I had a friend punch a wall today. I know youíre immediately thinking of a distraught teenage boy, but this was actually a girl. My friend, ďNicoleĒ, punched a wall because she was angry about something another student said to her in the hallway. She was insulted and furious and her solution was to almost break her knuckles by punching a painted cinderblock wall.
Sheís Not Stupid, Sheís Desperate
Before you start spouting wisdom about how dumb that was Ė she knows it is. She knows that punching a wall is a stupid idea, but that didnít stop her from doing it. She punched the wall for a purpose Ė to transfer negative emotion and energy out of her body. Creating pain gave her a new focus. Listening to her and watching her in her anger, you could tell she was about to pop. She knew that if she went off, or hit or did anything to the other student, sheíd be in trouble. So she did what she felt she could in the moment Ė she hit a wall.
Iíve noticed that only some of my friends seem to be able to handle anger correctly. There are plenty of ways to blow off steam without injuring yourself or others, but for whatever reason, they arenít used often enough. I have more than one friend who has punched a wall. I have friends who have gotten into physical fights with siblings or peers. I have friends who have been kicked out of their houses for the sorts of arguments they start with their parents Ė although the incident Iím thinking of was a very extreme example.
Where is this anger coming from and why canít we deal with it?
Dealing with Anger
Teenagers are a hormonal sort. Thatís not to say that our emotions are ruled by hormones, but the whacky body chemistry thing we have going on is often too much for our minds to process. When youíre feeling angry about something, the worst thing you can do is stew on it and let that small flare become a raging bonfire. In some people, the anger ignites almost instantaneously, but in others itís more gradual. You have to meet your anger where it is.
Avoid the situation. Your first step to control the anger is to simply avoid getting angry in the first place. If you know that being around a certain ďfriendĒ makes you tense and you seem to be spun up just listening to her, donít go near her. You donít need to start drama about it, but just sit with different friends or surround yourself with more peaceful people. Avoiding the situation will save you a huge number of headaches (and bruised knuckles.)Plan action ahead of time.
If you know you have a very short fuse, donít wait until youíre bursting with anger to deal with it. By then youíll deal inappropriately. Itís far better to plan your actions ahead of time. Find a teacher or counselor who will let you cool off. Your school might already have a policy in place for giving students a time-out to rest and cool down when they need it. If you feel yourself starting to get steamed, just tell your teacher (since youíve set up the arrangement ahead of time) that you need to take a break and then take one. Itís far better to be mature and proactive than reactionary and irrational.