The Brain / Feeling Chain reaction:
Our feelings are a product of our thoughts. Feelings are nothing more than a chemical reaction in our brain. Did you realize that our master controller, our brain, works mainly by a complex interaction of chemicals?
Brain cells speak to each other by releasing and absorbing mixtures of chemicals which create all our thoughts, emotions, behavior and reactions. Each brain cell has approximately 50 chemicals called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are released by the brain and are the chemicals that spearhead our emotions. The brain has a reaction which causes a thought which in turn evokes a feeling.
Understanding this chain reaction is a key to anger management. We can choose to Cool down our thoughts or Heat them UP!
Why is this information important to Anger Management?
Because you need to realize that your thoughts create your emotions. Your emotions are a product of your personality and personal background. It is essential to comprehend that things that happen that make you angry may not make someone else angry. Here are a couple of personal examples. I am a planner and an organizer. I like to have things well scheduled, so they fit well into my weekly routine. I tend to get all worked up when plans change at the last minute. My husband and son-in-law, who have more easy-going personalities, rarely get upset with last minute changes. They can go with the flow much easier than I can. Here is another illustration. My daughter recently had an ultrasound that told her the gender of her baby. The first person my daughter choose to tell about the baby’s gender was her sister. I was upset that I wasn’t the first person told. This did not bother my husband at all. Distinctive personalities react differently to the same situation. Note, that your thoughts often control your feelings. Since your reaction is unique to you alone, not everyone will get angry over the same situation.
Thoughts can Fuel your Temper:
Consequently, we must become very aware of our internal thoughts and how they are affecting us. We can FUEL up our anger with our thoughts, or we can COOL down our temper with our notions. Let me give you another quick example. Let’s pretend I am walking down a street and see a friend and wave. The friend doesn’t wave back. I can choose to FUEL my anger with my thoughts by thinking things like, “How insulting!”; “Don’t they like me?”; “Who do they think they are?”; “This isn’t the first time this person had insulted me….why I can remember when they didn’t return the book I borrowed to them. Then there was the time they called at the last minute and canceled”. These types of thoughts will help to get you more worked up (Heated)and increase your anger. Instead, if you could notice your thoughts and calm them down by telling yourself, “Maybe they didn’t see me,” “They might have been in a hurry and didn’t want to get side- tracked”, or “They may have been lost in their thoughts.” Notice these types of thoughts should help you reduce your angry feelings and calm you down rather than riling you up.
Cool rather than Fuel your Angry thoughts:
In summary, our feelings are reactions to our thoughts. A key tool in anger management is learning to cool your thoughts rather than fueling your rage. Accordingly if we notice our thoughts once we begin to feel angry and make a conscious effort to change our thought pattern so that it calms us down instead of getting us more worked up; we will have acquired another skill to control our anger. Reduce your anger, by noticing and cooling your thoughts to tame your anger.
So when a person or situation has sparked your anger, the first anger tool to put in place is to notice your judgments. Your thoughts should be consciously changed to calm and cool your temper. Bring down your emotions with cooling thoughts like; “I can handle this, Stay calm, Everything will be OK”. Reducing you’re your emotions with calming thoughts is a valuable Anger Management tool.
If you want to change your negative anger habits but are having trouble doing this; a competent professional counselor can be helpful. An easy way to accomplish this is by booking a conversation with Vicki at www.supportivetalk.com or read the rest of my 15 part series.
If you would like to check into books on this subject, there is “Dance of Anger” by Harriet Lerner or CD: “Relax, Unwind & Sleep.”