There are three ways you may encounter anger in relation to your body.
Anger as a Wake-Up Call
When you begin to awaken to the toxic messaging about your body that you’ve been inundated with since birth, you might feel pissed off. As you begin to realize all the sneaky ways you’ve been made to feel ashamed of your body, you might feel resentment for the systems that have oppressed you. And when it becomes clear that every woman you know has received the same messaging and sometimes regurgitates it in an attempt to be helpful, your head may want to explode.
This anger is alerting you that you are ready for a change in your relationship with your body. You are no longer willing to be complacent in spreading the message that tells women and girls that their bodies are projects that must be fixed if they want to belong. Your legacy is going to be different.
Anger at Someone Who Hurt You
Your body can hold onto hurts, both big and small, and you can expect anger to arise when you begin an open dialogue with your body and start talking about some of those hurts.
Feeling anger toward a person who hurt you can be a healthy way to reclaim your body. Sometimes you may be angry at an entire system that has traumatized you. Acknowledging the anger is an important part of the process.
You can feel anger at someone without making them a villain. And also sometimes, your anger may need you to name the villain who traumatized you.
This type of anger may alert you to buried trauma. If you’re aware of it now, you may be ready to heal it. Or at least heal a part of it. Get any help/support you need to do this.
Anger at Yourself
You may also uncover anger at your body. That needs to be acknowledged too. Whether you’re angry that your body hasn’t cooperated when you’ve tried to change her or you’re resentful of illnesses or injuries you’ve experienced/are experiencing, let yourself be mad.
Being honest with your body is one way you begin to create trust with her.
So tell her that you’re angry about the time she . . .
Or you’re furious that she . . .
How to Move Anger Through Your Body
Anger can be used as fuel on your journey to body acceptance. This doesn’t mean that you have to stay angry all the time or carry around anger.
Instead, you can draw on its power when you want to fire the physician who tells you the cure for your ingrown toenail is to lose weight. Or when you want to tell mean Aunt Mildred that you don’t need to have large breasts to nurse a baby. Or when you want to walk away from the perky neighbor trying to sell you cellulite cream.
There are times when the anger is too much to hold, though. Here are six ways you can move the anger through your body so you can process it and move on. Combine them for even greater effect.
1. Blast angry music.
This is a useful strategy when you don’t have the words for your rage. Christina Applegate’s character in the hit show Dead to Me sits in her car and plays ear-melting heavy metal thrasher tunes to process her anger. And in the book Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, a character who looks very put together on the outside walks around playing angry tunes through her earbuds all day as the only way she can cope with her rage.
2. Move your body.
Run, dance, punch. Stomp, kick, shake.
Let your body take the lead and move with the intention of processing some anger. Change the intensity of your movement as you feel called to.
3. Scream. Growl. Howl.
Use your voice to release your anger. Scream for as loud and as long as you can. Make guttural noises. Let your anger rumble out of your mouth.
If you’re worried that your screams will scare someone, grab a pillow to muffle the noise. Or sit in your car with the windows rolled up.
4. Write the angry letter.
Direct your pent-up frustration into a letter that you’re under no obligation to send, which means you’re under no obligation to soften your tone or be polite.
5. Let the tears flow.
Tears often accompany anger. Rather than shutting down your tear factory, unleash those tears of rage. Crying does not weaken your anger. It releases it.
6. Throw coconuts.
Seriously. Buy a hairy brown coconut (or seven). Find a spot outside where the ground is hard or you can be on concrete/asphalt. Hold the coconut and channel all the anger you feel into it. Imagine it sloshing around inside the coconut. Then slam that coconut onto the ground. If you have some big pieces, you can pick them up and slam them down too.
Clean up is easy, and you don’t have to worry someone will get hurt if they step on a piece.
I first learned this healing strategy from Tosha Silver.
7. Rage Rooms
Find a local rage room that will allow you to break stuff and then clean up your mess.
When I was trying to process the overwhelming anger I felt after excavating some trauma I had unsuccessfully tried to bury for years, I went to a rage room. It was a long, narrow room with a concrete floor and cinderblock walls. They gave me a box of breakable items to throw. Plus, I had a bat and golf clubs to pound on an old windshield, a punching bag, old tires, and a crash test dummy. I blasted angry tunes over the sound system and raged. It was incredibly cathartic.
Benefit of Releasing Anger
Anger is a powerful emotion, but you don’t have to be afraid of it. Finding a way to release your anger so that you don’t lash out at others or harm yourself will make a way for you to move forward on the body-acceptance path.