5 great mindfulness tips to overcome anger

5 great mindfulness tips to overcome anger

Ralph Waldo Emerson supposedly said…

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of happiness.”

Not surprisingly, it’s hard to be happy if you’re angry; happiness and intense negative emotions don’t really work well together.

But the good news is you can learn to control or manage anger; and as a result, enjoy more positive emotions such as happiness…

via the Ladders by Eric Barker

There’s a voice shouting. Takes a second before you realize it’s yours. You feel energized. Righteous. Driving every point home. It’s like the climax of a courtroom drama and you’re the hero.

Too bad you’re saying a lot of stuff you’re definitely going to regret in 20 minutes. But, hey, at least you’re getting it off your chest, right? Venting the anger. Um, no, actually.

“Venting” just makes anger worse.

From Handbook of Emotion Regulation:

Focusing on a negative emotion will likely intensify the experience of that emotion further and thus make down-regulation more difficult, leading to lower adjustment and well-being.

And, as if the short term damage wasn’t enough, the jokes about anger and heart attacks aren’t very far off the mark. At all.

From The DBT Skills Workbook for Anger:

Research on anger has shown that chronic anger and hostility can increase one’s vulnerability to cardiovascular problems (Suls and Bunde 2005), cause problems in relationships, pose barriers to functioning at work, and get in the way of important goals (Kassinove 1995).

So what really reduces anger? Mindfulness. Trendy, I know. Before you go shopping for meditation cushions, perhaps it would be good to have an actual definition of the word.

From The DBT Skills Workbook for Anger:

Mindfulness involves paying attention to, contemplating, and noticing something while letting go of judgments and assumptions. To mindfully attend to something, you must take a step back in your mind and look at it objectively without evaluating it as good or bad, or right or wrong. Don’t try to change it. Instead, be open to the experience, regardless of whether you like or dislike it.

So how do we learn to be mindful? Dialectical Behavior Therapy is the research-backed weapon of choice against Borderline Personality Disorder, an affliction marked by overwhelming emotions that was previously regarded as untreatable. And it’s based on mindfulness.

If DBT can help borderlines get their anger under control, it can squash yours like a bug. DBT works.

From The DBT Skills Workbook for Anger:

Both DBT as a full-treatment package (including individual therapy, group skills training, telephone consultation, and the DBT consultation team) and DBT skills training have consistently shown large effects in the treatment of anger (e.g., see Lieb et al., 2004; Robins & Chapman, 2004; Stoffers et al., 2012).

Time to get some mindfulness insights from DBT and learn how to soothe the savage beast inside you so your life doesn’t end up looking like a Godzilla double feature.

Let’s get to it.

1) Study your anger

What usually makes you angry? Where are you when you get angry? Who makes you angry? Write all this down. And next time you find yourself shouting, add to the list. This isn’t important — it’s critical.

Usually we don’t even realize we’re angry until furniture is being broken. But if you know the circumstances that trigger your anger, you can avoid them or prepare yourself.

And we want to get even more granular than that. You want to make note of the signals your body is giving you that a rage-attack is imminent. There are three categories we want to focus on.

From The DBT Skills Workbook for Anger:

All emotions are made up of three components: physical (the way your body responds when you experience an emotion), cognitive (the thoughts that go along with the emotion), and behavioral (the things you do or have urges to do when you experience an emotion). Identifying the different components of your anger and becoming more aware of each one will make it easier to recognize your anger sooner (Linehan 1993b).

So with your list of triggers, you want to add the answers to these questions:

  • What physical things happen to you when you get angry? Does your heart pound? Breathing gets shallow? Do you feel hot?
  • What thoughts usually go through your head? “This isn’t fair” or “He’s being a jerk” or “This shouldn’t have happened”?
  • What behaviors do you engage in? Do you raise your voice? Clench your fists? Turn green and say, “HULK SMASH”?

These are the canaries in your coal mine. They can tip you off before the fury train leaves the station.

(To learn more about the science of a successful life, check out my bestselling book here.)

Alright, you have assembled your “Personal Anger Handbook.” (Feel free to decorate it with glitter and stickers, as necessary.) Now how do we start putting it to use?

…keep reading the full & original article HERE