How do you deal with Anger?
Anger seems to be an emotional issue that more and more of us have to deal with each and every day. Whether it’s our own anger or the anger of someone close to us.
Anger blankets our lives in the news, whether it's incidents of road rage, bar fights, domestic violence, political divisiveness, It's there. Anyone who uses Facebook has been exposed to angry rhetoric on all sides of many issues.
Anger as an emotion, is a very powerful energy. It can sometimes get you moving when you are ‘stuck’, stagnant, or idle. This can be a good use of anger. It is also an emotion that can over cloud fear and sadness, both of which are much weaker emotions. This might also seem useful at times but all it does is suppress the weaker emotions. Anger, for the most part is a very destructive emotion or feeling - both externally by your actions and words, and internally by what continued anger can do to your body, not to mention what it can do to your relations and your professional/work life.
Now, anger is a natural part of our being. We have a fight, flight, or freeze response. Anger powers the fight response when needed. That sort of natural anger is not my subject here. The anger I am talking about is the triggered anger, uncontrollable that comes from your past.
I can talk about anger because I have felt it many times. No, I’ve never beaten up somebody or when into massive irate rants when someone cuts me off. Most of my anger comes out when I am angry at myself. Yes, I do get angry when it’s close and personal (my family can attest to that) but as of the past 10-20 years, my anger hardly last more than a few minutes. Aside of working on the causes of my anger, I have also implemented several strategies to recognize and defuse my anger.
I remember when I first noticed it as a problem and so did my date (Who, fortunately for me, later became my lovely wife). We were going to a very nice steakhouse on one of our early dates and it was one of which I had never been to before. It was on a very fast moving divided highway and I had a difficult time discerning the entrance. The first time I missed it was not a big deal. We had to drive up a mile or two, turn direction, drive down a mile or two and turn back up on the original side. The second time I missed it was unforgivable (to myself). I beat up my steering wheel and it was quite embarrassing when I came to my senses. We laugh about it now but it was really stupid of me to give into this feeling so easily.
Since then, I’ve not only worked on myself, but have worked with many clients with anger issues from the full on, dangerous extreme to the trivial once and a while light anger. The biggest and most helpful thing that everyone should practice, is to identify when the feeling is coming up. I know that for Dr. Banner (aka Hulk) this did not work too well as he could not stop it. However with a little practice most of us can alleviate the anger quite well.
For most of us, there are feelings in our body that are signs that anger is coming. Sometimes there might be a few minutes and other times it might only be a few seconds. Once we can recognize these signs, then you can at once use techniques to alleviate the anger. The most common (and the most commons for stress) is deep breathing.
Deep breathing, as well, is something that should be practiced. You might be saying, “Kevin, I know how to breathe deeply.” You’d be surprised at how many people don’t. Anyway there are just a few guidelines to practice.
Breathe a ’belly’ breath - meaning fill up your stomach with air first, then your chest. A good way to practice is by putting your hand on your stomach to watch it rise when inhaling. This does take practice.
Exhale twice as long as you inhale. Some people refer to this as a 4x8 breath. You can count in your head or just sense that you are exhaling twice as long. Try to let all of the air out. Again, easier when practice for a while.
Imagine all of the stress and anger leaving your body in your breath. I imagine black particles in my breath. I also imagine good, fresh air soothing the insides of my body and my mind. This imagination can be real powerful.
Practice breathing like this a couple of times a day for at least 5 minutes each until you can naturally do all three steps. Then, when you start to get stressed or angry, you can ‘just breath’ and not worry about it.
This is good anger management and after consistent use some of your triggers will dissipate all together. However, if anger is an issue in your life, there is most likely a deeper seeded issue. This needs to be taken care of in other ways.
When I work personally with clients, I often say, forget about anger management. let's not manage the anger, let's find its source and get rid of it - Anger Banishment.
If you wish to consult with me, I’d be happy to see if I or someone other kind of practitioner may be the right person to help. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or explore my website at www.poseffects.com