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Joy, Love, and Peace in 2015

Attitiude Reconstruction  

March  2015                                                  All about Anger


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Jude Bijou
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Jude Bijou MA MFT is a respected psychotherapist, professional educator, and workshop leader. Her multi award- winning book is a practical and spiritual handbook to help you create the life you desire. 
 
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Hello Jude:

 

Thanks a million for taking time out from your busy schedule last Fri. to record your return interview for my program 'Middle Age Can Be Your Best Age'. You offered some great ideas for really great Valentine gifts this year--so much more meaningful than the usual card & candy. It's so true that what our loved ones really want from us is our undivided attention & devotion at least on this one special day.

Best regards,

Roy

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Hello Friends,

While you drink your green beer, read on about anger. 


But first, here's a short clip from Everyone Loves Raymond on anger from a child's perspective.

Three Studies of Interest about Anger

1.  Scientific researchers are catching up to Attitude Reconstruction. This report concludes that intense anger and fear are linked to increased risk of heart-attacks. It found that in the two hours after expressing anger destructively, subjects were 8.5 times more likely to have a heart-attack. But even more astonishing, they found people were 9.5 times more likely to have a heart-attack after an intense anxiety attack.

In the study, intense anger was classified as at 5 or above on a scale of 1 to 7 (ranging from 5 - "very angry, body tense, clenching fists or teeth, ready to burst," to 7 - "enraged, out of control, throwing objects.") And these outbursts were reportedly caused by arguments with family members (29 percent), arguments with others (42 percent), work anger (14 percent) and driving anger (14 percent).

 

We've got to handle our anger and fear constructively, otherwise we endanger our hearts!

 

 

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2. For those of you that have been accused of being narcissistic, according to this article, the best way to determine if you are is by answering one simple question: "To what extent do you agree with this statement: 'I am a narcissist.'"


Narcissism is associated with the emotion of anger -- we are wrapped up in how cool we are and put ourselves before others. In line with this thinking and according to Attitude Reconstruction, "selfishness" is one of four attitudes associated with anger.

The article also states: "The widest gender gap in the study was around the concept of entitlement, the authors report. They suggest that men are more likely than women to exploit others and that they feel a greater entitlement to certain privileges." Since women have just as much anger as men, I suggest that men feel more entitled to act on it.

 
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3. Here's an interesting article about some research that concludes that hungry people are cranky people. (FYI -- "cranky" is a feeling associated with anger.)


"You might want to save some of this rage for your woodpecking."


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By-the-by, one of the best ways to decrease the emotion of anger and increase love is by giving appreciations and looking for the good, rather than dwelling on what's lacking or not working. Here's a lively video and song called "3 Things" by Jason Mraz that captures the spirit.

How to get a Grip on Anger before it Does Damage   

 

Everywhere you look in the media, you'll find coverage and outrage about physical assault, analysis about why partners stay in abusive relationships, and why people feel justified to strike out. However, what you don't see are viable solutions to this widespread problem.

 

Anger is an Emotion

 

Anger in itself is not a bad thing. It is the natural emotional response when we perceive injustices and violations, just as it's natural to cry when we experience hurts and losses.

 

Anger is an emotion - Energy + motion -- it is just a pure sensation in our bodies. According to Carol Tavris, author of Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion. Symptoms can "include teeth grinding, fist clenching, flushing, prickly sensations, numbness, sweating, muscle  tension, and body temperature rises." Anger is merely energy in our bodies; just as wind is energy, so are emotions.

 

On the physical level we experience increased heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of adrenaline. In terms of brain chemistry, anger stems from the amygdala, which responds to threats with alarm and an automatic reaction to protect ourselves.

 

Expressing anger doesn't mean you're a violent person. But when that heated energy remains bottled up, something's going to give: and we'll default to destructive ways of thinking, speaking, and acting.

 

When we don't handle that energy physically, it gets directed outward onto other people, things, and situations. We don't accept what we see, judge it negatively, and self-righteously feel convinced that if the world and/or other people would just conform to how we think they should, everything would be just fine.  

 

Our unmet expectations, and our "shoulds," also fuel more anger. Putting expectations on others is a habit that keeps us feeling angry. It creates feelings of separation and magnifies differences, thereby diminishing the amount of love we feel. Rather than continuing to stew in anger and then explode verbally, mentally, or physically, there is something simple we can do.  

