bed, a sofa. Be sure you will not hurt yourself as you hit the object.
Some people prefer to hit with an object rather than their fists, using a
tennis racket to hit a bed works well.
The idea is to drain out or use up the anger (or other emotion), so
that in the end you are calm and more able to cope. So, go into a
rage. Shout, scream, cry, snarl, growl, cuss, shake your fists, kick,
bite, and above all hit and hit and hit, until you are exhausted--
completely drained of hate. Do it again and again, after you catch your
breath, if necessary to feel the anger has been completely discharged.
Another approach is to throw a temper tantrum. Lie on your back
and kick the floor or the bed with your feet and hit the floor with your
fists. Shake your head and yell, "No, no, no, hell no! I hate you, you
SOB." Don't stop until you are drained.
Some people do hard physical work or play a sport, like tennis,
when they are angry. If it works, that's fine. But many of us have to
consciously express our anger while working or playing for it to do any
good. Just hitting balls or smashing bricks with a sledge hammer or
scrubbing a floor doesn't help. If we think of smashing the person's
head we are mad at, as we pulverize bricks or scrub a floor, that might
help. Remember: this is never to encourage violence to another
person, it is to drain us of anger and, thus, prevent violence.
Other people, often women, aren't as comfortable with physical
aggression as they are with verbal aggression. An alternative is to
launch a vicious verbal attack on a cassette recorder. In a loud,
screaming voice spew out all the hate you can: brutal threats, nasty
name-calling, cussing, dirty words, suspicions, destructive wishes, or
whatever you naturally say to yourself when you are mad (don't try to
cuss if that isn't natural for you). The idea is to verbally aggress more
vigorously and longer than usual, so you are emptied and ready to
handle the situation more rationally. (It will be enlightening to listen to
the recording a day or two later, looking for the irrational ideas
underlying your anger).
If you are sad, disappointed, or have the "blahs," try crying it out.
Find a quiet, private place. Start remembering everything that has
gone wrong. Let yourself feel deeply disappointed and sad. Cry without
holding back. Moan and breathe heavily; tell yourself how awful it is.
Talk to yourself about how bad you feel, how crushed, how depressed,
how gloomy. Cry until you are cried out.
A few people release their anger in writing or in humor. Abraham
Lincoln recommended writing down your negative feelings--then
throwing the paper away and in the process reducing your anger. Most
of the time it would be a mistake to show your "poison pen letters" to
anyone, certainly not to the target. On the other hand, I have found it
helpful to write a poem or a note to someone when I was sad. If one is
in the midst of a terrible personal trauma, like the breaking up of a