Dealing With Your Anger

Self-Awareness 101 Episode 39: Dealing With Your Anger.

In this episode Willard responds to forum member's question about healthy ways of dealing with anger. Are you the type of person who reacts, or responds when things make you angry? A simple shift can make a world of difference.

< EP 38: How To Overcome Fear               EP 40: How To Find Your Passion > 

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Today, we're going to discuss ways for dealing with your anger.

Recently a young gentleman posted in the forums, in the suggestion area that he would love to see us do a video on ways for dealing with your anger. We had actually talked about anger a little bit in one of our previous videos surprisingly enough called "Living In Gratitude“ where I discussed how I went from being an angry young man into living a life of gratitude. But this gentleman brought up some great points in his post. He was relating to how there are many times when people are not being focused on self -awareness and because of that they are very "reactive" when something happens. They react with anger and they will lash out physically or verbally and do things that they regret later. Some of the things that he mentioned that I can definitely relate to were things like punching holes in walls and breaking things or screaming at someone and then wishing that you hadn't.

When I was younger, because of my size and the strength I had as a young child, there were times when I was wrestling with people and just playing around that I would accidentally hurt people. So when I would get angry I would control it by hurting myself because I was aware of the fact that even playing around I didn't realize my own strength and I would be scared of really hurting somebody if I lost my temper. So the way I would deal with my anger was to punch inanimate objects. Not the best way for dealing with your anger, but it is how I did it at the time. I would punch walls, cars, and lockers in high school. When you look closely you can see that my knuckles are still out of line from having done that so much as a teen.

Another way that I would react when I got angry was to inappropriately yell at people. I would belittle them and make them wrong. So much so, that even after being sober and on a journey of personal development for 20 years, there are still times when my mother feels like she's walking on eggshells because she had gotten so used to the way that I used to act out 20 years ago.

So the gentleman's question was related to what are ways for dealing with your anger? I really had to remember what kinds of steps I took to transform to how I am now. At that point in my life, I would of considered myself on the verge of being a rage-aholic. The ways that I had learned for dealing with your anger were not healthy at all. I took my anger out in very unhealthy ways. When I began the process of growing into who I am now, the suggestions that I was given were part of a process of changing who I was at the core. I could not expect to go from being Mr. Punch-the-Wall to Mr. Peace in one move. It was suggested that as with everything else, I take it step by step.

The first thing I had to do was become aware that there was an issue within myself as to how I was reacting to things. This is what we talk about so much in this series, becoming aware. Be aware that you are getting to the point of doing something physical or of yelling at somebody when its not appropriate to do so. Be aware of what you are about to do, and then choose to stop yourself or do something different. And one of the best ways I have found to stop myself, is to just stop and take a deep breath. That gives you time to think about how you're going to respond rather than how you're going to react. Again, if you're just starting to recognize that you have these kinds of issues, and are just learning about dealing with your anger, more than likely you are not going to go into a zen-like state from taking that one breath. So what I suggest is the first step in dealing with your anger is learning to tone it down a little. Find a way to respond rather than punching the wall and putting a hole in it or screaming at somebody things that you can never take back.

As an alternative way of dealing with your anger, if it is a physical outlet you need, go to the couch, go to your bedroom, go to your car and punch a pillow, punch the cushion, punch the seat. Sounds silly I know, but it is a way of physically getting the energy out, but not leaving remnants of your anger that are going to remind you of that fit you could have thrown. Meaning if you put a hole in the wall with your fist, every time you walk by that hole it is going to remind you of the experience. When you are reminded, you're going to have guilt, you're going to have shame, you're going to have a visual trigger that associates you to the experience and takes you back into that angry state, or feeling bad about yourself. If you take that moment, to take a breath and go, (argh!!!) then turn and punch the couch instead of something else so that you're not leaving a trail of destruction behind you.

If your normal way of dealing with your anger is just screaming at somebody, take the breath then go outside and scream. Or go in your car and roll up your windows and scream if you don't want other people to hear you. By doing this, by not taking your anger out on another person, you are toning it down a notch. Become aware when the anger is building and over time you can move from toning it down a little bit, to a place of staying at peace.

As an example there is something I do for myself every day to be prepared for things that may make me angry, even today 21 years into my growth and recovery, every morning I set an intention for myself to be mindful of how I respond to situations. Every day I do a meditation sometimes it is as I leave my house, sometimes before I do it before I even get out of bed, and part of that meditation is I set the intention that I will do everything I can that day, to respond to situations in a way that heals rather than react in a way that harms.