 

 

It's Time to Take Personal Responsibility

 

Identify when you're feeling that energy in your body - hot, aggressive, desire to strike out verbally or physically-- and deal with the emotion constructively. Follow the lead of a toddler and have that temper tantrum rather than blast it onto others and destroy things of value.

 

Express the Anger Energy Physically

   

Find a safe place where you can release pent up emotion physically and naturally - that hot, surging, tightening sensation in your body - in a non-damaging way. (You'll only feel embarrassed until the satisfaction and benefits become obvious.)  

 

Take yourself to that place where you can let go and express the energy hard, fast, and with abandon. If you release anger energy physically and constructively, you'll be too tired to fight!

An easy way to do this is to lie on your back on a bed and flail your arms, legs, and head, while yelling and grunting.  

 

Here's a link that shows Christy constructively moving the anger energy out of her body. She felt great when she was finished! 

 

Make sounds and noises because emotions are beyond the realm of words. No blaming or swearing. If you use words, yell something like, "I feel so angry. I feel so mad. I feel so pissed!" Swearing or saying negative things while expressing anger physically, just stokes the fire and reinforces thinking that the outside world is the problem. You'll still be mad.

 

Pound clay or bread dough. Throw rocks. Yank out weeds with abandon. Stomp around. Push against a wall or doorjamb. Shout into a pillow. Move the energy out of your body. Do it hard, fast, and with abandon, until you're exhausted. Catch your breath and do it again. Repeat until you can't anymore!

 

Change your point of view

 

End your healthy meltdown by reminding yourself, you must accept the reality -- what is, is.

 

The best way to do this is to remind yourself, over and over, that: "People and things are the way they are, not the way I want them to be," "This is the way it is," or "That's the way they are."

When these phrases are repeated with focus and enthusiasm, your anger turns into amused acceptance.  After repeating these words for a few minutes, it becomes a fact, instead of a big conflicting deal.

 

Acceptance does not mean passivity. First accept, and then speak up and act from a loving, centered place. Let go of your fantasy of how it should be, and accept what is, even though in your perfect world you'd do it differently.  

 

Look within to Determine what is Constructive Action

 

Now you can look within your heart to decide what you need to say and/or do about the specific event in order to honor yourself and all involved. Once you put your mind on hold, pause and ask yourself, "What would be the highest / most loving thing to do?" "What will bring me more joy, love, and peace?" Listen from your heart to what really resonates for you. 

 

Maybe it's to remove yourself from the situation temporarily. Maybe it's best to say nothing, take a stand, organize, or initiate a discussion. Only you know what will make you feel resolved. So you've got to ask yourself, not rely on what others might suggest.  

Make a Tangible Plan

 

When you are clear about what you need to say and do, focus on making a plan and getting very concrete. Then you can reach your goal and truly align with your best self. The devil is in the details (whatever that means). Like painting a house, it's all the prep that takes the time but is essential to having an outcome you are pleased with.  

   

Speak up and Take Action

Now, if you know you need to speak up to feel like you can let it go, be sure you talk about what's true for you. This means your communication is not laced with finger-pointing and global generalizations. You need to stick with addressing one specific situation at a time, saying what you need, want, believe, etc and doing so, in a kind way.  

 

Follow through with what strategy will bring more love and more connection. Little steps. Execute your plan, with a willingness to be flexible, depending on what unfolds.

 

A Vision for the Future

 

Just think if we legitimized emotions and designated a safe zone in every school, prison, hospital, office, and home, where we can go when we're on emotional overload. We spare ourselves and others so much damage, hurt, and craziness.

 

 

                           Hey Jude-a-Thon  

 

I'm afraid someone will hear me getting my anger out and call the police. Is there something less noisy I can do?

 

Your ability to release anger will be compromised if you're concerned about the effects of the noise. I suggest you dedicate an area to your emotional fitness training. Where can you safely go and not disrupt others? The garage? Back bedroom? Have a little talk with the people living nearby so they don't think your life is in danger and become alarmed. If this feels too personal to share with a neighbor, reduce the noise by trading the telephone book for your mattress. Or try pounding the air, lying on a bed and thrashing your arms and legs, or shaking a door on its hinge.

 

My adolescent son is beating up other kids at school, and I'm at a loss about what to do.

