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Things to do with ResLife : Anger Expression Workshop

On Friday, 1 February, Sheffield based womens' theater company Cocoon Collective hosted an Anger Expression Workshop as part of our Residence Life program.

I didn't really know what to expect going into it, but my initial nerves about the formality of the event were soothed when I walked in to a very cozy space.  Sitting cross legged on the floor, in a circle of smiling faces around sketch pad, pens and biscuits, we made a start.

There were several fun activities we partook in that might've felt a bit silly at first, but ended up allowing us to feel more comfortable in the environment.

First we had a walking exercise which involving some hissing and a lot of awkward smiles.  Suitably loosened up, we went back in our circle and got into the session properly.

The first step was to acknowledge our anger.  We took some time to some reflect on the things, big and small, that made us angry recently. After writing our thoughts down, we collected the different points and made a poem out of them (this might've been my favourite part of the experience).

The next part involved letting go.  Rather gracelessly tearing the pieces of paper the made up the poem into tiny bits, we stuffed them into balloons that were then blown up. This was, as we found out, a rather creative and surprisingly effective way to release stress.

Thirdly, we stood facing a wall, we found ourselves approaching it repeatedly, physically interacting with it in any way we'd saw fit until it didn't seem daunting anymore. Some people screamed, some  hit at it, some touched it softly, but I'm fairly sure every one of us felt a new sense of strength.

The group circle exercise felt particularly powerful as a group. It involved us following cues of anyone in the circle who felt like introducing a movement into a pre-established beat.

Another miscellaneous technique we learnt, a game the instructors used to lighten stressful situations at their company, was playing the 'Geesh' game with colleagues.  It involves facing your partner, you both continuously point in cardinal directions, with the goal being not to point the same way. If you do inadvertently match up, you simultaneously proclaim 'geesh', or any other exclamation/action of your choice. I found this very effective when it comes to taking my mind off things. Safe to say, looking someone in the eye while exclaiming interesting words together is pretty amusing.

To wrap up the session, we all laid down with our eyes closed, slowly rising with stretching and contracting movements at our own pace.

Some more cookies, hand-massage tips, miscellaneous conversations and popped balloons later, we all made our way back home.

I personally find this workshop amazing and the session is still vivid in my memory after months, and I'd definitely be up for another in the future.

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