Anger is a funny thing. It can sneak up on you as easily as a whisper, but when in full throttle it can be as dangerous as a vicious hurricane. Some of us battle with anger more frequently than others. When working with clients controlled often by their anger, the same theme arises. "I don't know what happens, I have a hard time remembering what triggered it."
The main question I inquire about is the thoughts proceeding the emotion of anger. Many believe there are no proceeding thoughts, however, after a few sessions they're able to identify the origin of their anger and learn how to prevent or properly release it. The onset of anger is usually triggered by a thought, image, or recollection of past negative emotions. No one is angry just because they're angry.
So first, lets look at an emotion that can cause one to be angry. One of my favorites to investigate is jealousy. This emotion is defined as a person feeling or showing envy toward someone's advantages or achievements. We all, at sometime or another, have felt this emotion. What happens when this emotion is internalized and not acknowledged? When we deny we're fearful of another's growth, achievements, or blessings? Anger usually happens when we have repressed and/or internalized emotion over a period of time. Rarely, does it happen from out of no where. It can be avoided if and when we first acknowledge the primary emotion. However, for most of us trying to control ourselves; we often can not find or decipher the primary emotion.
Recently, I educated a client regarding how to effectively release anger. I hope this illustrates a vivid and obtainable solution for you as well. Whether it is an intimate relationship or a strictly professional one; we can control our reactions with patience and practice. First things first, give yourself the much needed pause to clear your mind. Often, when angered we respond before we even think. I suggest we all learn to look for and find the pause in our thoughts. Now this takes time and practice but it is effective when used. I model this to my kids by counting out loud or making crazy faces to them in order to lighten the moment. Picture yourself and or find an adjective or colorful word to depict your current mood/emotion. Sometimes I will see in my mind a red faced emoji to illustrate my mood. This visualization provides a distraction. Distractions allow us time to begin to process our feelings.
Next, question why you feel what you're feeling, as well as notice what you are physically feeling. When arguing with my husband, I physically feel one thing; while arguing with a friend or colleague, I feel another feeling. Identification of thoughts, feelings, and expectations are extremely important. Once identified write them down if need be to further process them. These observations allow time, distance, and descalation of the intense emotions immediately experienced.
Question or appropriate the relevance of your anger. Many times we feel valid and righteous within our anger. Again, pause long enough to revisit the offense and determine if you're culpable at all. Time allows us the opportunity to not only descalate the emotions, but it also provides insight into how we may or may not have participated in the situation. One thing that truly bums me out once I've calmed down is realizing (a) I heard or processed something wrong...or (b) I actually was the one being a complete idiot!!! Investigate your thoughts, feelings, and actions. You may actually need to be the one to apologize!
There are various other ways to begin to control the "Great Invader", these however are only a few to get you started. Try them out and see if you're one step closer in taking back control of your anger and emotions. Stay plugged in for my next set of transitional blogs helping you #BEBRILLIANTLYU!
Peace and Love, Dr. Torre