What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel?

Many of us grew up watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood on TV. It was a safe program for kids to learn about how to handle real life issues in an age appropriate way. Even years down the line, the truths of what was taught still ring true.

One episode in particular Mr. Rogers sings a song called “What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel?” about how to handle a big emotion like anger.

How many of us adults still need help learning how to deal with this?

The lyrics talk about how it feels in the body to be angry - how you want to punch a bag or pound some clay. It mentions how when we are mad we want to do things that we know are wrong purely out of emotion.

It then transitions to helping kids feel their power that they are still in control of their bodies and their minds - “I can stop when I want to, I can stop when I wish.” That is a powerful thing to note when we are angry, to acknowledge these feelings can feel overwhelming but they are just feelings.

It may be easier said than done to just “stop” so here are some other practical tips of how to channel or transition our anger in the moment, even as adults:

  1. Take a deep breath and count to 10

  2. Notice your 5 senses (name out loud something you can see, tase, touch, smell, and hear) to ground yourself into your body

  3. Work on calming down. You may think that channeling the anger into a workout would be beneficial but in the opposite effect it keeps arousal levels high and prolongs the feelings.

  4. Don’t suppress your emotion, but instead journal and address what is making you angry.

  5. Listen to the Mr. Rogers song. It’s hard to stay mad when you hear the soothing melody!

For some, anger can be a hereditary trait that was observed and learned without any boundaries and may be tougher to calm down. If that is the case, I would suggest seeking a professional therapist to help you with your own specific coping mechanisms. We can help give you the tools that, over time, can help make those big feelings more manageable.