I have read that people should express angry feelings in their imagination. Is it true? I think that if a person has an issue with someone, it is better to resolve it by getting it out in the open.
Resolving problems with others is always worthwhile. However, getting it out in the open by letting loose with your angry feelings is not going to resolve the issue. In fact, you are more likely to escalate the division between you and the other person.
Your question suggests that you are one of those people who express their anger when it arises. And you probably feel better in the short term for having done so. But don’t kid yourself that you have resolved anything. All you have done is let a bit of steam out of the pressure cooker. You haven’t addressed the underlying cause of your anger.
It is normal and natural to feel angry. We feel our anger physically. If you take the time to observe the surge of this energy within your body, you will notice certain muscles respond. Blood flow increases. The arms, hands, shoulders, upper back or jaw and sometimes the chest prepare for action.
You do not have to act. The energy flowing to these parts of the body is caused by a biological defence mechanism that comes into play when you feel threatened. Underneath the anger is always fear. Most of our fears that provoke anger are not caused by any physical threat. Usually you react because you perceive your self-esteem is threatened.
You can feel angry without acting angrily. In this case, no harm is done. When you act from anger, you alienate others.
Using your imagination when you feel angry is actually very clever. It is a way of feeling and expressing your anger without doing any damage. Emotional damage alienates others and actual damage can land you in jail.
The body does not know the difference between what is happening in reality and what you imagine. You can easily test this.
Remember a time recently when you were pressured, misled or disappointed. Notice how you feel. Your body will respond to this memory.
Some people repress anger. This is not healthy. Adrenalin is released into their body but they ignore it. They think anger is wrong. Their muscles have to tighten to repress the feelings. Over time, this takes a toll on the body. Increased blood pressure or nighttime teeth grinding may be symptoms of repressed anger.
The intelligent and civilised way to deal with anger is to utilise your imagination. Doing this you avoid the pitfalls of either repressing anger or expressing it uncontrollably.
Recognise the presence of anger in your body. Acknowledge it and take responsibility for dealing with it appropriately. Imagine expressing your anger to the other person in any way you want. You can be verbal or violent, it doesn’t matter when it is all in the mind. Do it until you feel exhausted.
Once you have released your anger, you can think a lot more clearly. Then you can decide if you need to talk about it with the other person. If you do, you can tell them calmly how you feel.
Being composed when you express your underlying feelings is more likely to resolve the problem than unleashing an explosion of anger at them.