WU Student Counselling: Anger as a driver for change
Poor grades, fellow students who don’t hand in their work packages on time, or waiting list place 200 in the desired lecture. Student life (unfortunately) often offers enough reasons to be angry. Do you wish you the annoyances in your daily life were less? It’s understandable to want to have as few unpleasant feelings as possible in your daily life. But what is this emotion of anger good for anyway? And how can you use it for more clarity and determination?
Anger – this is how it often shows up in our lives
Anger from a body language perspective is an emotion that tells me that something external doesn’t suit me. My body is saying No to something. Since we haven’t really learned to let this energy flow freely within our bodies – which would allow us to clearly identify what exactly is bothering us and find an appropriate course of action – we mostly tense up (unnecessarily) and try to not feel the anger. After a day with some stressful situations and annoyances, it may happen that we feel shoulder and neck tension, our back hurts or we end up with a queasy feeling in our gut.
This unpleasant state, which may happen in connection with thought patterns related to of dissatisfaction, self-doubt or blame, is something we naturally want to get rid of as quickly as possible.
It is a good thing to not ignore anger. Recognizing it as a signal from our body that we don’t need, like or tolerate something is useful. In this respect, anger is not primarily intended for judging another person or situation, but an energy that can bring us clarity and provide the necessary impetus for action to stand up for our needs and desires with determination.
Reaction vs. Response
In learning to deal with anger in a healthy way, it is important to distinguish between reactive patterns (limiting, unconscious and automatic reactions) and adequate responses (where we choose form several options) to an external circumstance.
In order to use your emotional compass well and interpret your own body language constructively, it is helpful to pay attention to and give space to the uncomfortable sensations in your body that an emotion may evoke rather than ignore or push them away. In practical terms, this means that when you notice yourself getting angry in a situation, it is good to breathe consciously, relax, and give space to the sensations in your body, instead of tensing up and trying to control the anger.
If you’d like to learn how to discover a creative and healthy way to manage uncomfortable feelings, you can participate in Student Counseling’s workshops in May.
Emotional Self-Management Workshops
In May, the Student Counselling Program is offering two workshops on Emotional Self-Management. In this setting, you can learn with simple and effective embodiment exercises for emotional self-regulation and work with situations from your everyday life to let go of old reactive patterns and discover new courses of action using your emotional compass.