Emotional – Activity: Manage Anger
Anger is a normal emotion that can cause problems when it is not handled correctly. We feel anger when we perceive unfair treatment, or are threatened or prevented from reaching our goals. When we handle anger correctly, we correct unfair treatment without harming others.
Anger and the Brain
Watch: Emotions and the brain and How the Brain Works with Anger
- The amygdala (primitive brain) has an instantaneous response to fear or anger
- A flood of chemicals creates physical reactions: increased heart rate, fast breathing
- When anger takes over, the thinking part of the brain is no longer accessible. Rational thought is not possible until chemical flooding subsides
- The body takes about 20 minutes to return to normal after a full fight or flight response. Psychology Today
Ways to manage anger
- Learn to recognize the physiological responses that come with anger. These can include: headaches, a clenched jaw, flushed face, tense shoulders, a fast pulse and racing heart, fast and shallow breathing.
- Take a mental pause to insert thought: Stop – Observe – Shift
- Practice coping skills like deep breathing, taking a break, or going for a walk before proceeding.
- Be aware of the feelings that are underlying the anger. Dr. Phil says, “Anger is nothing more than an outward manifestation of hurt, fear, or frustration.”
- Re-frame: look at problems as challenges, check the validity of assumptions, dispute irrational thoughts.
- Use I statements if you choose to express your feelings.
- Don’t take things personally (see the 4 agreements)
- Strengthen your self-esteem.
REMEMBER – the body takes about 20 minutes to return to normal after a full fight or flight response. Psychology Today
When someone else is angry
- Conflict Resolution Emergency Kit
- Dale Carnegie-say “I understand you’re upset. We’ll talk when you feel better.”
- Mayo Clinic
- The Amygdala Bypass System at Changing Brains
- Anger Management at Helpguide.org
- Anger Management & a Quiz at Mindtools.com
- Printable Dealing With Negative Emotions
- Shifting Emotions Exercise (pdf) from the University of Minnesota
- The Right Way to Get Angry from The Greater Good Science Center
- How to Deal with Anger from goodtherapy.org
- “How to Control Your Anger Before It Controls You” by Albert Ellis
- “Taking Charge of Anger” by Dr. Robert Nay
Learn more at the Power of a Pause for Positive Shift
This week if I feel anger, I will notice physiological changes and take a mental pause to understand what caused the anger and how to respond. I will practice deep breathing and other calming techniques. I will use a worksheet to analyze a situation when I was angry.
This is one of the weekly activities for a Year of Personal Development.
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