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Anger – Is It Your Friend?

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When was the last time you lost it? When you just said it like it is? A New York Times article, The Benefits of Blowing Your Top, reported on new research: apparently, expressing yourself can be good for you.

I lost it the other night. I can’t say it felt good at the time. Part of me thought I should keep my mouth shut. But there was that other part of me that needed to speak, and I made a conscious choice to let that part have its say. As I was speaking, I wanted to explode. But I didn’t. I simply explained to the person yelling at me, point by point, why his information was wrong. When I was done, I felt good.

After the man left, the other people at the meeting said, I wish I’d said what you said. We then discussed how speaking angry feelings can be difficult. I know. For the first part of my life I perfected shutting up. If I thought anyone else was going to get angry, I would move to the back of the room. I cowered at any confrontation. But 30 years ago, I finally got fed up with being a wimp. I remember how difficult speaking your feelings can be, and now  I know how liberating speaking your feelings can be.

For 30 years, I have witnessed the price these repressed emotions have on our health and emotional well being. The big things don’t kill us; it’s all the accumulated little emotions we stuff. I have good, resourceful people come to me so tense they are ready to explode. Their blood pressure is off the charts, their backs and/or necks are killing them, and their GI tracks are rebelling against the stress by shutting down.

Repressed emotions become stress, stress becomes tension, tension becomes tightness, and tightness becomes the thick fascia (connective tissue), which compresses joints and organs. You are walking around in a body shrink-wrapped with emotional stress. When it is socially appropriate to express, you can’t. Your body and your emotions are conditioned to restrain rather to express. More stress builds, more tension is created to hold that stress in – you are doomed.

They are many ways to reverse this process. The simplest is just to start taking risks and speak up. Start speaking your emotional truth. It’s liberating.

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advance Rolfer, www.align.org, 265.8440.

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