It's not as popular as it was a couple of years ago, but the term "anger management" was used SOO much, it got me thinking that for a pretty important emotion, anger gets quite the bad press. It's the delinquent emotion of the bunch, it's the emotion that "makes" people do the "worst things". The reality is, in my opinion; the term "Anger management" should really be " behaviour management", some of you know exactly what I mean, it isn't the anger itself that is the problem, aggression and the behaviour to which we place meaning on the emotion of anger is.
So what's the difference? I'm glad you ask :)... Our emotions exist to communicate with the rest of our body, it's role is to basically organize and motivate behaviour. This means it is inclusive to all emotions, anger is no exception. The louder an emotion gets the more intense it will probably show externally, once we've placed meaning to it, which is then what we call feelings, so then how do we not react to our emotions?
Most traditional models of "anger management" facilitated the discussion around helping people change what they believe about the world, relationships and themselves as a way to decrease the likelihood anger would overcome people. This unfortunately, leads people to try and block or suppress anger and this just tends to increase the intensity of emotions, and inevitably cause other problems. Almost all of these versions also advise "time out" or getting away from the situation that is frustrating you. That isn't always possible or it ends up being to late. Usually, when we are at the level of anger that is noticeable to ourselves, it makes it really hard to take a "time out" once we're at that level of upset.
Sometimes people will advise to just "let it out" the anger, that definitely has some downsides, because when you really think about it, "let it out" or "get it out" actually just means practicing aggressive behaviour when feeling angry.
So what can we do instead? First I think it is important to understand the difference between emotions and feelings. Emotions are based upon an event and how your body directs the message of that event, while a feeling is based upon the meaning you associate to that event, mostly it is a learnt behaviour. So let's say I went into a car accident, my emotion would be scared, however, if let's say I have a history and upbringing where anger was more encouraged, I will probably quickly feel angry and if not in check of that switch, behave in an aggressive way.
Second, I think reflective practice is so important when building a better understanding of your emotions and it's translations to feelings. Basically, what am I doing and why? by asking yourself this question, you are allowing your mind to reflect upon your feelings, urges, and reactions and also allowing time to process whether this reaction, feeling, urge, has to do with the present event, or perhaps the meaning of the event. From that point on, you basically have a choice, to accept it, let it go, or change it. By compassionately redirecting your attention inwards, you allow yourself the opportunity to simply be kinder to yourself and give the benefit of doubt that this experience is simply your way of communicating that something is up, without words.
This means that you are acknowledging what the actual feeling is ( consistant with your emotion), accepting the frustration (it makes sense for you to feel this way) and then, all of a sudden you actually got reins on this aggression ( well not right away, it takes practice, but you know what I mean!). The amazing paradox we experience here is only possible when we allow ourselves to experience and engage in how we actually feel and let ourselves observe without judgement, but with kindness inward, do we have the ability to truly manage ourselves. So engage with your anger, don't try to manage the anger...Until next time humans...
#breelove #breathe.trust.letgo #werejusthuman #bekindtoeverykind