I keep saying that anger management doesn’t work. I have been thinking about that statement.
And I think I will stick with it. But…
What if we can Undermine the Power it Seems to Have?
There are some things we do that puff up anger. Some of them are inside moves, others outside moves.
Judgment gets in the way of our decisions. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our own thoughts that we don’t even realize we are doing it. Our minds have done a hell of a job. They’re a little bit like what they say about the devil. His biggest feat has been to convince people he isn’t even there. I was listening to a program called Question the Rules the other day and heard this …
We all have a mind, but we are not our minds. Marie Forleo
I’m not saying that you should quit judging. It probably wouldn’t work if you tried. But we can all begin to notice when we are judging. That’s a hell of a way to get a grip on that rug anger’s standing on.
Learn to manage life. Are you like me on this? Sometimes, I let life get just a little bit (ha!) ahead of me. Being able to manage your life is miles ahead of trying to manage stress. Stress is a normal physical reaction to an active life. Sometimes it makes more sense to go up and give stress a big hug and make friends with it. Remember the “feeling rule.”
The more you don’t want a feeling, the more it has you.
Accept that conflict is going to happen. And it is necessary for life to happen. When your heart beats, it is beating against itself. All the time, there is a huge conflict going on right inside your body. There is always one group of cells battling against another group of cells. If one of them wins, your immune system doesn’t function; it the other one wins, cancer. Been there, done that. No fun. Let the battle continue with no winners.
Outer life, that one we live every day, is not much different. Conflict, done well, is the key to progress. Put your two hands together palm to palm in front of your chest. Close your eyes and press them together. You may notice they tend to start moving upward.
Breathe deep, breathe low, and exhale slowly. Have you ever seen a baby breathing? Dumb question. Of course you have. Have you noticed how that baby was breathing? You may have noticed that, unlike adults (for the most part, not everybody) it isn’t their chest that is doing the moving. It’s that muscle that is there to open and close the lungs, the diaphragm that is going up and down.
Jonathan Fields, Awake @ the Wheel on breathing…
The way you breath directly reflects your levels of stress. When we’re in high-alert, stressed states we tend to take faster, shallower breaths. In fact, this can become so exaggerated, it can lead to hyperventilation and even leave us unconscious. When we’re calm and relaxed, though, our breathing tends to be slower, deeper and less labored
Communicate…or don’t. I gotta say, this one is not my forte’. If I get pretty angry (yes, of course I do that, too) it’s almost like it shuts down my vocal chords. What is more likely going on is that I have so much to say that it has created a brain bottleneck. Or I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing. There is an art to knowing when it is time to communicate and when it is time to keep the mouth closed at least enough so that my food won’t fit in there.
Let me know if you have any ideas. One “method” I have tried is ..
Step back and smell the real roses. You see that red thing next to this paragraph. You may think it’s a rose. You might also think this – rose – is a rose. Get real close to them. How do they smell. Anger tends to bind people to their thoughts. Even worse we take our thoughts for reality.
So, right now, think of a rose. Can you touch it? Can you smell its fragrance? Of course not, its an imaginary rose.
Have you ever noticed this? You feel angry and your thinking is going so fast it’s like a freight train going by at 60 miles per hour. You can’t even see the space between the cars. In the AngerFlex courses, mindfulness meditations are a practice. As you sit back and watch your thoughts, over time it gets to be like one of those snow things you shake up. As you sit, the blizzards of thought begin to settle. It often disarms the racing thoughts that happen when angry.
It doesn’t get rid of them and it doesn’t get rid of the anger. But in a way, it helps anger retract its claws.
You are not responsible for your feelings. Have I written that before? I don’t think it can be said enough. Not only is it extremely difficult, and often not possible, to control how we feel. A step toward loosening anger’s grip is the practice of being response-able. Anger is like one of those monsters in the old black and white movies, like Frankenstein. Old Boris never was able to move to fast in those multipound shoes he had to wear in those movies. But he always caught some of them. Why? They were always reacting to the monster – either attacking it like the townspeople or trying to get away like others. And then they would turn around and there he was, big as life. And they would react again.
The change comes when we are able to respond instead of react.
No matter what, we are always responsible for what we do with our hands, our feet, and our mouths. We become response-able when we are able to slow down, take a step back and act out of our long term values.
AngerFlex can help you change the way you relate to anger. You can learn ways to simply (well, not simply, but definitely doable) step out of the battle with anger. Sign up for the newsletter today (by clicking here or filling out the form below) and stay informed and up to date.