Anger doesn’t work, take control and use your emotions in a positive way.
Because people experience anger in different ways, and for vastly different reasons, it can often be hard to understand and manage. What sets one person off might have no impact on you.
In order to begin to manage anger, it’s important that we understand what’s happening in our brains when we experience the kind of anger we find hard to control.
People use various conscious and unconscious processes to deal with angry feelings. The three main approaches are expression, suppression and calming; calming is similar to suppression in that its goal is to help you stay present without losing your temper.
Suppression, essentially, is the process of pushing the feelings down. “Don’t think about it, focus on something positive!”
Calming is similar to suppression, in that it’s goal is to facilitate being able to stay present without blowing your stack.
Anger is an active emotion that calls the person feeling it to respond. As such, there are certain interpersonal and social skills necessary to maintain self-control. There are a number of ways that you can prevent anger from flaring up. To stop it before it even starts.
One of the best ways to manage anger before it even begins is to increase your interpersonal communication skills.
This video explores another key component of anger-prevention which is to increase your emotional intelligence.
Another key aspect of emotional intelligence is the ability to distinguish what happened from what we make up about what happened.
Not all anger is misplaced. Often, anger is a natural response to very real problems. That being said, not all problems have solutions. Because of this, it’s important to learn how better to handle problems, rather than to solve them.
In his book 'The Happiness Advantage' author Shawn Achor says, “When we are happy — when our mindset and mood are positive — we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Happiness is the centre and success revolves around it.”
The amygdala is that part of our brain responsible for 'fight or flight', and in cases where anger is a problem, it’s probably because you’ve gone into 'fight' mode without even thinking about it.
A mindfulness practice has been proven to decrease grey matter in the amygdala, and increase grey matter in other areas of the brain responsible for critical thinking, rational thought, and executive function.
There are many mindfulness practices available to try. Many of the more formal practices can take up to 40 minutes of meditation. However, here are many meditation apps available that can guide you through a practice that can range from 10 minutes on up.
Our thinking can create our feelings, as psychiatrist Aaron Beck discovered in the 1960s when he invented Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT.
This final video reminds us that anger, and anger management, has been a topic of conversation throughout the ages.
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Being the loudest in the room doesn't make you the most confident. Voice coach and author, Patsy Rodenburg puts this best by describing how we’re always in one of three circles of presence.
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