ANGER MANAGEMENT. The College Of Metaphysical Studies Online School (Click Left, Space Bar or Enter To Advance Each Page).
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For many people anger has become and automatic reaction to everyday inconveniences and frustrations such as traffic jams or waiting in line. Habitually reacting to even the smallest nuisance with criticism, sarcasm, and bitterness, a person is in danger of becoming chronically angry. Chronically angry persons develop rigid styles of thinking, so that they interpret others’ words and deeds as hostile and automatically respond defensively. Chronic anger can also affect the very meaning of life by gradually diminishing feelings of love and joy and damaging the spirit. Relationships may exist in continual disharmony or be destroyed by pessimism, outrage, distrust, and despair. To stay protected from the repeated pain of disappointment, angry persons may erect walls between themselves and others, continuing to experiencing life in reference to their own needs and desires and allowing external achievements to take precedence over their peace of mind and even their health.
When a person has a low resistance to tension his or her body is constantly tight and tense, lowering his or her resistance to illness. Some types of cancer may result from large doses of stress which anger carries with it.
To date there exists no single major outcome study on how to change anger. However, developing an internal control of anger involves dealing with thinking and for some people having spiritual ties helps them to do this. Spiritual practices such as meditation and prayer have been shown to decrease the stress associated with anger by lowering blood and pulse rates, slowing brain wave patterns, increasing oxygen consumption, and enhancing the immune function. Additionally, practicing the principles of spirituality, loving kindness, forgiveness and patience have been associated with a sense of inner-peace, compassion for others, and reverence for life, gratitude, and appreciation of both unity and diversity. The practicing of spiritual principles does not mean the eliminating anger, but presents a different way of viewing it.
People’s spiritual level may effect how they react to frustrations in their life. Therefore, it is hypothesized that people with high state-trait anger levels would show lower levels of spirituality and that those having lower anger scores would score higher on spirituality.
1. How am I feeling right now?
These are some of the names that we give to our feelings of anger! There is no cure for any of them. The first step in resolving our anger problem is to identify it as anger! The purpose of this step is to make our anger more specific. No one can manage anger that is vague and covered up with euphemisms.
2. What happened to make you angry? change anger. However, developing an internal control of anger involves dealing with thinking and for some people having spiritual ties helps them to do this. Spiritual practices such as meditation and prayer have been shown to decrease the stress associated with anger by lowering blood and pulse rates, slowing brain wave patterns, increasing oxygen consumption, and enhancing the immune function. Additionally, practicing the principles of spirituality, loving kindness, forgiveness and patience have been associated with a sense of inner-peace, compassion for others, and reverence for life, gratitude, and appreciation of both unity and diversity. The practicing of spiritual principles does not mean the eliminating anger, but presents a different way of viewing it.
If we can focus on the specific incident which triggered our anger, our anger becomes more understandable and more easier to manage.
3. Who am I angry at?
___ My own self
___ My spouse
___ My partner
___ My boss
___ The kids
___ The Human Race
___ My Life
___ All men
___ Other races
Our anger usually will involve five (5) general areas.
(1) Our anger at others, (2) Others anger at us, (3) Our anger at self, (4) Residual anger from the past, or (5) Abstract anger. See our books and tapes on managing and coping with anger for a more detailed discussion of these five objects of anger.
Now that you have established the fact that you are angry and that your anger has an "object" in the real world, you are ready for the fourth step in working through the anger process. You are ready to factor your anger into its main components. If you can identify the specific facets of your anger, you will be in a better position to put your anger into a more moderate and more manageable perspective. You can do this by asking yourself a series of focusing questions.
4. How did the situation make me feel besides angry?
(Example #1: I resent being forced to give into them all the time. It makes me feel powerless!)
(Example #2: His criticisms of me makes me feel unappreciated and good for nothing.)
Now that you have pin-pointed your feelings underlying your anger, you are now ready to put your anger in a clearer perspective. The next step is to "peel" your anger down to the next layer.
5. What about this angers me the most?
For example, you have established the fact that in the above situation it made you feel powerless, unappreciated or good for nothing. You are now ready to take a closer look at these feelings underlying your anger. What is it about being made to feel powerless that angers you the most? Some examples of what you might find upon deeper analysis is:
Having peeled your anger down to this level, you are ready now to penetrate your anger at its deepest level. You are ready to focus on the real issue underlying all of the prior layers and levels of your emotional distress.
6. Now, what about this angers me the MOST?
This level of self-analysis usually brings us down to bedrock. Down to the fundamental issue which underlies all the others, and which must be identified and relieved if we are to strengthen our vulnerability to mismanaging our anger – and making our lives more miserable than it needs to be. The answer found at this level of self-analysis often turns out to be, "I feel so worthless!" It is hard for us to respect someone who is stupid, helpless, inadequate and powerless! And when we have those feelings towards ourself, they destroy our respect for our own selves.
We lose our self respect and hold ourselves in contempt. The final step in managing our anger consists of replacing these feeling or worthlessness – even unworthy of our OWN respect – with its specific antidote. The only antidote for self contempt is self respect.
