Anger manifests itself in many ways, negatively affecting our bodies, relationships, and daily activities. The Empowering Team finds HeartMath’s article on anger and its links to recommendations helpful in anyone’s quest to overcome this debilitating emotion.
What Is Anger?
Anger has been defined in many ways, from its mild forms, a loss of calmness, displeasure or irritation, to its most potent, hostility or rage. It can be a stress response to loss or failure, a defensive posture against an insult or perceived wrong, a reflex reaction to aggression or violence. Each of us knows what set us off and how anger can manifest itself: The head hurts, the neck and shoulders tighten, or worse, the entire body goes rigid, our breathing and heartbeat become irregular; we have trouble concentrating at the workplace, in school or at home; restful sleeps eludes us; relationships falter. (See Heartmath’s Recommendations)
When anger takes control, it is nearly impossible to focus on anything except that which has made us angry. Feelings of anger might dissipate after a few moments, linger for a day or take hold for months or years. Sadly, many people lead lives of one volatile encounter after another and don’t know why or how to overcome anger.
The Quest to Overcome Anger
As we strive to overcome anger we face the daunting task of breaking a pattern imprinted on our brains not only by repeated response to the triggers in our daily lives, but also a world where there is unrest in our neighborhoods, road rage on our highways and calamities in distant lands that are delivered to us electronically anytime we turn on the radio, TV or computer.
Eliminating anger and the longstanding habits that allow anger to trigger can be hard at first. The good news is HeartMath techniques have been proven effective in breaking the cycle of anger and all of its consequences. They’re very easy to learn and are based on extensive scientific research that has revealed how the heart and the brain communicate.
“Search your heart,” the saying goes, for therein lies the answer. Heart intelligence, we now know, is a resource that not only can help us overcome anger, but can guide us in transforming our entire lives as well, and the process can be scientifically monitored.
“In recent years, neuroscientists have made an exciting discovery. They’ve found that the heart has its own independent nervous system – a complex system referred to as ‘the brain in the heart.’ … The heart’s intrinsic brain and nervous system relay information back to the brain in the cranium, creating a two-way communication system between heart and brain.” – The HeartMath Solution, Childre and Martin, 1999
A Tip: The moment a feeling of anger starts to arise is the time to employ this simple exercise adapted from the HeartMath Go to Neutral Tool.
- Take a time-out to disengage from your thoughts and feelings, especially stressful ones. Actually say to yourself, “time out,” as you recognize and feel your emotional triggers, then step back from all reactions to them.
- Shift your focus to the area around your heart and feel your breath coming in through your heart and going out through your solar plexus.
- Tell yourself, “Go to neutral,” then remain in this neutral zone until your emotions ease and your perceptions relax.
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