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Let's get into anger in our #YearOfEmotions! Anger seems to be much more confusing than fear or many other emotions and usually when we run workshops it’s difficult for people to say what is the message behind it. And the message is simple - somebody or something crossed your boundaries. Anger is a strong impulse which helps us to protect our boundaries and react immediately. Anger gives us energy, power and focus to act and can be a very useful thing, if we know how to deal with it. Unfortunately, our relationship with anger is often not very mature. In our culture anger is demonized and many people (especially women) are told to not show anger, to not feel it; on the other hand, anger or even aggression is seen as something “natural” for men, and that often leads him to feel anger as an umbrella emotion covering many others and the only way to deal with problems. Anger is and should be “natural” and welcome for everyone as without it we may not be able to recognise our boundaries and set limits. Anger, as any other emotions, is neither good nor bad, it is just a messenger with something important to tell us. What can be definitely good or bad, though, is what we do with anger. Any kind of aggression or violence - physical, emotional, psychological, economical - it’s obviously not acceptable and requires immediate reaction. 

What works then? Generally speaking, anger is useful to say no when we need to say no, but it’s not a good advisor in more complex conversations. It’s better to wait a bit, catch some distance, and then come back to the person to discuss what happened, express our feelings, needs and requests. Similarly to fear, what helps me (Anna) is to breathe, come back to my body and feel the anger fully, to see what it is that it wants to tell me. I have to say that our relation with anger (both mine and Andrea's) is more complex and complicated than our relation to fear. We struggle with it in different ways. I (Anna) can be very good in setting boundaries in certain situations and totally suck in others. I usually don’t scream and keep anger under control even if it buzzles inside me. I wish to be more able to take it out, which could be done for example by beating a pillow, finding a safe space to scream or doing some energetic sport. Similarly to any other emotion, our reaction to anger may be connected to past event and past emotions which we still haven't given enough attention to, so it’s important to breath and check what is it that we can learn and understand before any sharp reactions (of course beside those which are crucial for keeping us safe). 

Anger can be a huge drive for change and in fact many changemakers we interviewed told us that they started to act because of anger - they couldn’t stand the situation as it was, witnessing injustice, discrimination, lack of opportunities for certain groups of people, etc. Feeling anger from time to time is important and if you think you never do it may mean you need some more professional help. Anger is there, it does influence your body, your behavior and your life, whether you see it or not. And if not taken care properly it can bring a lot of damage, diseases, blockage of potential, unhappiness and feeling of not being in control over your own life.

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