Anger Energy

Anger has been the topic of study in the field of psychology for a long time yet most research tends to be connected with behaviors that are identified as aggressive, hostile, or violent.  This research acknowledges the underlying fact related to anger that elicits a "full body" human response with elevated cortisole, adrenaline, and other bio-chemical factors. 

Viewed in a pessimistic way - this energy is an unfortunate byproduct that requires de-escalation and/or suppression.  Approached from a more positive perspective, this energy can be a renewable resource for the individual.  AWT wants to invite you to consider your anger energy as power to use as you think most appropriate in every foreseeable situation.

Anger energy has been researched in infants as well as adults and we know that this emotion can result in high intensity responses.  The first step in learning how to use your anger energy is to identify how it manifests for you on a physical level.  Where in your body do you "feel" this energy?  Is it a flash of heat around your neck?  A warming sensation in your belly?  Maybe you feel tension in your lower back or leg muscles?

Energy Processing Sheet

1. When I was angry at a   /10 during the event the energy (“felt like” or "was located" on your body....)



 2. At the time of the anger event I (what did your body "do" - were you shaking? pacing? crying?)                                                    



 3. When I am angry about the event now I (what is this energy like now?  Are you feeling it differently in your body?              



 4. This anger energy reminds me of a similar response when I am (sad? happy? lonely? a previous experience/scenario?)


 5. Other people in my family experience anger energy (the same?  differently? how might this connect to how you respond?)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


Working with your Counselor

Your counselor can help you to identify the physical aspect of your anger energy using various techniques and interventions that are associated with different theoretical approaches. In the meantime, you can spend some time on your own by recalling an anger event, ranking that anger level, and then recording the physical response that you experience. This anger energy can be overwhelming at times so it might be helpful to recall a small anger event that elicited a low anger ranking to begin.

When you are ready - see how you might complete the Energy Processing Sheet below.

Energy Processing Sheet.pdf

Practicing Energy Storage

A unique AWT idea is to practice storing and retrieving anger energy.  Freud referred to this practice as an Ego Defense Mechanism with only one option (Sublimation) as a way to channel negative energy into positive actions.  With time and practice, we can match our anger energy responses with activities that require energy and use it accordingly.  Don't feel like washing your car that may score an 8/10 on the amount that would be required? 

AWT posits that you might be able to gain that needed energy by recalling an equally matched anger event.  This perspective leads us to consider practice of ranking not only our anger but our chores and other energy-using activities. Why not give it a shot?  The next time someone cuts you off in traffic - take a moment to give it an anger number and then recall that event later when you have need of extra energy.  

Next Step - Identification

Now that you have taken time to consider an anger event, specific aspects of your anger, and the energy that comes with this emotion - you are ready to move onto the next step of Identification in the FOA model.