Read the statements below and indicate which is true for you.
___ How often would you say you believe in God or a guiding Presence?
___ How often do you put your fate in God or a guiding Presence?
___ How often would you say you feel led or directed by God or a guiding Presence?
___ How often do you experience feeling at “one” with nature?
___ How often do you participate in an outdoor activity?
___ How often do you take time just to be outside?
___ How often do you find the main meaning in your life through your spirituality?
___ How often do you find spirituality to be a significant part of your life?
___ How often do you devote part of each day to your spirituality?
___ How often do experience feeling at peace with yourself and the world?
___ How often do you participate in community service?
___ How often do you feel grateful for life?
___ How often do you experience feeling there is a purpose to your life?
___ How often do you find meaning in your daily work?
___ How often do you meditate or pray?
___ How often do you take time to practice spirituality?
___ How often do you feel a connection with other living things?
___ How often are you able to replace judgment with compassion?
___ How often are you able to replace anger with forgiveness?
___ How often do you feel happy and content?
The first step towards managing anger in our personal relationships appropriately is the identification of the mistaken attitudes and convictions that predispose us to being excessively angry in the first place!
Once these mistakes have been corrected, we will be less likely to fly off the handle than we were in the past.
The second step is the identification of those factors from our childhood that prevents us from expressing our anger as appropriately as we otherwise might. These factors include fear, denial, ignorance and so on.
These impediments to the effective and appropriate management of our anger towards others can be removed so that our suppressed anger will NOT compound itself inside of us as it has been doing for years.
Technique #3 now to penetrate your anger at its deepest level. You are ready to focus on the real issue underlying all of the prior layers and levels of your emotional distress.
The third step is learning the appropriate modes of expressing our "legitimate" anger at others so that we can begin to cope more effectively with anger provoking situations as they arise in our personal relationships. When we are anxious or depressed in our relationships, we are often experiencing the consequences of our suppressed anger. The problem is that we have suppressed our anger so deeply that we succeeded in concealing it from our own selves! All we are left with is the residual evidence of it, our anxiety or our depression. When we are depressed, very often we are also angry at our self without realizing it.
Learning to appropriately manage our anger at ourselves is the antidote to much of alcoholism and drug abuse. But the management of our anger does not end in learning these new and more appropriate ways to express it. There remains one last step.
The fourth step in the Anger Management process is to bind up the wounds that may have been left by the potentially devastating emotional impact of anger. "Anger wounds" left in us against those who have wronged us. If we do not complete this mopping up step, we will cling to the resentment of having been done wrong and will carry the festering residue of our anger and rage in our hearts forever.
One of the most effective means of giving ourselves immediate relief from anger in our personal relationships is to forgive others.
Something below the level of our conscious awareness prevents us from relieving our residual anger by forgiving the other person and we then carry a grudge in our hearts for thirty years! This unresolved anger poisons our relationship with our friends and loved ones. It even spoils our relationship with ourselves! We make our own lives mean and miserable instead of happy and full. Very often the feeling is, "Why should I forgive them? What they did was WRONG!" But, is forgiveness for those who only do us right? Most people have a hard time forgiving others simply because they have a wrong understanding of what forgiveness is! When you forgive someone, it does not mean that you condone or are legitimizing their behavior toward you. To forgive them means that you refuse to carry painful and debilitating grudges around with you for the rest of your life! You are "refusing" to cling to the resentment of them having done you wrong. You are giving yourself some immediate relief from your OWN anger!
To forgive, then, is an act that we do on our OWN behalf.
It has nothing to do with "lifting" the other person's sin! You are not doing it for their sake. You are doing it for yourself. This is a choice you are making on your OWN terms in order to relieve your OWN pent-up emotions.
Understanding the Goals of Negative Behavior
You can tell what the purpose of the someone's mischief is by the way it makes you FEEL when it is happening. Instead of reacting to the mischief, you can ask yourself, "How is this behavior making me feel right now? Which of the basic emotional needs is being sought?“
If you feel annoyed and irritated...
His or her purpose is to get your attention. The most basic and fundamental need of children is the need to belong -- to bond and feel connected to the parent and family. To be esteemed and valued as a human being. This makes attention one of the strongest motives underlying the child's misbehavior.
His or her purpose is to gain power and control over YOU. Children also have the need to be able to influence and control their environment. They strive to control the outcome of the events going on around them in ways that are consistent with, and in service to, their own wishes and desires. When they feel inadequate to do this, they become rebellious and defiant.
If you feel hurt...
His or her purpose is revenge! Children also strive to protect themselves from their "perception" of an attack or threat to their sense of self, whether real or imaginary. They perceive every reversal, major or minor, as if they were being singled out by others (i.e. parents, teachers) for special torture and punishment. They feel victimized and seek relief from their hurt feelings through acts of revenge.
