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How to Redirect the Power and Path of Anger!

Discussion between husband and wife

Anger is a powerful emotion. Anger is the one emotion that seems to flare up quickly and come out of nowhere! Other times we know exactly who and what circumstances causes us to be and get mad. If the world or those other people would just stop… Sound familiar? The problem with anger is not the emotion itself but understanding the why, how, and what to do with it.

Anger is the one emotion people have difficulty with because it is not a feel good emotion. It doesn’t feel good in the body and is intense so we try to get rid of it quickly. The only problem is the method; we yell, scream, hit something, punch the wall, punch someone else or kick the dog to do it. This is instant gratification except minus the illicit drugs and alcohol use! We are in the moment not getting a desired outcome, perceive it’s due to outside forces and then need to do something about it but can’t with this yucky feeling, hence the immediate need to dispel it and get it out of the body. Surely we aren’t responsible for this intense feeling in the chest or gut, or are we?

Most of us are just a bunch of wonderful people running around our world doing the best we can. Most of us do not wake up in the morning with the thought of, “how can I act like an idiot today and behave really badly!” So what creates anger?

There are two views that are helpful for understanding anger and how to reduce the feeling so you can attend to what it is you’re wanting and go about it more peacefully.

First of all, throw out the need and demand that other people must get, understand or agree with your point of view or change what they’re doing so you can feel ok in your world. It can be a big plus when this happens. But most of us have preconceived views (which stems from learning, influences and genetics) with a demand about how our world should go. This view that “demandingness of thought” vs. “ preferences and desires” creates emotional disturbance or keeps people stuck is based on Cognitive Behavior Therapy (notably Albert Ellis, PH.D.) That’s why couples have huge arguments over “putting the cap back on the toothpaste”. It’s not really the toothpaste cap!

Second, that anger is caused rather than created. For example, if asked where does happiness come from? The usual answer is “from within”. We like to own happiness because it feels good so we must be responsible. However, no one can make you happy-it is a mental state of being that has a physical component within the body. Without feeling one cannot experience his/her thoughts or what they are creating. Anger too is an emotion just like happiness. It has a physical component that stems from thought and perception; just a different set of thoughts hence a different emotion is experienced.

Another view of anger can be best understood through animal behavior. If monkey is having a nice day eating a banana with his girlfriend and another monkey comes over to mess with his girlfriend, what does monkey boyfriend do? Lunges forward to bite. What he actually is saying is “hey, don’t mess with my girl, don’t eat my bananas, don’t eat my young and get off my land”. Anger therefore is an emotional and physiological response to perceived threat similar to anxiety in the animal kingdom (Rapid Resolution Therapy, J. Connelly, PH.D.). Perceived because rabbit could see a fox, freeze, gear up for flight and flee but not be in any actual danger because fox is full having had 2 squirrels.

In other words, humans can have thoughts about their environment but have the ability to reason and make other decisions. Acting out on anger is for immediate gratification of the intense feelings and never actually resolves the issue. In addition, when someone is yelling or screaming how easy is it to get them to listen or for you to be heard. All one experiences is the intensity or the spewing as it were of the emotion. Moreover, how easy is it to feed someone who is vomiting? This is why people rarely get to resolving an argument while it is happening.
Finally, how does one redirect to be heard and understood in a more effective way?

  • Begin by noting sensation in the body by becoming aware of the emotion you are feeling and note the sensation as just a sensation. Like monkey, this now is your opportunity to do something about it.
  • Take a deep full breath to calm (“it’s just a sensation”) think of goal (peace and desire) gather your thoughts and recognize “I am wanting to do something about this differently”.
  • Next, be aware of what you are saying. Demands vs preferences; “I feel angry when” (accepting responsibility for self first) vs. “you and what you are saying and doing make me angry when” (pointing fingers) … This makes room for flexibility and compromise vs rigid thinking and all or nothing thinking that tends to create conflict.
  • Follow the 70/30 rule. What if you are 70% right, that still leaves 30% room for change. After all, 1+1=2 but change one element in the equation and you will get a different answer.
  • Allow room to withdraw if getting too heated, you can come back to the table to discuss after time to calm.
  • It is good to start off with the motto “agree to disagree”.

In the end, people want to be heard and understood not necessarily agreed with. So ,it is important to have soft eyes and a caring demeanor especially with those who are closest and dearest to our hearts since these are the ones we are more likely to argue with . We can do so while be firm and assertive regarding our desires as well. The message will be you and I are important above all else, there is always a solution or perhaps compromise.


Miracles Abound When There is Love!

