How to work with anger in a healthy way || EDUCATION + DEMO || IreneLyon
16 Comments


– Hey you guys. Irene Lyon here, welcome to this video and welcome to my world and my education. If you’re new to me,
thank you for being here and if you have been
following me for a while, thank you for continuing
to be here and to share. I’ve been getting more and more people that have been saying that they’re sharing these videos with lots of people so I really appreciate that. As you know, I’m all about
nervous system health, nervous system healing and helping people get out
of their survival instincts, their fight, flight and freeze instincts that are usually there
because of early adversity and trauma, abuse, emotional
abuse, verbal abuse. Surgeries that we had when
we were really younger, being born premature. There’s a whole gamut of reasons as to why as adults we get sick
and we end up with things like PTSD, anxiety, chronic illness, chronic pain, fatigue, et cetera. If you wanna check out those other videos that really dive into that, look through the YouTube page and just see what kind
of catches your eye. But for today, I’ve got a special treat. What some of you might know is that I run online programs and this video isn’t
to sell those programs, it’s just to give you context. One of the things that we
work with in these programs, specifically the 12-week program is anger and learning how to omit
healthy aggression and anger in a way that is safe,
constructive and integrative. Meaning it isn’t just
getting put out in a way that isn’t useful for the human system, for the human nerve physiology. And what often happens
in a lot of practices, specially cathartic practices and practice like core energetics is that they ask a person to go into
these emotional reactions whether it’s getting a baseball
bat and hitting something or primal screaming. Things that while it might seem like that’s what you wanna do
to get that anger out, it isn’t integrative, it’s not safe. And in the programs that I do, we spend up to seven weeks building foundation upon foundation
upon foundation. We layer the individual’s capacity, to feel, to sense, to be with intense, intense emotion and sensation because if you think about it, anger is primal and it’s
big and it’s important because it gets our life force energy out in a way that freeze up space and one of the things
that we’ve seen is that things like depression and cancer can be linked to the repression
of anger and emotion, and we need to find a way
to get it out in a safe way. Right now I’m in the tail end of one of my 12-week courses and I had a situation a few weeks ago where I got a little
irritated, I got a little angry and I had an opportunity to film working on this process
in a way that is sound, foundational, safe, healthy but also very primal and very aggressive. I do an exercise with my husband Seth where I squeeze his arm in
a very strong, forceful way and I show you how to do this. Now, the interesting thing is that this was just for my
participants in my program and I asked them, I said, “You think I should share
this with the world? “Will it make sense?” And a few people said
just make sure you post some of the articles, some
of the content, the context and I’m gonna also post some of the other vlogs that go with this. So, if you watch this I will really, I really recommend you consume the at least the two other articles and the other vlog that
I’ve attached to this in a show more section on YouTube if you’re watching this from YouTube. Because doing that and watching this, it’ll be like a mini workshop
on learning about anger and healthy aggression
and why it’s so important to get these emotions out. Our system will get sick
if we hold this stuff in and I was starting to get a little sick. I was starting to get some of the symptoms that I get when I’m really stressed and it was like the tip
off that let me know that I was still holding on to something from this incident that occurred. Enjoy, have a watch and know that this is of a very small part of learning about nervous system health. It’s a small part of rewiring the brain, the nervous system and healing trauma. And it’s a very important part. So if you watch this and you kind of go, oh wow, there’s no way I could do that, then this is really important for you. And if you watch it and you go, oh man, I need to do that and I need to learn how, check out the other resources
that are linked in this video. That’s it for now. Enjoy. Oh, one more thing. The light isn’t that great in this video because we had to do it very impromptu. The time was of the essence so the voice is there, you can see me but it’s not perfectly lit. The focus is a little funny but it will show you exactly what happens when a person decides to work
with their healthy aggression. Irene and Seth and this is a very poorly lit video but I wanted to demonstrate
a way to work with anger, aggression with a person. And it’s kinda timely, I had a situation that
happened last week I was away. Nothing happened to me physically, I wasn’t harmed or hurt but I was staying at an
Airbnb, it was lovely. Lovely space but there was
a bit of an ant problem and it wasn’t nice and it
was one of those things where I kind of was morally deciding do I just leave, do I find another hotel? Financially I really didn’t wanna do that. I had some meetings
that I had to attend to so I kind of just, I went into a little