His or her purpose is to withdraw from the task/situation for which he feels inadequate to cope. Children withdraw from overwhelming situations in order to maintain their immature sense of ego and pride, to escape the reality of their own inadequacies.
The solution: Disengage from the mischief
Disengage does not mean to ignore the emotional needs of our children. But now, you know exactly what is going on. You are disengaging from the child's mischief and misbehavior, not from them as a person. You are choosing to behave appropriately in the reality of the situation.
After you have disengaged from the child's mischief, you will feel relief from the tension, pressure and stress of the moment. You will feel in control, liberated, mature and secure within your own self. You will not take the child's behavior "personally" as if it was a true reflection of your own worth as a parent, and as a human being. You will feel appropriately responsible and competent to handle the situation. The more you practice disengaging from the child's mischief, the better you will become at it, the more the child will respect you -- and the more you will respect yourself!
Some people are more vulnerable to co-workers/boss mischief than others. They are more likely to take a co-worker's anger personally, (as if it were a true reflection on their worth and dignity as a person) and to overreact accordingly. Paradoxically, the more vulnerable you are, the more likely a co-worker or boss is to sense it and to make mischief with you in the first place. It follows, therefore, that one approach to reducing the amount of mischief you are experiencing on the job is to strengthen those areas of personal vulnerability that have been inviting it. This is how its done:
Phase One us.
1. The first step in coping with the negative behavior of a co-workers/boss is to identify it properly. To clearly see that, "this is mischief!" The person is doing something that does not need to be done. With a little practice, you will be able to spot mischief a block away and not take it personally.
2. Remember the definition of self-respect. "I'm a worthwhile human being in spite of my faults and imperfections. No one can take that away from me."
3. Catch yourself about to take a co-workers angry remarks seriously, as if it made sense in the real world!
4. Catch yourself about to "reason" him or her out of their anger mischief, as if reason had anything to do with it.
5. This shifting of our emotional gears from our old pattern to a new one, is call disengaging from the mischief. We are NOT ignoring it, or denying that it is going on. We know very well what is going on, only now we have a power we didn't have before the power to choose not to overreact.
6. Identify the underlying purpose of the anger and negative behavior. We do that by identifying the way it is making us feel right now. See understanding negative behavior for an example of this process
7. Armed with insight into the goals and purpose of the negative behavior of our co-worker/boss, we can deduce what kind of response they expect from us; the same kind we have always given them in the past, such as threats, demands, begging, cajoling..."brown nosing" ( these are all forms of our own mischief). They leave us feeling weak, powerless and ashamed in our own eyes. We can let them go, and respond in a self-respecting and appropriate way.
Phase Two us.
Very often, the last thing they expect us to do in these unpleasant situations is to agree with them! We are not agreeing that they are correct in their facts, but merely that they FEEL the way they feel. For example, you can say, "I 'd feel the same way if I were you."
Validate their anger
"I don't blame you for being Angry." This validates him as a person in spite of his imperfections by treating him with respect .
Give them a choice
They can talk to you later when they have cooled off or write you a anger memo. Ask them "what remedy is it that you seek?" or words to that effect.
Agree with them us.
Agree that it would be nice if they get what they want from you. We didn't say we'd give it to them. When we validate their "preferences", we are validating them as a person in spite of their negative behavior towards us. What we are giving them is some relief from their painful, out of control anger.
When we choose to behave in this new way, we are standing our ground, but not in a hostile, threatening, morally superior way. We are equal members of the human race, and we are letting them know that they have lost their power to provoke us with their "anger mischief" and shenanigans.
It will help us to emotionally disengage from these provocations at work if we can shift our focus from our angry, mischief making co-workers/boss and focus attention on ourselves to make a change in the way we have historically handled these situations. We are so preoccupied with their nonsense, that we often forget that we are a person too. We are no more perfect than they are. We are not morally superior, but are only an imperfect human being as well. This very understanding serves as the basis for self and mutual respect which is the "key" to conflict resolution.
We hope you have enjoyed this presentation. Should you desire additional information on this subject we suggest you consider ordering our course:
SA-105 Releasing Anger through Spirituality
TH-103 The Spiritual Approach to Anger
You can find a complete listing of our courses on our website at http://www.cms.edu/descrip.html
The College of Metaphysical Studies (CMS), located in Clearwater, Florida, has been a leader in metaphysical and spiritual education since 1986. CMS was formed after extensive evaluation of the educational needs of the Metaphysical, New Age, New Thought, Neo-Pagan and modern spiritual communities.
We are authorized by the Commission for Independent Education, Independent Colleges and Universities, Florida Department of Education to operate as a private, non-secular college and to issue Associate, Bachelor, Master and Doctorate Degrees in metaphysics, religion, spiritual awareness, spiritual and holistic healing, esoteric studies, parapsychology, and the entire allied metaphysical field. CMS trains and certifies ministers, spiritual and holistic healers, teachers, pastoral counselors, mediums, intuitive practitioners, past-life regression facilitators and administrators. Certification is by the New Awareness Ministries, International (NAMI).
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