You feel that? The temperature is rising. The pressure is building up. Things are moving fast and trying to get out. And then, the pressure is too much: the kettle whistles, blowing steam through and sounding the shrill note of “STEEEEEEEAAAM.”
Then the question is, do you steep in the hot water, or do you try to cool things off. Whatever you do, you’ve gotta blow off that steam, or it will just contort and twist you to something that isn’t healthy.
So, how. How do you do it? Punch a pillow? Kick a few doors? Scream with the car doors shut? You know, I haven’t tried any of those in the longest time.
Often, I’ll sing. But not pretty singing. No. this is get in the car, turn the base up, and jam to some jilted lover music. It doesn’t matter if you’re not angry because of your lover, it just makes really good angry sing-along music. And so I can sing as loud as a want, and still keep the rhythm of the music to keep me going.
Or, I’ll write. This won’t be a surprise to you, but I find it’s a great way for me to blow off steam. I’ll get out my journal, because sometimes emotions work better with the flowing motions of pen to paper, and I will write everything I wish I had said, and everything that happened, and everything that is keeping me from moving on. It is a remarkably healthy way to blow off steam.
And sometimes, I do the very stupid thing of just holding it in. Contorting and twisting until everything is not as it should be. Don’t do that. It’s not good. For you or for anyone else. Especially when you take it out on strangers, like cashiers and phone operators. They didn’t do anything to you. Give them some grace.
Give yourself some grace too. Anger is not a bad thing. It only turns bad if it gets out of hand. Use your anger to know what matters to you, and don’t let it use you. Let it blow off, and then see where grace can lead you, out of the anger, and into a deeper understanding of what makes you angry. And maybe, just maybe, next time you’ll be able to spread grace in the midst of anger, instead of just blowing off steam.