REDUCING STRESS (pt.2): Basic Anger-Management Techniques…
Yesterday we built on type A behavior as it relates to stress, and today I’ll show you how stress relates to ANGER, because (alongside anxiety and depression) anger’s one of the top indicators of a highly-stressed person…
>> to get attention,
>> to vent frustration,
>> to intimidate other people when WE feel vulnerable, etc.
But since this week’s focus is stress, let’s deal with it from that angle first. Here’s some solutions:
———— Consciously Grow in Assertiveness ————
Take it upon yourself to be assertive about a minor issue at least once each and every day…
Anger often generates as a response to pent-up stress from a small issue that accumulates over time. Remember, it’s in the nature of everything to expand, so:
2.) That thing adds up, multiplies or extends until it gets to a point where “I can’t take it anymore…”
3.) This built-up stress bursts out into hostility, anger or passive-aggressive behavior…
I blogged about assertiveness skills a few months back, saying:
“…it’s hard to just use your words to solve problems when you’re mad.When your mad, your amygdala (the part of your brain’s “limbic system” responsible for processing emotions) diverts your minds resources in order to keep your anger burning.
So interestingly, at the times when you most need to be assertive, your brain’s CEO (logic) is less available to you because the amygdala forces it to rationalize your anger and keep that norepinephrine (a hormone underlying the “fight-or-flight” response) pumping…”
(In that blog, I broke down a simple, 4-step process for becoming a more assertive person, so check it out to learn more.)
———— Read Anger to Find Causation ————
You should also identify the source so that you can direct your energy on solutions.
This sounds simple enough, but it’s not: basically, you have to focus on WHY you’re mad instead of just trying to just stop it. It’s counter-intuitive, but you have to stop telling yourself “I need to stop getting so mad…” and find out what the anger’s trying to teach you.
If you’re around people who constantly say “you have anger issues,” it’s difficult because no one identifies with you and how you feel – you’re in a position where you have to teach yourself SELF-COMPASSION amidst others who may at some level resent you (or give off the impression that they no longer care).
It’s difficult for them to deal with you too, of course, and you should honor that, but what I’m saying here is that your anger INDICATES a deeper-level concern, so you need honor that too and start looking at it as a healthy response…
This means INTENSE REFLECTION, and solitude when you’re able to objectively think about your anger, stress and despair in a space completely free from anyone else’s input.
Also, in our 21st-century society, the cause and effect relationship for anger (and many other issues) can get very interesting and complex.
For instance, a well-known, presitigous college professor at NYU might suffer from “status confusion,” because while he’s at work, he’s a high-status, well-respected, powerful social figure, but on his subway commute home, he’s virtually a nobody, and when he gets home, his wife and family disrespect him as well…
This could create a conflict in his self-image – a disoriented identity where he feels confused, inadequate and even fraudulent as a human being (all of which may be dealt with through anger, withdrawal, addiction, etc.)
Likewise, our society has us all playing MULTIPLE ROLES, and for some of us, the conflict between these roles creates too much of a tension to handle without being directly addressed, because the human psyche has a need for a coherent self-concept.
Right now is the first time in history where status has been such a dynamic, constantly changing and unidentified thing. If this sounds minuscule or a little too far-fetched for you, check out Daniel Goleman’s Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships for more…
With the professor, he’d have to build social skills that him establish status and gain respect OUTSIDE of the work environment…this would lead him towards a more congruent self-image.
Essentially, the thing to do here is to reflect on the causation, and then create techniques from there.
Typically, anger – especially in males – indicates a feeling of dis-empowerment, so for him to “manage” it, he has to find ways to empower himself and raise his sense of self-perceived status (while respecting the needs and boundaries of others.)
Once he reads his anger (understands it’s true cause), it motivates him to re-direct his energies towards becoming a more mature man…
I’ll be doing more on anger-management soon. Click here for more details on tomorrow’s blog talk radio show, “Simple Steps to REDUCE STRESS…”