It’s 7am and my 2 year old is crying on the floor in the kitchen. My 4 year old stomped off to her room yelling that she hates me. No one has slept well in days. My husband, hearing the ruckus from our bedroom, calls out “just pick her up, babe.” And I totally lose it. “WHAT THE F*** DO YOU THINK I’VE BEEN TRYING TO DO??!!” I bellow at FULL volume. As if I hadn’t been doing all of the things you’re supposed to do, saying all the right things, holding space for their big feelings, staying calm, offering support, all the while exhausted and barely holding it together. Enraged, I push the door against the wall with force and unleash a primal scream.

I bet you wouldn’t have guessed that the emotion I struggle with most is anger. Me, the Reiki Master Teacher. My mother used to say I would have made a great Israeli general; my husband says he swears I must be a fire sign. For much of my life I didn’t realize the sheer power of my inner flame because it always had a healthy outlet. I played ice hockey on the boys’ teams through high school, which meant full-contact, rough and aggressive play. In retrospect that was literally keeping me cool. When I was 18 years old I moved to LA to go to USC and ice hockey didn’t really fit into my new life. Those first couple years at SC without spaces for my inner warrior to thrive, anger reared its head whenever I would drink.

You might be expecting me to write about calming breath techniques. I’m not going to do that. I want to talk about letting it out. Why? Because I think anger gets a bad wrap and I think it’s time to rethink how we understand and process anger.

In a psychology class discussion during my masters at Columbia, an outspoken male student made a comment about anger merely being a lack of spiritual evolution. If we were enlightened enough, we wouldn’t be bothered by this lowly, immature and undeveloped emotion, he claimed. As he spoke, the familiar fire ignited in my chest.

Yes, emotions are human. And, we are here to have a human experience. Anger, just like sadness, joy, fear… is part of what we came here to feel, and to learn from. Emotions are signals, they give us information about the world around us and our place in it. And anger is no different. Anger tells us when something isn’t fair, when boundaries are being crossed, when we’re being taken advantage of. Just like any other emotion, it is a teacher. And just like any other emotion – it’s not inherently bad. Like any other emotion it deserves to be felt and to be released.

I’ve studied emotions from many perspectives – psychological, physiological, energetic. Each emotion has a biochemical footprint, an energetic signature, and a way that we experience all of that in our hearts and minds. Most emotions, when allowed to be experienced completely, run their course in about 60-90 seconds. Our instinctive reactions (like crying when we’re sad or stomping/yelling when we’re mad) literally catalyze chemical reactions to release the energetic charge and return us to balance. However, when we try not to let ourselves feel our feelings, when we hold them in out of fear of looking weak, irrational, unhinged… we trap these chemicals in our body and we hold on to the very energetic charge we are wanting to avoid.

So does this mean you should scream at that guy who cut you off in traffic? Of course not. Yes, take deep breaths if you feel yourself beginning to get agitated. Yes, press pause and go for a walk if you feel yourself getting too heated in an argument. But, in my own experience, once anger has reached a certain threshold, the energy absolutely must be released in order to keep the total system in check. Like an emergency release valve, letting off steam allows your overall state to be returned to balance. I’m not proud that I lost my cool with my girls that morning, but I can tell you that after I exploded, everything fell calm. My girls both ran to me. I apologized to them for losing my temper and for scaring them. I explained why I lost my cool. The energy of the entire home was reset.

So what would a healthy outlet look like? Movement is great for anger. Sound is great for anger. Think of our natural instinctual response when we feel rage (yelling, kicking, punching) and then imagine what elements of that can be done safely, intentionally, and without scaring others.

Want to try a few fun and easy ways to catalyze your anger?

SCREAM into a pillow or in the car as loud as you can.
KARATE CHOP the couch or pillows in the living room or pound meat with force in the kitchen.
GET OUTSIDE to hit tennis balls as hard as you can while letting out your best US Open level grunts.
STREAM The Class by Taryn Toomey in your living room or check out a live class if you’re in NYC or LA.

After losing my temper a couple times this year, I started training in mixed martial arts (MMA). This outlet allows me to channel pent up aggressive energy into intense physical exercise making me stronger, fitter and boosting endorphins. Plus, I feel like a total badass. I’m reminded of how I felt playing hockey. I’m reminded that the fire in me doesn’t make me a bad person, it makes me a warrior. And the light needs warriors too. This is the same energy that drives me to initiate change in the world for the better, to stand up for movements I believe in and speak up for what I know is right. This is the spark that powers me as I pave my own way, a soul-led entrepreneur creating success on my terms. Rather than trying to dampen my fire, I’m going to channel it and use it to fuel me.

Everyone is different and there’s no one right way to manage big feelings. But the important thing is to learn about yourself, your triggers, and your healthy outlets in order to keep yourself in flow. I hope this inspires you to embrace even those “undesirable” emotions and use them to fuel you, too.

And of course, if you want more support as you embark on your journey toward emotional wellbeing, I’d love to guide you. Learn more about transformative energy healing or book a session now.

Grace Emmons

Releasing Anger: Healthy Outlets for the Warrior Within

March 5, 2024

Grace Emmons sits calmly in meditation after releasing anger through healthy outlets

share this post:

  1. Karlie says:

    I love how vulnerable and RELATABLE and real this post is, Grace! Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Jasmin Palmer says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this Grace:)
    Very relatable and helpful .

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