Monday, September 6, 2010

Does your anger linger?

Are there times in your life where you wish you could re-wind a specific situation where you let anger get the best of you? Something you said, or did?

Growing up, I was used to anger. I watched as my mother would literally change into a different person, when she was angry. Her eyes and body language would shift and I was truly afraid of her.

She had a lot to be angry about...I mean, she was a single mother who was dealing with a child who had severe issues because of Neurofibromatosis. She was working non-stop, to try and make ends meet, only to come up short every month.

I would sit back and watch my mother sometimes, wondering why she was so angry...and thinking to myself I never wanted to become so controlled by this emotion.

Do I get angry? Sure I do. But I try to not let it be what drives me forward. Sometimes the anger can motivate me to change, but I quickly need to realize that if I let it hang around, it can push me in the wrong direction.

While anger is normal and healthy, it can lead to unhealthy and destructive behavior. I have often felt controlled by this powerful emotion...and I have watched it ruin the lives of people who I love very much.

Anger=Aggression. Typically when I am angry, I act out with aggression. My body tenses up and I am very unhappy. It's hard, once I am angry to come out of it, or to be reasonable. What I need to do, is to stop myself before my anger turns to aggression...or even stop my anger from even happening.

So how does THAT work?

Things that help me:

  • Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm; breathing from your chest won't relax you. Picture your breath coming up from your "gut."

  • Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as "relax," "take it easy." Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply.

  • Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience, from either your memory or your imagination.

  • Nonstrenuous, slow yoga-like exercises can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer.

Problem Solving

Sometimes, our anger and frustration are caused by very real and inescapable problems in our lives. Not all anger is misplaced, and often it's a healthy, natural response to these difficulties. There is also a cultural belief that every problem has a solution, and it adds to our frustration to find out that this isn't always the case. The best attitude to bring to such a situation, then, is not to focus on finding the solution, but rather on how you handle and face the problem.

Make a plan, and check your progress along the way. Resolve to give it your best, but also not to punish yourself if an answer doesn't come right away. If you can approach it with your best intentions and efforts and make a serious attempt to face it head-on, you will be less likely to lose patience and fall into all-or-nothing thinking, even if the problem does not get solved right away.

Remember, you can't eliminate anger—and it wouldn't be a good idea if you could. In spite of all your efforts, things will happen that will cause you anger; and sometimes it will be justifiable anger. Life will be filled with frustration, pain, loss, and the unpredictable actions of others. You can't change that; but you can change the way you let such events affect you. Controlling your angry responses can keep them from making you even more unhappy in the long run

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