Monday, June 13, 2011

The Flash of Anger

I am not an angry person. As a matter of fact, I am probably the exact opposite. I don’t like the way it feels when I become angry or the way it makes me feel when I am around anger in any way, shape or form. Even the most composed person can be pushed to the limits in a flash when anger invades our space. We may even be surprised by the fact it happens so quickly, and we may even feel momentarily out of control. Momentarily or not, this is not a good place to be.

The last few years I have been working on observing my actions and reactions to the everyday ups and downs of my life. This has brought me face to face with anger⎯how I react to it and how I deal with it. My observations helped me realize there are alternate routes to dealing with my feelings. I don’t need to feed the anger but dissect it in a way that helps me determine if my anger is going to be productive. I am learning to just stop, take a moment, and in that moment, LET IT GO! My observations have shown me a few things about anger:
  • Anger clouds my thinking⎯I don’t necessarily say what I mean or mean what I say.
  • Anger produces caustic emotions⎯These negative feelings build quickly and grow more volatile leading to additional emotional pain and provoke even more anger!
  • Anger hurts me and whoever else is in my line of fire⎯It physically invades every cell in my body creating a pain that my body responds to. It unleashes the fight or flight behavior. My muscles tense, my heart starts to pound and the heat begins to flush throughout my body. Have you ever noticed how long it takes to calm yourself down once that starts? Even if you have mentally stopped anger, it continues to course through your body for a time as stress.
  • Anger is not productive⎯It complicates things and generally takes me down roads I didn’t even consider taking, and creates quite a mess in the process.
  • Anger scares me⎯Who is this person anyway?
  • Anger is ugly⎯Have you ever seen your angry self or perhaps the aftermath?
  • Anger is not healthy!
  • Anger does nothing but motivate me to change my behavior.

Learned habits can trigger an anger response in a flash, but you can do something about it.

  • Start paying more attention to what you say, think and feel.
  • Take a breath, take a moment but learn to pause before you react.
  • In that flash of emotions ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”
  • Let it go!
When I let it go, I feel my muscles begin to relax as my heart rate slows and the pulsing heat fades away. My observations have helped me to stop the anger before I feel the physical change, and guide me to walk away from whatever it is I am feeling in that moment, because I know⎯it’s just not worth it. Walking away from anger helps me to be my best self. How about you⎯can you learn to walk away from anger with me? Take a big breath, now doesn’t that feel better?

Photo courtesy of Leland Francisco
© Copyright 2011 Michelle Clark