In times of uncertainty within self or the world, people turn to a higher purpose for hope, peace and love. Love being in my estimation the greatest gift of the divine. Everyone searches for love throughout their lifetime. Love is the primary goal. Everyone wants to be loved and most of all feel loved. When we receive it and give our love to someone or something it is the best feeling in the world! Love is the greatest gift humanity can give to one another, and best of all once given can never be lost. According to Leo Buscaglia, the original motivational speaker and “love guru”:

“Life is our greatest possession and love it’s greatest affirmation.”

Furthermore, what would it be like to just be love. For instance, what would happen if you didn’t ask for it, want it, demand it from someone or even hope for it? What if you decided to start the day and just be love and walk with the intent that you are already loved and loving. Moreover, what do you think would happen if you decided to take just one day and try love on!

I too was curious and decided to become love and this is how I went about being love.
When I awoke I started my day by affirming that “I am loved and loving”. I also vowed to;

  • Smile from the heart
  • Not to speak an unkind word about someone, something or some circumstance
  • To truly listen from the heart
  • Immediately stop any negative thought and repeat remember the experiment to redirect
  • Imagine a bright pink light emanating from my heart center as I walked
  • Be deliberately helpful when a moment to do so arises
  • Right now, Forgive someone their transgression, start small
  • Make eye contact with those I encountered
  • Take note of my surroundings as if it was the first time

I was surprised at how hard it was for me the first 2 hours of my day. I was constantly stopping my mind and having to redirect. This made me very aware of how many negative thoughts one can have even about the simplest of things! But then it got easier and I found later in the day while driving my car I was humming to the radio. Then, something remarkable happened. I noticed a feeling of immense joy that seemed to emanate from my chest. All this while driving to the grocery store? I also noticed throughout the rest of my day that other people weren’t reacting or responding to me reacting to stuff or them. That was a plus too! The other realization that came from this experiment is that love is contagious. Love is an energy that can grow and expand! Like the firefly, that is seen to light up the darkness all around it with the iridescent glow of its tail. Can you recall the excitement you felt as a kid upon first discovering that little dot of floating light in the darkness? And how the light got brighter as more gathered together? Be curious and try love on for a day and see what it will be like for you. And dare to imagine then what it would be like for us all if we decided to act like the firefly and just be the light of love?


A Calm Quietude

As we rush through our day with work, kids, jobs, school and relationships trying to fulfill everbody’s needs to the best of our ability, the days seem to stretch into weeks or months before we can catch a breath for ourselves. Inevitably, there will come a moment when we find ourselves wishing for some peace and calm. But sometimes going to the gym, or yoga class though a good idea seems like one more place to get to. So it’s best to seek just not any space beach walkerbut one of calm quietude. Quietude: meaning a state of gentle, calm, tranquil and undisturbed peace. Thinking it doesn’t exist? Wanting to be there now but a vacation is not practical or out of reach? Well, it is closer than you think! Being alone with one’s self and quieting the mind relaxes the body, nervous system and releases tension from the muscles. Indeed, there is a trick to this but it’s an easy one. Have you ever seen the sun at dusk as it is setting off the horizon while on the beach. The sun is a big ball of fire that emits an array of colors that streaks across the sky. Take a moment to remember one time in the early evening, think of being on the beach, get a picture of it in your mind’s eye…the reds, oranges, blues and purples of the sun as it sets. Now pay attention to what happens within your body as you visualize that event within your creative subconscious! Notice how your breath begins to slow down and you breathe a little deeper than you normally would breathe, slower and deeper… and that your shoulders drop a little and relax, that’s it …. Now take a deliberately deeper breath.

Perhaps it isn’t the beach but a mountain or particular meadow that you recall easier. Sitting under a tree, feeling the bark against your back, noticing the verdant green of the blades of grass that surround you…the majesty of the mountains as they seem to stretch upward; higher, ever higher into the sky. The rustling sound of the breeze as it flows through the branches and caresses the leaves above your head, the coolness of the earth under you… Take a moment to just think of being in one of these two places, what else do you notice …just take a moment to be in that space a little longer. Notice with me now how your body feels. Is it a little calmer and more relaxed? If so, good job! You just asked your mind to actively do something and it responded! The problem has been you haven’t been asking because your mind is focused elsewhere. But a minute ago, you actively asked your mind to create a visualization then paired it with a meditative exercise. This method is called being mindful. Mindful awareness redirects the mind. Having sensory specific detail helps the inner mind to focus and pay attention.

Utilizing mindfulness techniques to quiet and refocus mind from the days tasks relaxes the mind and body. One of the best times to achieve this is at night before you fall asleep, though any time is ok. Night time is generally more quiet, less disturbance with noise, tv, radio, activity with others in the household. Rule of thumb is what the mind creates, feeling follows both emotionally and physically! Making time to go to the beach, walking a trail in the mountain or sitting amongst the trees in the park physically is great but not necessary to achieve a sense of peace or create a space of calm quietude.