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When I think about the full range of emotions, I imagine a paint palette. And most of us – especially women – are most comfortable with the lighter colours. Pinks, greens, yellow, mauve, eggshell blue. Softer more agreeable emotions.

But what about the ‘darker’ emotions? Like anger and it’s cousin sadness. How do we find the gift they potentially offer and their important role in a fully lived human experience?

Recently, after feeling sadness that had sat heavily around a particular situation for some time, I played with anger.

It happened while I was out for a walk with the dog. I got the nudge to get angry, like let-‘er-rip kind of angry. So I did.

The swear words tumbled out of my mouth in a cascade of red-hot rage (checking first there was no one around so I could go for it).

I transformed the sadness into verbal rage. I used the f-word a lot.

I felt clearer and lighter afterwards, and a bit tired.

Giving myself permission and space to get angry was a conscious choice.

It was a step away from sadness to find the sense of unfairness, frustration, the “this fucking sucks” feeling.

If you notice sadness isn’t shifting, it might be worth having a look to see what else is there.

Do some journalling, walk and swear, do something physical (the good ol’ punching a pillow), vent to a friend. Find what works for you and honours the intensity of the anger.

Sometimes, in the midst of sadness, it’s not only ok but healthy to let yourself get angry.

And important to remember, it is possible to express anger and still feel compassion towards ourselves, the situation and any people involved.

The flip side of this is if you find yourself often getting angry, especially taking it out on the easy targets in your life. In this case, it can be worth asking ‘what am I sad about?’.

(More here on my experience with a different kind of anger).

This information is general in nature. Please consult your doctor or healthcare provider for more information and support.

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