Introduction: Anger Banishment

About: During the COVID-19 crisis, all of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship's religious services moved into an online-only format. I generally organize Sunday school activities for the children of the Fellowship …

In today's story, we talked about anger. Anger can be very useful, but it can also be a burden. This is a simple ritual that can help you think about, process, and banish some of the negative feelings that could be bothering you. Even if it doesn't banish the feelings (and it might not!), that's okay! The act of specifically naming things that make you angry can be helpful on its own.

This is another activity that will require the help of a grownup or older sibling! Please be safe when you burn things!



-writing instrument



-flame-safe container

-safety water

Step 1: Write Down Stuff That's Making You Mad.

Make a list! There might be only a few things. There might be a lot of things. Write as many things as you can think of. They don't have to be complete sentences or complete thoughts. They could even be pictures that you draw.

Something to keep in mind, though, is to be very specific. Concentrating on actions that make you mad rather than people or things that make you mad is much more useful. So for instance, while I could write "my neighbors" on my list, upon further reflection, I added more. My neighbors themselves are probably lovely people! Their specific behavior of playing loud, awful music at 9:30 in the morning is what makes me mad, not my neighbors themselves.

Same with rain! I actually like rain quite a lot, but when the rain keeps me from riding my bike, that does make me mad! Having to articulate exactly what about a thing makes you mad can really help you reframe your thoughts about it.

Step 2: CRUMPLE!

Now comes the fun part. Crumple that list of mad things. Crumple it hard. Harder than that! Squeeze it in your hands and let yourself feel how mad all those things make you. The paper can take it. SQUEEZE the angry feelings into it.

Step 3: TEAR!

Now tear it up into little pieces! This is your revenge on all these things that have made you mad. Concentrate on the satisfying sound of tearing them all up.

Step 4: Burn It!

You need to do this step outside. (If your family has a fireplace or a fire pit, this would be a great excuse to build a fire and burn your paper scraps that way!)

Make sure you have a grownup or older sibling to help you be safe, and some water onhand just in case. Light the candle in your flame-safe container. I used a little cauldron that I have specifically for the purpose. A metal bowl of some kind works great for this. Ask your parents if you have something appropriate!

Feed your paper scraps to the flames. It will be very satisfying to watch them burn.

Step 5: Let the Ashes Cool.

Paper only burns for a little bit. Watch it as the ashes cool down. When the smoke stops, it's cool. Carefully remove the candle. The wax might still be a little hot, so get a grownup or older sibling to help!

Step 6: Pour the Ashes in Your Garden.

Ashes make a pretty good fertilizer! I dumped mine on my sad kale plants. My anger can nurture a living thing, and that's nice to think about.

Hopefully you feel a little more at peace now.