I’m So Angry!
How do we deal with the feeling of anger?
by Claire Law
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To explore the emotion of anger, its negative effects and ways to deal with our own anger.
Preparation and materials
You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (I’m So Angry!) and the means to display them.
Have available the YouTube video, ‘Get to know your Inside Out emotions: anger’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 0.32 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HQIg3ZwAs0
Show Slides 1-5.
Ask the students what emotions they think each of these people is feeling. You may wish to ask some students to describe the emotions.
Explain that all of the expressions on the slide are showing the emotion of anger. Other words to describe anger include fury, exasperation, annoyance and resentment. Anger is a feeling or emotion that all humans experience.
Show the YouTube video, ‘Get to know your Inside Out emotions: anger’ from the Disney film, Inside Out.
Show Slide 6.
Anger can be defined as a strong feeling that makes you want to hurt someone or be unpleasant because of something unfair or unkind that has happened.
Ask the students to think about what makes them really angry. What was the last thing that made them angry? If appropriate, ask the students to share their thoughts with the person next to them, or select a handful of students to share with the others.
Ask the students, ‘How does anger feel?’
Anger can rise up inside you and take control. It can make your body feel tense, and make you more likely to act without thinking. You are most likely to feel angry in situations that you feel are unfair, or when your well-being is under threat. In this way, anger signals to us that there is something that needs our attention, or there is something that we would like to be able to change.
There are many different ways of expressing anger. Slides 1-5 showed people expressing their anger through their facial expression and body language. Some people may express their anger by speaking or shouting in an aggressive manner. Sometimes, people may be physically aggressive and hit out. Let’s listen to a story that helps us to think about a different way to express anger.
Read the story slowly and with expression, giving the students time to think about its meaning.
A Bag of Nails
Once upon a time, there was a little boy who had a bad temper. One day, his father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he should hammer a nail in the fence. On the first day, the boy drove 37 nails into the fence. But gradually, each day, the number of nails dwindled. The boy discovered that it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He proudly told his father about it, who suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he held his temper. The days passed and the boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. ‘You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out, but it won’t matter how many times you say “I’m sorry”: the wound is still there.’
So, what does this story teach us? The father helped his son to be aware of the times when he became angry and therefore helped him to be able to control his temper. However, the story also makes it clear that lashing out verbally or physically in anger – when we ‘lose it’ - leaves a lasting mark. This might cause lasting damage to a friendship or relationship. It might mean that an object is damaged, or that someone is physically hurt.
Our challenge is to think of the best way to deal with our own anger. It is normal and natural to experience anger. It is an emotion that we all feel when we sense that something is unfair. But how can we express our anger in a way that does not cause lasting damage?
There are three main ways to express anger.
Show Slide 7.
The three main types of anger expression are aggressive, passive and assertive.
- Aggressive anger. Anger expressed in this way is directed at the other person to hurt him/her emotionally, physically or psychologically. Yelling, put-downs and hitting are examples of aggressive anger.
- Passive anger. People who avoid dealing with situations that contribute to feelings of anger may find that they keep the anger inside them. This anger can build up as resentment or holding a grudge and is likely to lead to them doing mean things and seeking revenge at some time in the future. Spreading nasty rumours, not speaking to the person who upset them and damaging property can be examples of passive anger.
- Assertive anger. This is usually the best way to communicate feelings of anger because anger is expressed directly and in a non-threatening way to the person involved. A statement such as, ‘I feel angry when you . . .’ is an example of assertive anger. It enables us to express our anger in a way that is likely to bring about effective communication. Assertive anger is the type of anger most likely to help us put right unfairness or an injustice.
Time for reflection
Ask the students to bow their heads and think quietly about a situation that is making them angry at the moment. Is there something, or someone, that is making them cross, resentful or irritated?
Ask the students to think quietly about how they could express their feeling in a calm, clear way. Such a statement usually begins with, ‘I feel . . .’
Share with students the Bible verse from Proverbs 29.11: ‘Fools give full vent to their anger, but the wise bring calm in the end.’
For the times when we feel angry, uptight, cross, irritated and exasperated, we ask for wisdom.
Please help us to stop and think about the possible negative effects of lashing out and venting our rage.
Please help us to consider how we can best express ourselves clearly and give expression to our feelings.
Please help us to use our anger in a way that helps to make our world a fairer, more just place.