“When your rage is choking you, it is best to say nothing.”
—Octavia E. Butler, late American science fiction author
Image from Unsplash by Brett Jordan
How familiar are you with the Heimlich maneuver? You’ve probably seen it performed on TV in both dramatic and comedic situations. Did you know that you can even perform a variation of this procedure on yourself?
Dislodging an item of food to reopen an airway to breath is serious stuff. Sometimes, however, we find ourselves choking with strong emotions that, if released, can make a situation far worse.
Where have you or others in your life opened mouths and inserted feet or caused other difficulties?
Where and when is it best to say nothing when choked with rage or other strong emotions?
“Nothing burns like the cold.”
—George R.R. Martin, Author of Game of Thrones
Image from Unsplash by Frank Busch
Back in February, a wave of arctic air blew across Michigan. Not wanting to miss my daily walk, I bundled up and set forth to put in my 10,000+ steps.
During half of my walk, the wind was at my back and my steps felt easy and steady. Heading in the other direction, with the wind in my face, I noticed the considerable chill and the burn on my face, thighs, and fingers.
Where else do you experience cold in your worlds? Take some time to look at relationships — personal or professional — that are adversarial, in which you might be giving or getting the cold shoulder, or a frigid reception. Where do you notice the burn of anger, resentment, indifference, and judgment?
Consider engaging in a loving kindness meditation to warm up relationships in your personal and professional communities.
Sharing your experience of this exercise will be like adding another log to the fires of friendship. Please reply to this post with your own perspective.
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Image from Flickr by katmary
Research has shown that angry outbursts have a damaging effect on the heart, and increases the risk of a heart attack twofold.
This seems to be the case with expressed as well as repressed anger, when we try to hold it in.
Other harmful aspects of anger include the risk of stroke, and a weakening of the immune system, diminishing the body’s ability to protect itself and heal.
Consider any or all of the following strategies to reduce or perhaps even prevent anger’s harmful effects.
- Breathing Exercises
- Muscle Tensing Exercises
- Doing #1 and #2 Together!
- Exercise and Physical Activity
- Time in quiet, natural surroundings
“Speak when you are angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.”
—Ambrose Bierce, 18th Century American Writer and Civil War Soldier
Image from Flickr by Sid
When was the last time you lost your temper and really let someone have it? Perhaps you even rehearsed your speech and shared your seemingly justified attack articulately with equally practiced volume and gestures.
What happened after the initial “feel better” burst of adrenaline and getting things off your chest?
If you are like many, you may have experienced considerable fallout, and repercussions much like the aftershocks of an earthquake.
Where would counting to ten or a hundred, or simply holding your tongue more frequently, dramatically reduce the number of regretful interactions you experience?
“Better to be occasionally cheated than perpetually suspicious.”
—B.C. Forbes, 20th Century Scottish-born American financial journalist
Have you ever been duped, cheated, taken advantage of, or just lied to about an important matter?
If you’re like many, it can be the cause of anger, frustration, and sometimes even embarrassment.
What is the cost of being too trusting?
What is the benefit of assuming positive intentions by those around us?
Unfortunately, many people become increasingly suspicious and take a “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” perspective, building an “I’m No Fool” wall around themselves.
Where and with whom would an Assume Positive Intention (API) perspective make the biggest difference in your personal or professional world?
“When furious, get curious.”
– Author Unknown
Image from Flickr by isforinsects
It seems like there is a lot of anger in the world these days. Consider what you observe each day in such areas as our roadways, parking lots, social media, television – especially news programming – politics, the workplace, and even in our own homes.
How often are you the direct recipient of this anger? How often might you be a contributor to it?
Anger can be seen as the outcome of some triggered portion of our comfort zones, based on past experiences or events. The quote above is suggesting that instead of allowing the trigger to automatically generate an anger response, we enter a state of inquiring and curiosity to see what is behind this response – thus resulting in a more workable and peaceful solution.
Pay particular attention today when you observe yourself (and others) getting angry. Ask yourself one or more of the following questions to engage your inquiring mind and observe what happens:
- What emotions and feelings am I experiencing right now?
- What is occurring that is triggering these emotions?
- When else has that occurred in the past, and what was the end result of my response?
- What alternative responses are possible that will result in a more satisfactory outcome?
Consider picking up a copy of Susan Scott’s book Fierce Conversations to explore additional techniques that can assist you in similar situations.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the only one who gets burned.”
– Buddhaghosa, fifth century commentator on Buddha’s work
Image from Unsplash by Magnus S
No one in their right mind would ever pick up a hot coal to throw it at someone. In an instant, they would be raced off to the emergency room for treatment, and a very protracted recovery period. Most likely they would also bear considerable scars that would remain for years or perhaps for life.
Take note of the times when you observe the destructive force of anger today.
How can you minimize it, release it, or better yet, replace it with understanding, tolerance and forgiveness, to make for a more peaceful, accepting and loving world?