How to Regulate Anger in One Simple Step
Updated: Mar 18
In this post, I'd like to tell you about an effective way to regulate your anger by simply changing your posture.
Have you ever found yourself doing something unhelpful when feeling angry? Of course you have, you're a human being. And I imagine that there will also be lots of times when anger has motivated you to do something really important, maybe to take a stance or stand up for someone, or to address an unhealthy situation.
Anger is a powerful and important emotion that motivates us to act when we sense a threat, including when important goals are blocked. It is part of our fight or flight response. It makes us feel alert and pay attention to what is going on. It can motivate us to take important action against injustice and plays a huge role in creating movements that seek equality and social change. In the past it was vital for survival.
Despite all its positive functions, anger can also can lead us to react in ways we later regret and move us away from being the person we want to be.
Would you like to feel more control when anger levels rise?
The "Willing Hands" posture is a simple strategy from Dialectical Behaviour Therapy that can be very effective for regulating feelings of anger. We know that the mind and body are connected. This means that changing our posture and body chemistry can have a big impact on how we feel.
The "willing hands" posture involves opening up the hands, with slightly curved fingers. You can do this when sitting, by putting your upturned hands on your lap, or when standing, by relaxing the arms, letting them hang at your sides, and allowing the hands to gently open. It's a strategy you can use during an interaction with others ( e.g. in a meeting or difficult conversation) if anger is not helping you to be effective. It's the opposite posture to standing with muscles tensed ready to fight or flee, and in this way it helps to activate the calming, parasympathetic nervous system.
It's very effective for anger and it also works for other emotions too.
Test it out to see if it works for you.