bit of a shutdown state but also a bit of a hyperarousal. I had trouble sleeping and
now that I’m back home, feels good to be home, my system is still really,
I’m really irritated and I know it has nothing
to do with my work, has nothing to do with Seth, it has nothing to do with
being back in Vancouver. It’s just this, I had to
kinda go into a bit of a shutdown while I was away. I found myself earlier
tonight wanting to like punch him and like get this out. – Which is fine.
– Of course, it has nothing to do with him but this is something that it’s hard to verbally describe in text. We’re gonna try to give this a go. If you can recall from
the how to unfrustrate frustration article that Seth wrote, we get you to squeeze a towel
which is fine and great. But if you have a person, whether it’s a partner, a friend, someone that you trust, someone that is willing to play with this, a forearm, good old forearm
can be good for this. And what we’ll do is after I do this, I’ll get Seth to actually
squeeze my forearm ’cause mine’s a lot smaller. Just so you see that you don’t have to be a big, strong person. He’s a big guy. You don’t need a person
to do this with them, obviously with consent. The first thing is that
you wanna make sure that when you do this, you’re not squeezing
someone’s wrist or the joint. It’s the long part of the bone. That’s the main thing, you don’t wanna get the
joint because that will hurt. But you can squeeze pretty darn hard on a person’s long bone of their forearm. First of all, you got to make sure that the person’s arm is where
it’s comfortable for you, I’m obviously shorter than Seth. Here, it depends on your height and the person you’re working with. You ready?
– Mm-hmm. – [Irene] Okay, you got
to move up a little bit. I’m just gonna go through my process first and then I might explain. I’ll explain what is happening. (snarls) (exhales deeply) Cool. What I did there is I
tapped into the irritation, I didn’t really tap in to like the ants or the Airbnb that I was at because that’s like in the past. I was just feeling my current frustration. It’s more of an irritation that I’ve got and the other reason I know that my system is a bit irritated is my genetic predisposition
when I have lots of stress is I get, my skin gets itchy and I get rashes around my neck, and I’ve been getting a little bit of that the last few days that I’ve been home. So I knew that there was something in me that needed to get out. Right now I’m having to catch my breath because even though that was
not a big movement, right, I put all, Seth could agree. – Yeah. – I was really riffing on his arm and then I had a feeling of
having to kind of go down a bit. This is how I did it. It doesn’t mean that if you do this with someone that you
trust and who trusts you that you will do that. It could be something different but what you have to do is you have to feel into your own impulse, feel into the movement in your body and it might be that you
just have to do a little bit or it might be that you
have to shake a little bit. The thing too is if you got a partner as you say to them if
something doesn’t feel good or if it’s too much, they have the right to say stop. And you just have to have that agreement so that you’re not hurting them but as you could like, that
was a lot and he’s fine. – Yeah. – So, if I give him my arm
which is a lot smaller. – Yeah. – And he’s got really big hands, so much that they just, you know, – Yeah.
– Get the width. And of course, he is taller
so I have to be a little, not uncomfortable but I
got to work a little bit to keep my arm up, that’s fine. And he can just. – I’m not really angry. – I know, he’s not angry.
– Yeah. – [Irene] But he squeezes like. – Yeah. – He can squeeze, he’s
putting all like I’m– – Like that’s almost all my force. – Yeah, I can see his
forearm muscles popping out. And I’ve had clients do this
to my arm for like minutes. – Yeah. – And you come out with
a little bit of a dent but it’s not gonna hurt you because it’s a long arm. This is probably the
best arm or the best arm. (chuckles) The best limb. Our thighs are too big,
our calves are too big. The upper arm, the
muscles are a little more sensitive for some reason. But the forearm is like, you use your hands a lot so this part is actually pretty safe. I’m just tapping into my own system. I can feel a little bit still in my jaw so I’m gonna do this one more time. – Use the other arm. – I’ll use his other arm. Rather than again tapping
into what I did before or the ants or the Airbnb, I’m just feeling the tension in my jaw. (snarls) – Yes. (snarls) – So there you go. – That was a good one. – Yeah.
(chuckles) I’m hotter in my face. I’ve also been since I
got home two days ago I’ve been really cold
which is abnormal for me, like really cold. And I just felt myself
get really hot right now. It’s not like me to have a
sweatshirt on in the house so I can feel that I
need to take it off now. That’s a sign that my system has literally been in a bit of a functional freeze and this just got that energy going again. Again, what I did was me. It’s not to mimic my sounds or what I did but just to give you an idea
of how big it could get, how kind of primal it can get and how if you got someone to work with it can be really useful. If you have a therapist
or someone or a partner and you wanna show them this, go for it. Hopefully, this has been useful and we’ll talk to you later. Thanks Seth.
– Yeah. (uptempo music)