 

All children have reasons to feel angry, because injustices and violations are part of being alive. Your son has decided to deal with his anger by acting out against his peers. He needs a physical outlet for his anger that neither gets him in trouble nor hurts others or himself. If your child learns to vent his emotions physically and constructively, he will be more likely to talk about what's really bothering him. It's likely he doesn't even know, or might not be able to confide in you unless you take a stance of genuine acceptance, listening to what he has to say. When he does speak, patiently listen to what's going on in his world. After plenty of uninterrupted listening, you'll discover the source of his emotions and together you can find a workable solution. This will provide a great teaching moment and you can demonstrate how you constructively deal with getting your anger out.

How can my partner and I get our anger out together?

 

When you are both calm, decide what you'll do at times when you are upset. One way is to have two stacks of phone books and simultaneously pound the heck out of them. It's the perfect thing to do when tempers flare. If you're an adventuresome couple who want to drain your anger buckets together, in a way guaranteed to foster love, I suggest that you try the following: stand with your arms fully extended at shoulder height, facing each other; use your legs to brace yourself (the physically weaker partner can use a wall for added support); make sure both of you are ready before you push against each other's hands while making sounds of anger. Don't try to manhandle your partner. You're not trying to overpower them. Both people are simply moving their anger energy out by pushing against one another. To take this exercise a quantum leap further, I encourage you to shout, "I love you" at the same time!

The last time my fiancÚ and I fought, it got nasty. When I told him that my parents agree with me about how self-absorbed he is, he really flipped.


You know how a grill's flame goes sky-high when you throw lighter fluid on it? Bringing in a third party to justify your position does the same thing. And the ends of your hair might even sizzle from the heat. Your fiancÚ can't help but feel angry, because mentioning your parents leads him to feel as if you're ganging up on him with other people not even present in the room. Whenever you unilaterally make your private relationship problems public, you introduce an additional issue to resolve. In this case, you have the original topic that you were trying to discuss and you've added your decision to involve your parents. I suggest that you apologize for your communication mistakes and then do some more listening so that he feels truly understood.

 

Do you have any tips for what to do when my partner and I start bickering?

 

Any kind of "you-ing" is a hot bed of negativity and exponentially increases the chances of saying something hurtful and damaging. Halt that process immediately by switching to the trading time format. The other strategy is to stop talking, take a time-out, and agree on when you will discuss the issue again at a calmer moment. In the interim, re-center yourself by pounding out your anger energy, accepting your differences, locating the specifics, and/or finding your "I" about each topic.
 

I enjoy teasing and kidding. It's my humor. Are you suggesting that I give it up?

 

You're asking for trouble with this kind of communication style. You are "you-ing" other people, and your fun is at their expense. What you call humor has an angry edge and hurts other people, causing them to become cautious around you. Stick to the "I's and specifics, and I promise that you and others will feel more comfortable. Remember that your anger is in charge if you can't speak with love. If you continue with your present style, expect major resistance or lukewarm receptions.

I say such terrible things when I'm angry. The words just fly out of my mouth. How can I change this?

 

Right out of the gate, become aware of the physical warning signs of an impending outburst. Physical signals -- heat rising on the back of your neck, a pounding heart, breaking into a sweat -- immediately mean you need to take a break, saying something along the lines of, "I don't want to blow up and say something I'll regret, so I'm going to take a few minutes." Express your anger physically and/or power on accepting what it is that bugs you. When you feel more centered, you can locate the specific thing that set you off and find your "I" about the topic. Return, deliver what you have to say with kindness and a smile, then watch possibilities unfold before your eyes.
 

       

   


         SAVE THE DATES
   
 
Come join me for 5 days of Attitude Reconstruction at the  HollyhockLearningCenter 
in beautiful Cortes Island, British Columbia, August 9 - 14, 2015.


The setting is pristine, the food divine, the community welcoming, and the vibe relaxing. There's time for kayaking, hiking, massage, hot tubs, conversations, and meditation.



In a non-confrontational setting, address your issues of sadness, anger, and fear and become your best self. Discover and play with how to use your five innate tools--emotions, thoughts, intuition, speech, and action--to replace destructive thinking and behaviors with constructive attitudes that increase joy, love, and peace. 
 

 
 
Reasonably priced. Treat yourself to a great summer.
I'd love for you to join me!

If you have any feedback, suggestions, or comments, I enjoy hearing from you. Write me at: jude@AttitudeReconstruction.com

I'm wishing you and yours plenty of love.
  
                                                             Cheers,
                                                             Jude