is lymphatic and not necessarily just the liver."
VANESSA LEE, naturopath, Toronto
"Check out your adrenal glands. A lot of anger could mean these are depleted, and then you'd want to use Siberian or American ginseng. Take B vitamins, lavender, lemon balm, camomile, motherwort and St. John's wort. (Check for any interactions with the latter, and consult a practitioner.) Oat straw and oatmeal are great, as are peppermint and spearmint. Heavier-duty herbs are hops, passion flower, wild lettuce and valerian. Make a tea with a mixture of the gentler herbs and the stronger ones and drink it at least three times a day. Calm your life down. Do deep breathing, walk and practise yoga."
MONIKA GHENT, herbalist, Toronto
"There's nothing wrong with anger itself. It's healthy to have that emotion. We help the client see the difference between the emotion and the behaviour so that instead of throwing things and screaming, he or she learns to respect the emotion and deal with it appropriately. We tell clients to take a deep breath, stop, move away from the situation and try to figure out what's going on. In a group setting, people relate to each other's situation and give each other tips. Anger comes from frustration with not getting your needs met. We try to give people tools to feel more empowered so they are able to take action and make changes."
JASON PHELPS, psychotherapist, Montreal