10 Steps: How to Manage My Anger
Benjamin Franklin said, “anger is never without a reason, but seldom a good one.”
During rage attacks those parts of the brain that are central to feeling and expressing anger, such as the amygdala and the hypothalamus, commandeer the rest of the brain. In this wholesale takeover, the cerebral cortex is overwhelmed and restraint and reasoning are impossible. In most situations this type of unrestrained anger destroys much more than it accomplishes.
The Value of Anger
Our anger does have a value. Under normal circumstances, anger has an important communication function. It lets others know that they have encroached upon you or your territory, and it warns them to back off… or else. A mother whose infant is threatened will become angry, and as we all know, it is to get between a mother bear and her cub.
Like all emotions, anger provides important emotional news. When there is not enough to go around, anger lets us know that we had better seize whatever resources we can. Anger can also regulate how we are doing in relation to our goals. In the course of everyday life, we develop expectations of ourselves. Then, if we do not reach them, our frustration-a form of anger-spurs us on.
In stable primate societies, including human ones, communications of anger take place everyday, usually without overt aggression. Sometimes, however, when an individual senses that a threatening gesture is too weak, he attacks. People who suffer from rage attacks have too low a threshold for such outbursts, as well as inadequate mechanisms for controlling the attacks once under way.
Knowing when to attack is a critical life skill for both humans and other animals. It is so important; in fact, that we can assume evolution has programmed such judgment calls into the nervous system.
Anger is a momentary madness, so
control your passion or it will control you.
10 Steps to Help You Manage Your Anger
1) Recognize That Your Anger is a Problem
2) Monitor Your Anger Level
3) Look for a Pattern
a) Be aware of different triggers i.e. bad traffic, slow waiters etc.
4) Take a Time-Out
5) Challenge Perceptions and Thoughts That Fuel Your Anger
a) Seeing hostility where it does not exist
b) The highway does not belong to you
c) Black or white thinking
d) Not having a tantrum doesn’t mean you are giving someone permission to abuse you
e) Even if your anger is justified, it can still cost you
6) Dig Deeper to Understand the Roots of Your Anger
a) Once you recognize a pattern in the types of events that tend to trigger your anger, ask yourself when in your past you have experienced similar reactions.
7) Change the Message You Give Yourself When You Are Angry
8) Use Exposure and Relaxation
a) Upon exposure use relaxation techniques including:
i) Slow, deep abdominal breathing
iii) Different meditative techniques
9) Use Humor
10) Listen to Your Emotional News – And Act Appropriately
a) Once your anger has calmed down, you will find it possible to think more clearly. Now ask yourself, what is the message from my anger, and what do I want to do about it?
If you would like me to write more on this topic please let me know in the comments section below.
Light and Transcendence,
This material is taken form The Emotional Revolution: harnessing the Power of Your Emotions for a More Positive Life, Chapter 9.
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