5 Constructive Ways to Combat Anger

by Charise Rohm Nulsen

Today’s guest post is by Amanda of Let’s Take the Metro. Amanda is a fellow volunteer on the Natural Parents Network team and I particularly love Amanda for her awesome sense of humor. Apparently, she has anger issues though, so watch out! (Just kidding!)

Anger is a perfectly natural emotion to feel at one time or another, though it often has a way of popping up at the most inopportune times. Some of us may attempt to get through our anger by yelling, slamming doors or cabinets or making snide remarks. Those options, however, can be frightening to children and often make us feel worse or guilt ridden when we were looking to feel better. I have been known to have a temper myself, but I have found many ways to combat that surge of emotion in ways that are actually productive in two ways: my anger dissipates and I actually get something done. Depending on your circumstances, some of these might be more feasible for you than others, but at one point or another, you will probably have the option to try all of them out for anger relief. I have found that with each task, as I finish it, I have calmed down sufficiently enough that I can speak in a normal tone and move forward from whatever prompted my anger in the first place.

1. Mow the Lawn – There’s nothing like pushing a heavy piece of loud machinery to take your mind off being angry. Much like people lift weights to release tension, I have found that pushing and pulling a lawn mower around all my (previous) yard’s corners really helps get that anger out. Plus, the loud noise from the mower often helps to fully drown out my thoughts and focus on exactly what I’m doing. If my thoughts aren’t drowned out completely, I can usually work through them enough to return to civilization as a much more peaceful person.

2. Do the Dishes – This has been one of my favorite anger releasers for a number of years, though I’m not quite sure why. There have been times when I was so angry I could have literally thrown something through a wall, but instead of doing that, I got up and approached a sink-full of dirty dishes and allowed time and work to lessen those feelings. You can literally scrub away your anger and when you’re finished, hopefully you’ll have time for something fun (no longer needing to worry about those never-ending dishes…).

clean dishes

Get your anger out - and get clean dishes!

3. Weed – I know this is something people often suggest, but they do it for good reason! Pulling, yanking, stomping and ripping at those weeds can really do your body good. If you don’t have any weeds, go to a neighbor’s house and pull theirs. I’m sure they won’t mind. You can really take out a lot of aggression on those invaders, with your hands, a pair of clippers or a machete. Your garden or yard will look immaculate, unless of course you never get angry.

4. Throw Stuff Away – There’s nothing like a good slam dunk into the garbage can to make me feel better. Go through your cabinets, refrigerator, freezer and pantry and find anything that is expired that you can chuck into the wastebasket. You can even go through a pile of papers and rip the ones you don’t need into shreds, then crumple them into a ball and practice free throws. Throwing things away can be a satisfying experience, especially when you envision each item as the physical manifestation of your anger. Then, when you’re done throwing things away, you have thrown away your anger. Let it be.

5. Go for a Walk – Or a jog, or a sprint. Moving your whole body in rhythm with the speed of your thoughts can often help slow your thoughts down and bring you back to a nice, even pace. All you really need to do is walk quickly around the block and you might even find that by the halfway point, your anger has subsided. Of course, if you’re still angry by the time you’ve reached your house, you might want to walk around again.

As I said before, I know that not all of these options can work all the time, but each one has its place, especially if your partner is available to watch your children while you engage in the anger-releasing activity. When you have finished doing whichever one best suits you at the moment, feel free to pat yourself on the back for avoiding an angry outburst and getting something done at the same time.

Amanda is a wife and mother leading a reasonably green lifestyle and constantly trying to teach her children to do the same. She is an avid learner who loves to read if she finds the time. She enjoys cooking and sewing and sharing her favorite recipes. She blogs at Let’s Take the Metro. You can also find her on Facebook.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Momma Jorje August 2, 2011 at 11:02 am

I have had a tendency to clean when I’m angry. It isn’t a conscious decision, I just DO IT. However, my ex-husband knew this about me and used it against me. One moving day, he got me angry so I’d work harder and faster. Then he TOLD me that he had done that. It made me so much angrier! Plus, I then had the turmoil of whether to work harder (and be doing exactly what he wanted) or to fight that natural urge and slow down a job that did need to be done. Ugh.
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2 Amanda @Let's Take the Metro August 2, 2011 at 10:37 pm

That’s awful Horhay! I would never do that to you…. :)


3 Momma Jorje August 4, 2011 at 2:10 am

Good to know! Now I can let my guard down at the get-together this Fall, right? If I get mad on Sunday, I’ll get suspicious! :)
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4 Kelly August 3, 2011 at 6:20 pm

That is terrible! I totally clean things furiously when I’m super pissed – but I guess I should never tell my husband! :)


5 Momma Jorje August 4, 2011 at 2:12 am

Ya know… I’d agree that you shouldn’t tell him. But as I got to know my current husband, I told all of my little quirks. “If you want to get me to do _____, this works.” Even as I said it, I thought “What am I doing?!” It’s like telling someone how to manipulate you!

Anyway, suffice to say that I trust my husband not to take advantage. And so far… so good!
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6 Kelly August 8, 2011 at 9:54 am

lol – that is a good point. :)
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7 Eve August 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm

There are some great ideas here. I think the best thing to do to resolve angry feelings is to walk away and do something else. Nice post!
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8 Amanda @Let's Take the Metro August 2, 2011 at 10:40 pm



9 Jessica | Cloth Diapering Mama August 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I love throwing stuff away when I’m feeling a bit snarky…I try to donate or repurpose before I actually throw anything away, but de-cluttering is always therapeutic for me! great post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to admit though..lol….when I saw WEED, I thought you meant something else!!!!! hehehehe
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10 Amanda @Let's Take the Metro August 2, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Hahahaha! Charise and I had a discussion about that as well. You can totally take it however you feel called.. :) Thanks!


11 Lana @ Dentist West Hollywood August 3, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Amanda -

How funny – the dishes have always been my Go To when I’m feeling angry and I’ve never known why either! It’s good to see that we’re not alone. Have you also tried journaling? Sometimes writing everything down (even if it’s in a word document that I erase later) is really helpful.


12 Amanda @Let's Take the Metro August 3, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I did journal for a while, back in the day, but now every time I pick up a pen and paper someone asks me if she can draw :). I could just write on the walls though…


13 Kelly August 3, 2011 at 6:22 pm

As much as I like yelling, slamming doors and making snide remarks, I can see that these are much better ideas. ;)

Awesome post Amanda! Good to know I’m not alone in furious cleaning when the anger mood strikes. hmm, maybe I should try to get angry more often…
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14 Amanda @Let's Take the Metro August 3, 2011 at 10:13 pm

You can do all those things while cleaning! But I’m not condoning that in any way. :)


15 Bob Lipply@clearwater homes September 26, 2011 at 4:54 am

I don’t think strategy #3 will work for me. Either get a bit noisy and do the dishes, even break some :) if not go for a walk. Seriously, even taking a short walk help me overcome my anger. The best technique to calm down is to keep quiet and talk about it later and sort things out.


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