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Anger-obics Can Make Anger 'Work Out'

How to transform negative energy into a positive tool for anger management.

Anger Management Through 'Staging' continued...

"You need to identify your own triggers," Nay says. "And clearly see your own thinking distortions." Such distortions include "thresholding" ("If she does it one more time..."), catastrophizing ("The Beltway was a total nightmare"), or personalizing ("How dare he cut me off?").

The next step in handling your anger, according to Nay, is to chart your pattern of arousal. How does your body react -- and why? The "Five S's," as he calls them, can play a role. They are sleep, stress, sustenance, substances, and sickness. These affect your ability to be resilient. You may say, "I can't believe I got so mad over something so small," but maybe you had a rough night, gobbled or skipped breakfast, and drank too much coffee." Voila! Overreaction.

Once you understand how you think and see how your thinking may be off-base, you need to learn to communicate thoughts, feelings, and needs effectively. "I call this assertive problem solving," Nay says. Some suggestions:

  • Actively listen to the other person.
  • Respond only with "I" statements. Say, "When I got home, you didn't even say hi. This makes me think you're angry." Don't say, "What's the matter with you today?" That's a "You" statement.

Sustain ways of making these changes real. "And figure out how to deal with a setback," Nay advises. "No one is perfect. You could relapse in a second. I know what I am supposed to do, but even I am snippy to my wife sometimes."

Anger-obics

Tener describes Anger-obics as "moving your body to shift your mind." Think in detail of a situation with totally honked you off. Notice how your body is feeling. Is your jaw tense? Teeth gritted?

When you have an idea where your anger resides, focus on relaxing that body part the next time you get angry. Tense and relax that part. Breathe "into" it, exhale, seeing if a message comes to you about what the pain/anger is trying to tell you.

Or: The minute you get angry, try the Gratitude Attitude or send Golden Healing Light to the anger place. Ask for a message. If in doubt, focus on your heart.

Some other things to try:

  • Do a scarf dance with a light piece of cloth. The cloth represents your anger. Hold it on your nondominant hand. As it swirls, is it covering your face? Tangling you? As time goes on, it is getting calmer or wilder in its movements?
  • Try the Spiritual Warrior yoga posture. This is a warrior that does not fight, but installs peace and harmony. Stand a few minutes. Then say, "I am a strong, powerful man (woman). I do not need to use force to make my way in the world. I feel a strong connection to the earth below. I am strengthened by the connection to the sky above." Reach into the past for wisdom. Reach into the world as you take actions that are healthy and wise.
  • Walk on it. Write your grievance on a Post-It, stick it on the sole of your shoe, and stomp it away.
  • Clench your fist. Release. Stall for time. Tell the boss, "I will talk to you about this in a few minutes."

By the time you do all this, you may have forgotten why you were angry! But, Tener says, you may still need to examine the roots of your rage. These methods may only work in the short term.

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