16 thoughts on “How to work with anger in a healthy way || EDUCATION + DEMO || IreneLyon

  1. Dear Irene,

    I very much appreciate this video and demonstration on how to work with anger – I tried it – and it works – in a very grounding and natural way 🙂 Thanks a lot!

    I was wondering if you have a similar exercise to work with guilt / bad conscience?
    I find it a very difficult emotion process and I am not sure what to do about it (hold it in? Let it out?) other than being with it, which is hard.

    I my case it is a guilt / bad conscience of setting healthy boundaries towards my father and for instance not coming home for Christmas (as he would like me to). I feel that I am letting him down, and that I should forget about myself and that I should be there for him – the way he wants me to (avoid hurting him and his feelings).
    The more mature part of me knows that this boundary setting is a necessary step in my healing, but I find myself torn between these two positions.

    So I was wondering, if you can shed some light on this, as I imagine that many others might be dealing with this feeling during the holiday.

    Merry Christmas

    Anne-Christine

  2. I'm working with someone who doesn't have many social connections. Could this potentially be used with a countertop? For example, gripping the counterpart and trying to externalize the anger?

  3. Hi Irene. I found this quite uncomfortable to watch and also it made me feel very emotional and tearful. I feel it is what I need but I would also find it difficult to do! Thanks for posting the video though, everything I'm watching is taking me a step closer to your online courses 😊

  4. thanks for sharing Irene. My concern is that could this anger releasing technique end up releasing too much adrenaline and cortisol? my body goes into fight or flight quite often which has weakened my adrenals. I notice that being aggressive vocally or physically like you showed raises my stress hormones and increases my heart rate. how can this be safe on the body with regular use of this technique? just curious

  5. Interesting – I will be sharing this to my facebook pages. I have no doubt that people with Parkinson's are just as frozen emotionally as they are physicallly and just as important as myofascial [muscle] release will be anger/fear release [I have found guilt is the particular problem in PD though].

  6. To Irene, and anyone else that it might be helpful (hope she still reads these comments):

    I’ve been doing emotional processing for years, as a survivor of extreme violent and sexual trauma as a toddler at the hands of an alcoholic (probably blacked out) father. I started with what was called at the time ‘Primal therapy’, or what I call the ‘primal process’ (more about that later).

    I was watching and listening with interest to what you were saying in your videos so far, as I have been wondering how to be helpful to others who are dealing with trauma and looking for help, lately with ‘fellow travelers’ in a 12 step program, Adult Children of Alcoholics, and others in my life (seems like just about everyone has trauma, to one degree or another). I am fully comfortable with processing the most extreme, intense feelings from early childhood experiences, but can't expect others who are new to being present with their uncomfortable feelings to be able to do what I am used to doing, allowing myself to experience.

    So, the recommendation for new people to take baby steps in being present with uncomfortable feelings is good, I’m sure. But, my experience is that, as soon as possible to fully allow the feelings, even intense feelings, to move through the body can be safe, because the body won’t bring up more than we can handle at a time, though initially it feels that way because when the feelings were first experienced, at an early age, to fully feel them in all their intensity might have been actually life threatening.

