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Like many of you, I’m sure, I struggle with anger. I get angry about all kinds of things from the most harmless of inconveniences to the imminent peril the Earth faces from pollution and overconsumption, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s a secret I don’t like to talk about because it is reminder that I have a choice to act on my anger or not. Are you ready to know my secret? I can feel the exact moment when my anger threatens to take control. My therapist has told me this physiological response is a warning sign often precipitated by high amounts of strong negative emotion (anger, hate, rage) and should be considered a last warning before one is liable to do things which they will regret later.


“But Jamie, if you can feel that moment of anger, why not just stop there?”


Why not, indeed.


The truth is that I like how I feel at that moment and the many moments thereafter as I come down from that feeling, that high I get from being so angry that I lose my sense of rationality. It’s a powerful rush of chemicals flowing through my body and at that moment I feel invincible. Stopping would be easy if I didn’t feel so amazing when I’m angry. The problem is that once I’ve given myself over to this feeling and the anger that brought it on, I almost always act contrary to my better judgment and in that moment feel good about doing it too. All the spite, reckless malice, and rage that can be drawn up from the depths of my quiet soul come to bare on the people who have the misfortune of receiving my wrath. I will say and do anything to hurt them when I am high on anger, even though my better instincts tell me not to hurt anyone.


When we give in to anger, we become incapable of seeing the danger we are in. We cannot see the harm we do to ourselves and to others. It’s not as though we are totally out of control, because we can stop any time we want to. The problem is both that it feels good and that because it feels good, it will always be easier to choose anger the next time you feel that moment come upon you. It’s a lot like a drug that way and that’s why, as Jedi, we should be ever vigilant. Every time we give in, it becomes easier to say yes to anger the next time.


I don’t have a step-by-step guide for you in coping with anger, but I will tell you a few things that I do to abate the anger rather than give in to it:


  1. Muscle Relaxing Exercise: part of the moment of anger feeling is physiological and therefore you can combat that with a physical exercise. I like use a muscle relaxing exercise where you work your way from your head to your toes. Tense up each muscle in a certain part of your body, hold for 15 seconds, and then release.

  2. Why Are You Mad?: write in a journal about why you are angry. Where did it come from? When did it start? Are you still mad? It might be good to do this exercise both during the time you’re angry and a day or two later so you can reflect on that anger. It’s also okay to skip the during part of the exercise if you feel as though writing about it while you are still angry is only making the anger worse.

  3. Meditation: releasing everything and focusing on the present, the moment you are in, can help you see reality and in some cases may help you let go of the anger you’ve been holding on to.


I do not claim nor can I pretend to have it all figured out. I don’t win every time I face the temptation of anger and neither will you, but the more aware you are of that anger and the moment you feel that anger building inside of you, the more likely you are able to identify when to step away and find things to sublimate that anger.


May the Force be with you all,