Exercise 50 Managing Your Anger

To manage anger in your life, you must first recognize what anger IS in your life. Here are some key words associated with anger that can help you identify it when it is present - irritation, resentment, impatience, vindictiveness, restriction, abusiveness, disagreement, loudness and hatred. Anger is one of the basic emotions that is said to stem from the limbic system in the brain. Oftentimes, childhood conditioning teaches us to suppress anger rather than to express it. On the other hand, you may have learned to express anger so frequently that it becomes uncontrollable rage in your life.

Research studies have shown that anger increases your heart rate, boosts high blood pressure, encourages the clogging of your arteries with chloresterol and increases your overall risk of heart attack. If you deal with your anger by consciously recognizing and embracing it when it is happening, you don't have to allow it to rule your behavior in a blur of unconscious action. You allow the brain to shift its activity from the lower limbic system to the higher cerebral cortex. By being mindful and attentive to anger when you experience it, you can acquire conscious management of it while maintaining a better understanding of yourself. Through this process, you must keep yourself from self-criticism or self-judgment over your anger as to whether it is wrong or right. Just learn from each episode and consciously observe your anger for a better outcome each time you experience it.

In searching for self-awareness, we are often drawn to the very people that mirror our innermost feelings. By using the events of our daily living as vital information, we begin to understand that all things that we're drawn to are simply aspects of ourselves. The more consciously honest you allow yourself to be, the less necessary it becomes to act out or unload anger upon others. Also, by accepting yourself the way you are, you no longer need to be stuck in the helplessness of anger or rage.

Consciously validate to yourself that it's OK to feel anger over something, but observe and understand it rather than act it out. When you do this, long suppressed memories may surface for examination and review. By writing down your feelings in a journal, you can further facilitate getting them out of your mind and away from unnecessary repression. Deep breathing, yelling, laughing, crying and even beating on pillows can all be helpful during this releasing process. The more you can contact and recognize what you are angry about at any given moment, the more alive, whole and empowered you can feel.

Some people manage their anger better than others. Unmanaged anger can cause accidents, criminal incidents, nonproductivity, inefficiency and even physical disord ers like high blood pressure, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, etc. The blood chemistry of an angry pregnant mother can even contribute harmful effects to her fetus. A newborn can also be adversely affected by the breast milk of an angry mother.

To defuse rage in someone, ask the angered person an unrelated profound question that requires the cerebral formulation of an answer. By becoming consciously analytical, you are less likely to become embroiled in the anger yourself. Sometimes agreeing with an angry person lessens their hostility in your direction. Doing something wacky can sometimes help defuse the anger in a person. Some police departments train their officers to use this method quite frequently in domestic disputes. For example, an officer in the midst of a screaming couple might simply ignore them completely, and open up the couple's refrigerator to start making a sandwich! Another officer might turn his cap around the wrong way and purposefully look silly at the hostile couple.

As an exercise to defuse anger in yourself, consciously talk to yourself about your anger when you are feeling it. Direct yourself toward consciously thinking about your anger, and it will help you to calm down while allowing the conversation with yourself to move gradually to a more rational tone. Listen to and observe yourself. The moment you feel you're about to lose control, your rational mind can signal you that you're on the verge of doing or saying something that you'll later wish you hadn't. If something or someone is triggering your anger, begin consciously thinking of all the options you have available to you to deal with the situation instead of getting angry. Shout to yourself, and command "Get out of me ANGER!"

When harboring ill feelings towards someone, visualize embracing them in your arms and transmitting love or warmth to them. When feeling angry over some seemingly uncontrollable situation, visualize being embraced in the arms of Jesus or God. Physically exercise, take a hot shower or bath, relax with a slap stick video or simply project forgiveness towards the source of your anger. Decide on an alternative course of action and take it. Remember, when you harbor anger or hatred toward someone, you're the one that suffers from its outcome.

The positive complement to anger is compassion. As an exercise, the next time you feel anger or resentment toward someone, consciously catch yourself and direct compassion towards them instead. Anger dissipates in the conscious face of compassion. To practice this transforming feeling, roll over in your mind the last several times you were angry with people and imagine feeling compassion for each person instead of anger as you replay each episode. Remember you're only as helpless about a display of anger as you think that you are.

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