    I questioned (from my personal experience) what I seemed to hear Peter Levine say, if I understood him, that feeling the full intensity should be avoided, only feeling it a little then backing off. Maybe, in the beginning but in my experience, there is something that is experienced that can only happen by fully allowing the intensity of whatever the feeling is to fully connect and flow; grief, fear, terror, anger, rage, or other painful body trauma, because then a full body connection (with the original experience, at the age it happened) and release can happen. But only when you fully cross the line, let go of any kind of control, or attempt at ‘regulation’ and the body/emotional body can spontaneously, fully connect with and release/express/feel the original pain.

    The characterization of Primal Therapy as “primal screaming” is not accurate, a misnomer, in my experience, though there may be so called ‘primal therapists’ who that may apply to. It is not ‘getting out feelings’ by hitting with a bat, deliberate screaming, etc. In a true ‘primal’ there is no direction of the feeling, there is a complete letting go, and allowing the feeling to have it’s pure, natural, spontaneous expression. Then it can be allowed to fully connect to the original pain, and like I said, an experience happens that can’t be accessed any other way.

    So, not a criticism, but a suggestion for experimentation; instead of directing the feeling, by squeezing an arm, or any other controlled expression, consider maybe starting there, but then when you feel connected to the stored feeling energy, and it starts to flow, to fully allow that to happen, to trust the wisdom of the body/emotional body/pain body/the Spirit in you to know how it needs to express the feeling, whatever it is. There is a line that is crossed, requiring a full letting go, in which the body, the feeling energy takes over and begins to flow spontaneously, and we just are completely present with it, and witness it, but are also fully emotionally connected.

    Practically speaking, it would mean (at the point the feeling starts to flow, or from the start), lying down on a mattress (on the floor ideally, ideally in a semi at least, soundproof setting) to let the body move however it needs to move, and make whatever spontaneous sounds it needs to make. Usually a real ‘primal’ (full body connection to original pain) is characterized by talking in the vocabulary of whatever age the feeling originates. Or, if it’s preverbal, just whatever sounds a pre-verbal infant would spontaneously make to express the truth of the pain.

    It will flow, as you said in another video, like a wave (a great metaphor, that came to me as well) that rises, breaks, and then dissipates on the shore. We just flow with it, or ride it, as you said, completely letting go into the experience. The feeling energy may be very intense, or subtle, or anywhere in between, but we can trust that our body/emotional body won’t bring up more than we can handle at a time, and it will pass/dissipate when it completes itself, usually in a relatively short time, but it's best to allow open ended time to rest and assimilate afterwards. The wave may rise again (or a few more times) in a little while before it comes to resolution for that day/session. The fear that precedes feeling intense feelings begins to recede after more experience of this kind of direct processing of feelings.

    Most people probably need someone to be present with them who can be present with the expression of intense feelings (if that’s the form it needs to take). I started with people (facilitators), but later (within a year or two) learned that it was safe to do on my own, as needed.

    Would be happy to communicate more with anyone interested.

  7. Thank you for sharing you're and Peter's work with us. Interesting notion to do this with a person rather than an inanimate object. That being said it would seem important to look to be as aware as possible as to any undercurrents of unexpressed emotions towards the person who one partners with in this exercise.

    …it would seem important to acknowledge that the anger that is triggered or arises within us has essentially nothing to do with that which triggered it; has nothing to do with an other person, their actions, or the ants. That the only issue within that which you labelled as an ant 'problem', is the expectation that something be different than it is. As Byron Katie, (an other very insightful life coach @ the work.com), points out, "any time you argue with what is you lose, only a hundred percent of the time". What is simply is, and everything else we may have going on about it is essentially our story about what is or isn't. However, as you point to in your material; we can utilize these 'challenges' and that which they evoke, as a gateway to brining awareness to that which lies in the shadows of our awareness, as well as a means to move that which remains unexpressed; and lodged in our systems.

    Blessings on your work; with 'yourself' and with 'others'.

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