Anger – the eye of the storm

Kathy Krugerperspective, yinyang10 Comments

In the eye of the storm everything is calm, clear, silent, still – how do we get this peace, this clarity in our lives without the fury that surrounds it?

We’ve been having some savage storms lately – what about that poor guy just standing on the beach beside his son when he was struck by lightning. Here one moment, gone the next second – his boy recovering in hospital although not really recovering, because how could you ever recover from that?

I’m fascinated by storms – so much pent up energy, all that electricity, wild winds, lashing rain, belting hail. It’s somehow comforting to know that nature gets that angry – my fury can’t be ‘unnatural’ after all.

Black and blue Southport

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Nature sure can rage. Moments before it will be calm and peaceful and then minutes later it can be all rainbows, sunny skies, gorgeous sunsets and blessed relief from the humidity – as if in apology for the devastation unleashed.

Mother Nature knows how to put on a spectacular yin yang show!

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Yinyangmother sure knows how to yell with storm-like ferocity. Loud, frustrated, angry, yelling – instantly regretting my raised voice and harsh words. I can be calmly spoken and measured one minute then explode the next (in other words I’m human, although I do feel like I’m an expert in this area, sadly). My Masters of yelling compliments my PhD in impatience nicely (or not nicely at all).

I may not have any New Year resolutions as such, but I do want to yell less (or not at all really, but that may be too hard).  I could say I want to give up yelling, and I do, but I’m focusing on cultivating calm.

Here are a few techniques I’m trying to a) not let the storm of anger build into cyclonic proportions, b) release the energy of frustration in less furious ways and c) find that ‘eye of the storm’ calmness in the heat of the moment and release that anger without exploding.

You might find these useful and I’d love to hear your tactics for managing storm-like anger.

1. Time out – when I can feel the tension build I’m trying to leave the situation temporarily – so rather than yelling at the kids to stop something or do something (that I’ve asked them to do several times already) I take my energy away and release it through conscious breathing not harsh words. I find it very difficult to stay in the situation and do this, but sometimes I manage to. When I return the kids have either followed my request, in which case I’m happy, or not followed it, in which case I can make it again more calmly.

2. Remembering – I try to focus on the regret of anger in the past, rather than the release of it in the present. I know that the feelings of regret are far worse than the temporary relief of letting the anger out.

3. Sitting or squatting down – we generally yell from on high – whether lording it over our kids or trying to eyeball our partner from a superior position. If I sit down, the physical act of yelling is curtailed – I may still call out a repeated request in an annoyed tone or make a snide comment in an argument, but my voice won’t reach the octave of a yell or a scream. When I bend down to my kids level, particularly when I look into my almost 4-year-old’s eyes, I can’t help but calm my voice and wonder how I could ever be angry with him.

4. Time for self – if I’ve had calm time for myself – yoga, meditation, writing or simply sitting back with a cuppa or wine and appreciating the view, I can more easily summon this feeling of calm when things rile me. The less calm we have in our daily lives, as part of our routine, the shorter our fuses are.

5. Release anger safely – storms are part of nature and frustration and anger are part of life. At the end of the day it is all the same energy. It is impossible and unnatural to feel peaceful all the time, but if we channel our frustrations into bursts of exercise, or writing (even if it comes out in vitriol on a page it is better that it’s written, not yelled out), or some other activity like cooking (think banging pots and pans) then we will have dealt with our anger in a much more positive way than yelling and screaming. I reckon crying can be a legitimate release too.

Another thing – the storm always passes. There’s always a chance to be better next time.

yellow storm clouds

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Love to know your anger management tips in the comments below.

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Kathy KrugerAnger – the eye of the storm

10 Comments on “Anger – the eye of the storm”

  1. Eleise

    Great post Kathy. I used to really struggle with anger and yelling, now I realise that it happens when I am overwhelmed. Taking time out is the best medicine. When I was married to my ex, I yelled a lot, too much and when I left I promised myself I would never go back there. When I start to raise my voice I try to think back to how horrible I felt when I was unhappy and focus on the good things. I rarely yell now but I still get angry sometimes so still working on that one. Great analogy with the storms.

  2. Deb @ home life simplified

    Love this post Kathy – sharing later today. I admit I have never reached my old goal of no yelling (it was unrealistic as you say) but do so infrequently now. Key for me is eating healthy (sugar triggers cranky moods in me) getting rest (ditto overtired mama) and pausing for a few breaths to calm down and think if it is worthy of getting upset about (much of my yelling is really OVERreacting)

  3. Kimberley

    I am a yeller and this is my new years resolution every year – yell less. I am a fan of the deep breaths/taking a break solution. I find my adrenalin kicks in suddenly and severely, so deep breathing seems to settle that quite a bit. Hard to do in the moment, though. Good luck! I’m so with you on this. Kx

  4. Tegan Churchill

    Anger is something I am working on in therapy. I do find myself more aware of it now, aware of how it makes me feel (which is never good) and ways that I can express it positively. One thing that my psych says to me regularly is that all emotions have a purpose and pushing them down only makes things worse. While it may not always be appropriate to react in the moment, letting someone know we are unhappy is both healthy and necessary. I find walking away when I feel my emotions getting overwhelming is the most effective strategy. Then when I’ve calmed down I can explain myself better and get my point across more effectively.

  5. Renee

    Some great tips, Kathy. If I’m feeling really worked up I go to the bathroom and take a few deep breaths. Getting down low helps too. I don’t know why that is, but it works.

  6. Emily

    Great post. That ‘yelling from on high’ gets to me too. Whenever I feel like yelling, I get down to my daughter’s level. It usually dissipates and we talk instead.

  7. Have a laugh on me

    I’m really making an effort to get down to their level, figuratively and literally! WAY less yelling needed her, a walk outside, counting to 10, leaving the room, all things I’m working on right now! Aren’t these storms vicious yet so amazing. Not long til your holiday now, UBER JEALOUS xx

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