The creative use of ANGER
Anger is okay, it’s what we do with it and how we choose to channel Anger that is important. Anger has a negative destructive side and conversely positive up side.
Sitting on your feelings, in general, dampens your creative fire. Learn simple techniques that release anger so you can channel your creative fire into positive actions.
The Emotional Cocktail
Anger is an extremely powerful emotion containing a cocktail of other emotions. Feelings such as fear, grief, resentment, bitterness, jealousy, rejection, being misunderstood, frustration and the list goes on.
The list of emotions can be broken down into more emotions so anger can be quite complicated. The good news is you can learn to manage your anger and provided there is a motivation to change, the way you behave, then you can tap into the creative side of anger making friends with the angry monster.
We have choices
We all have choices and you can choose how you interact with your anger. I was listening to lady who worked in social services and a client, whom she had worked with for around a year; so she was in professional relationship with him and there was mutual trust. On one occasion he was getting more and more angry until his language started to become abusive. At this stage she said that she was not prepared to put up with his behaviour and got up to leave. At this point he changed is state very quickly from reacting negatively to his anger, calmed down and apologised.
The man had a pattern interrupt and he made a choice there and then. He changed his emotional state and he turned down the volume and tone. I believe this is a good example to confirm we can change state quickly and easily if we choose to. I do not know where his anger was on a scale of 1 – 10 but I doubt it was off the Richter scale so it was probably easier for this man to change state as opposed to someone who has completely lost it.
The man was probably using his anger to control the situation and he was called on it. He decided to back-down and resumed his communication and relationship with his social worker in a more appropriate manner.
He had an investment in both behaviors. Getting aggressive was likely to get him something. By backing down he realised he was more likely to get his needs met.
If the social worker walked out he was going to loose something that had value by being in that relationship. And she may have threatened to take away a perk or privilege for his bad behaviour.
So what happens when we completely lose it and the angry monster takes over? Read on. This is when the real problems start.
The Chemical Cocktail
One of the reasons anger can be so powerful is that a chemical change takes place when the red mist starts to rise. Certain chemicals are released into the blood stream and are circulated around the body and this takes place very quickly. It’s likely you have heard of Adrenalin which is our fight or flight mechanism designed to keep us safe in an emergency.
There are other powerful chemicals at work and one important brain chemical called a neurotransmitter is seratonin. When serotonin levels are low there is the risk of Depression, suicide, addiction, sexual deviance and anger / rage. When serotonin levels are high the tables turn and there could be behavioural signs such as shyness, obsessive compulsive behaviours, lack of self confidence and subdued levels of aggression.
Research has been done into the association between mercury in amalgam fillings and how excessive mercury affects the uptake of various body chemical such as serotonin thus lowering serotonin levels in the system.
Destructive use of Anger
As mentioned earlier, anger can be constructive and it can be destructive. To make the best use of anger and find the constructive elements we can learn to respond appropriately to our feelings of anger. It is when we react to our anger that we can behave in a less than appropriate way, becoming anti social displaying such behaviours as physical violence and abuse, verbal violence and abuse, emotional and mental violence and abuse.
Bitterness and resentment are like taking a poison and expecting someone else to die.
Constructive use of Anger
Anger is a huge vital life force with potential for healing and good, but it can turn into many other things. Aggression, hostility, wanting to injure, or anger turned in as self-hatred are all reactions and avoidance of feeling the intensity and vulnerability of pure anger.
When we allow fear to take hold of our minds – we trigger the “fight or flight response”. This is a hard wired reaction to a feeling of being threatened. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a tiger jumping out in front of you or the FTSE value dropping off the bottom of your screen – any fear will trigger the response.
When we go into “fight or flight” mode numerous changes occur in our physiology and psychology – all designed to improve our chance of survival. Physiological changes include releasing adrenalin, increasing heart rate, rapid shallow breathing, constricting blood vessels, increasing blood pressure and shutting down digestion. All our resources are optimised for the large muscle activity required to “fight or flight”.
Similar changes occur in our brain. We shut down non essential functions and use the most effective part of our brain for survival – the reptilian brain. The two main areas we shut down are the limbic (or mammalian) brain and the neo-cortex. And this is exactly the wrong thing to do to counter a non-physical threat. You see the limbic brain is where our emotional and communications skill comes from and the neo-cortex is where our intelligence and analytical abilities reside.
So just when we need cool heads, clear minds and effective communications we revert to thoughtless, emotionless, aggression! But you can excel in the challenging times ahead. If you learn how to prevent the carnage and chaos around you from triggering the “fight or flight” response you will be able to think, feel and communicate far better than you thought possible.
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