incredible-marketing Arrow

Anger is a secondary emotion, created out of the fight, flight or freeze response inherent in being a human. Evolution gave us the amygdala which helps us anticipate a threat and prepare our body to make a necessary move. During the holiday season, we can feel on edge and in that state of physical as well as mental anticipation all the time. Whether we are nervous about alcohol, seeing family members who have hurt us,  being in a room full of crowded people, or having to manage gift shopping, it is easy to be in an elevated state. When the amygdala is activated, we experience a higher heart rate, dilated pupils, salivation, and sweating. We are waiting for something to happen and when it does, we are prone to snapping, outbursting, or just flat out letting it all out- often on someone unsuspecting and undeserving.

Having heightened awareness, irritability, and edginess during the holidays can be caused by past experiences with trauma. Experiencing anger as a response to this heightened state is common. Anger is an expression of fear and sadness which have gotten lost in the electrical communication of the nervous system. Problematically anger has to be released to be helped. Research has found that venting your anger as a form of release does not help at all, but makes things worse. Finding the right way to acknowledge, confront, and calm your anger while validating your emotional experience is key to effectively managing your emotions and making the best of the holiday season.

Take some deep breaths

If your anger reaches a boiling point, being told to take a few deep breaths can be extra infuriating. However, the person giving you the advice offers a scientifically proven suggestion. Taking some deep breaths activates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping the entire system calm down.

Tune into some tunes

You can’t talk about it, you can’t explain it, you might not even be sure what it is. Being in recovery from trauma, addictions, or other related mental health issues, you are actively working on your emotional intelligence. Being in a state of anger, however, can throw your emotional vocabulary out the window. Music therapy is helpful to cope with anger because it can give you the words you cannot find- how you feel, how it is going to get better. Music can transport and calm you in a way nothing else can.

Go for a walk

Anger sends adrenaline and cortisol coursing through your body, which are meant to help you take action. Unfortunately, sometimes that action turns into a freeze, or a total breakdown. Going for a walk can help move that energy and help your body make use of it rather than trying to cope with it by stuffing it.