Dealing with anger can lead to growth

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 May, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 May, 2000, 12:00am

When you are angry, go alone to a safe place to release your anger.

The following methods may seem a little crazy or new to you. But it does not matter if you are alone and do not disturb others.

Twist a towel: You may find that hidden anger may appear again. Let the towel soak up your anger.

Tear up scrap paper: Tear up your anger at the same time.

Take it out on cushions: You can kneel on cushions to protect your feet. Put some cushions in front of you and hit them with a tennis racket or your hands. Do not be afraid of the loud sound. The point is not to harm yourself. People who have released their anger feel less like harming or fighting others.

Prepare a speech: Sit in front of an empty chair, imagine the object of your anger is sitting there. Express your anger, expectations and any discoveries from the incident.

Besides physical methods, try some gentler ones. You could write in a diary or a letter. You do not have to post it.

Meditation Meditation is also a good way to release anger.

Breathe in and imagine peace being drawn in. Breathe out and smile. Breathe in again and imagine your heart is absorbing energy from nature. Breathe out and imagine anger flowing away from your heart.

Repeat the sequence for 15 minutes or more.

It is very easy in our culture to suppress anger. People are supposed to be well-educated, polite and modest.

Stricter rules of conduct may be expected for girls. Girls should be gentle. Many religions tell us to be patient and avoid conflict.

People often suppress their anger which may lead to negative effects such as headaches, depression, and even cancer.

Anger has a kind of energy. If we do not face it, it can harm us and others. If we suppress it, we still have to use energy. Then we have less to develop our potential.

Anger also contains other emotions such as sadness, lone liness, low self-esteem and aggression. It is a sign for us to look at our own emotions. Reflection can help us find answers which help us to grow.

Most teenagers find it difficult to communicate sincerely with parents. They may seldom deal with anger towards parents. Traditional teachings say that we must obey our parents and it is a taboo not to treat them well. Teenagers may not be able to admit to themselves that they feel angry with their parents. If one is unaware of one self, one will find it hard to be close to others.

Feeling angry with parents does not mean that we do not respect them.

Many so-called 'rebellious' teenagers subconsciously believe in the taboo about an ger. They want to pre serve their dignity but lack ways to vent anger.

Now when you are angry, you have ways to deal with it. Next time, try not to rebuke others immediately or sup press it. You could say 'I am angry. I need to deal with it' instead of blaming others, saying nothing or feeling guilty. People who can face themselves are really brave. Anger can be a source of personal growth.

Ethical, Civic and Religious Education is sponsored by the Department of Religion at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. To make our column more interactive, we have set up a Web page (, where you can post your ideas, comments and suggestions. There is also a discussion forum, where readers can talk to each other. Send e-mail to Angry feelings are a sign for us to look at our own emotions