Things to do to Express Anger Safely

Hint: One should feel better, calmer, and more peaceful after expressing anger in one or more of these ways. Sometimes the body feels very tired. Breathing deeply while doing any of these things is recommended. Focus is important.

Punch a pillow.

Hit a mattress with a tennis racket. Pound clay.

Tear magazines.

Have a purposeful temper tantrum. Squash a piece of paper and throw it.

Draw a face of someone you’re mad at and jump on the paper, or tear it up, scrunch it and throw it.

Kick a can. Stomp on aluminum cans. Squeeze a towel.

Throw a wet washcloth against the wall in the bathtub. Talk into a tape recorder about your angry feelings.

Write about your angry feelings.

Write all the bad words you can think of.

Write a letter to the person you are mad at (but don’t mail it). Scream. Scream in the shower. Scream into a pillow.

Sing very loud in an angry way. Beat on a drum.

Do an angry dance to music. Growl into a mirror. Make faces.

Tape the bottom of your shoe with the name of person you are mad at and walk around.

Chew gum—imagine you are biting the person. Or bite a washcloth. Throw rocks into the ocean, or other safe place.

Throw ice cubes at a wall (and yell and scream).

Stuff a pillowcase with grass, draw a face on it, and hit it. Hit a tin trashcan with a baseball bat.

Throw balloons filled with water.

Collect twigs and sticks and break them.

Run or other physical activity while focusing on the anger.

Buy dishes at a thrift show and break them in a safe place. Or put them in a paper bag and hit with a hammer.

Pound nails into something—(watch your fingers.) Eat a carrot or an apple in an angry way.

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Violet Oaklander, PhD.

Violet Oaklander was the author of the books Windows to Our Children: a Gestalt Therapy Approach to Children and Adolescents (now in 17 languages), and Hidden Treasure: A Map to the Child’s Inner Self (now in 7 languages), as well as several journal articles, book chapters, and audio and video recordings on psychotherapeutic work with children. She earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, a Master of Arts in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling, a Master of Science in Special Education with emotionally disturbed children, and is a certified Gestalt Therapist.

Dr. Oaklander’s unique approach to working with children, which combines Gestalt Therapy theory, philosophy, and practice with a variety of expressive techniques, has won international recognition. She recieved a lifetime achievement award from the Association of Play Therapy, U.S. as well as numerous other awards for her contribution to the mental health field. In February of 2012 she was honored and awarded by the Edna Reiss-Sophie Greenberg Chair at the Reiss-Davis Child Study Center in Los Angeles.

Dr. Oaklander traveled extensively in the United States as well as throughout the world giving training seminars on her approach to working with children and adolescent. For 27 years she conducted a highly successful two-week training program drawing people to California from all over the world. In addition, she was a regular instructor for many years with the extension programs of the University of California campuses in Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara and San Diego, and the Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Dr. Oaklander grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and lived in Miami; New York City; Denver; Albany; and Long Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Santa Barbara, California. After 21 years in Santa Barbara, Dr. Oaklander moved to Los Angeles to live near her son and daughter-in-law in her retirement. She was married for 26 years to Harold Oaklander, a licensed social worker and Gestalt therapist (deceased). Together, they had three children: Mha Atma S. Khalsa (Arthur), Michael (deceased), and Sara.