So many of us are just reactive. When any stimulus happens, we react. We usually don't think about the response or the consequences. We don't think about how we can do it differently.

So what I want to offer to you as a way of dealing with your anger is the following. If you are a person who reacts in fits of anger, where you do things that are physically or verbally destructive; remember that we can do irreparable damage with the words that we use and how we deliver them to people. If you are a person who is dealing with your anger by immediately going to those reactions, the next time you feel that anger coming up, stop yourself. Just physically stop. Shake your head, take a breath and then choose to express your anger differently. Again, punch a pillow, beat the crap out of the pillow, punch it 30 times if you have to. Punch the couch 30 times if you have to. Living in peace and having a healthy way of dealing with your anger begins with a small shift.

If you are the kind of person who normally yells at somebody as a way of dealing with your anger, take a breath and as you do take a moment and focus on how you can respond, rather than react. This is a process that will more than likely take you a few attempts to begin dealing with your anger in a healthy way, but over time you will find that it is a great option for dealing with your anger that can help you build bridges rather than burn them.

So I look forward to feedback that you have on ways that you use for dealing with your anger that we can share with other people. I also invite you to stop by the forum and respond to the young man's comment yourself. It's on our suggestions area on the very top of the page.

I look forward to connecting again soon. Take Care. 

< EP 38: How To Overcome Fear                EP 40: How To Find Your Passion >

Choose the next Episode you would like to watch from the list below:

Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription Plus

Introduction To Self-Awareness 101:  To Inspire, Educate and Empower
SA 101 Episode 1:  The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness 
SA 101 Episode 2:  How to Truly Learn from Mistakes
SA 101 Episode 3:  To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past
SA 101 Episode 4:  The Meaning That We Give Things
SA 101 Episode 5:  Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal
SA 101 Episode 6:  Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
SA 101 Episode 7:  Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever Say
SA 101 Episode 8:  Making Time For What's Truly Important
SA 101 Episode 9:  Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To Be
SA 101 Episode 10:  Tap Into The Sources Of The Universe
SA 101 Episode 11:  The Four Agreements
SA 101 Episode 12:  Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up Anyways
SA 101 Episode 13:  The Power Of Belief Systems
SA 101 Episode 14:  Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
SA 101 Episode 15:  You Always Have Choices, It's OK To Say No
SA 101 Episode 16:  Encountering External Resistance To Change
SA 101 Episode 17:  Creating A Supportive Environment
SA 101 Episode 18:  Our Decisions Determine Who We Become
SA 101 Episode 19:  Questions To Ask When You Overcome An Obstacle
SA 101 Episode 20:  A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
SA 101 Episode 21:  The Meaning Of Honesty
SA 101 Episode 22:  Living In Gratitude
SA 101 Episode 23:  Repetitive Patterns
SA 101 Episode 24:  Non-Verbal Cues
SA 101 Episode 25:  Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
SA 101 Episode 26:  Positive Thoughts And Positive Intentions
SA 101 Episode 27:  Active Listening Skills
SA 101 Episode 28:  How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
SA 101 Episode 29:  Positive Affirmations
SA 101 Episode 30:  Basic Meditation Exercises
SA 101 Episode 31:  Personal Development At Work
SA 101 Episode 32:  Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 33:  Eliminating Clutter  Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 34:  How To Forgive Others
SA 101 Episode 35:  Self-Forgiveness
SA 101 Episode 36:  Deepening Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 37:  What Is Fear?
SA 101 Episode 38:  How To Overcome Fear
SA 101 Episode 39:  Dealing With Your Anger
SA 101 Episode 40:  How To Find Your Passion
SA 101 Episode 41:  Increasing Your Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 42:  How To Feel Deserving
SA 101 Episode 43:  How To Be A Humble Observer
SA 101 Episode 44:  Progress Not Perfection
SA 101 Episode 45:  Expectations And Perfectionism
SA 101 Episode 46:  Dealing With Anger
SA 101 Episode 47:  Taking Responsibility For Yourself
SA 101 Episode 48:  Achieving Higher Consciousness
SA 101 Episode 49:  Trust Life
SA 101 Episode 50:  Being Skeptical
SA 101 Episode 51:  Benefits Of Closure
SA 101 Episode 52:  The Final Episode 

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