Tag Archives: Anger

Two wolves … attitude

Attitude is something you own and have control over.   In many life situations people demand control over the outcome.  Most of the time they realize that control is an illusion.   In fact we have very little control or perceived control of our lives.   There is one thing we do control and that is our attitude.

We own 100% of our attitude.   Attitude is a choice we make in every circumstance good or bad.   It is our choice to be mad, sad or glad.  We can be angry at the driver who is driving what looks like inches off of our back bumper.   We can be angry that the day didn’t work out the way we wanted.

Attitude has power.

This story is a great example of what we can do with attitude.

 

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, “My son, the battle is between two “wolves” inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

 

~author unknown

DSC03987

elements of change

 

Most often the change model is similar to the grief sequence of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, where denial, anger, bargaining and depression can be experienced many times. Occasionally people move straight to acceptance from the moment change is initiated and they become early adopters, or change leaders.

Here is another potential model where we have initiation, departure and return (a model of the hero’s journey, from Daniel Pink’s book “A whole new mind”). In departure there is an emotional trigger for change followed by denial or resistance. In the initiation phase there is some element of transformational change and significant learning. Once the change is complete there is the return where mentoring and coaching can take place as the individual has accepted the change.

The departure, initiation and return cycle is a change model that recognizes that change doesn’t just happen and stop but occurs over and over again. In many cases there are multiple change cycles occurring at the same time which can create a change overload.

Karim Rashid wrote, “if human nature is to live in the past – to change the world is to change human nature”.

Do you think human nature is to live in the past?   How difficult is it to change human nature?

What is your model for change?

Predictable Patterns

Our humanity rests upon a series of learned behaviors, woven together into patterns that are infinitely fragile and never directly inherited.” Margaret Mead

 

Continuing on with the theme of habits or predictable patterns what do you notice about your day that is totally a result of a pattern in your life?

Are there patterns in your life that are destructive?

For example are there things that just “set you” off, produce anger, irritation or high anxiety?   Can someone say something to you that reminds you of something unpleasant and instead of ignoring it begin to churn inside even to the point of saying something regretful?

We all have patterns in our lives.  Some patterns we should change for the betterment of self.   What patterns do you think you should change?

Some steps to take to figure out what patterns are in your life.

1.    Learn to observe yourself.   What are you doing?   Record it for a week or two.

2.    Which patterns create abundance and flow and which ones end up being criticisms of something or someone?

3.    Which patterns are predictable?   Someone who knows you could say “You will do this when /if _______”

4.    Have someone observe you.   What do they see?   Do you repeat time after time some phrase or action?

Let it go!

What makes you angry?

 Does something that might happen in the future make you angry?

Does something that is happening right this moment make you angry?

Or, does something that has happened in the past make you angry?

What triggers that emotional uprising within that surfaces as anger?

What if you could control the emotional well from bursting forth?

Take a moment to look at what emotional triggers generate anger within you?

Are they things you can control or are they things others control and impose on you? 

What choices can you make when there is a trigger that causes a flare up that causes distress within you?

Who is making the choice to be angry or upset?  

What would it be like to be anger free?  What would it be like to manage anger ?

It is possible with practice to release the emotions of anger gracefully and peacefully.

Take a deep breath …

Get on board! Get on Board!

Get on board!  Get on board!

 

Get on board!  Get on board the train that no one wants to ride on ,

Get on board the train to joy,

Get on board the train to happiness,

Get on board the train to peace,

Get on board the train to freedom,

Get on board the train to beauty,

Get on board the train to truth,

Get on board the train to love,

Get on board the train to life,

Get on board, Get on board, the ticket is free, get on board.

All you have to do is leave behind,

Fear,

Hate,

Greed,

Injustice,

Anger,

Malice,

Destruction,

Cowardice,

Death!

Get on board! Get on board!  The ticket has been paid for.  Get on board!

What are you waiting for?

Friends, dreams, emotions, do it today

Manage your emotions!

“We get angry with others in direct proportion that we are angry with ourselves.”

Albert Ellis

Begin today!

        “I’m going to stop putting things off, starting tomorrow!”

          Sam Levenson

Dream and keep dreaming!

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist

once he grows up.”

Pablo Picasso

 

Relationships matter!

 “Friendship is the highest degree of perfection in society.”

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, 1533- 1592

meaning

How do we view the word around us? When we look at something what we see with our eyes is translated from a form into a meaning. That is we attach meaning to things we see, we touch, we hear, we taste or we smell. For the most part we share that meaning with others at some level, but at another level we are highly individualistic in how we interpret what our senses are telling us. We impart meaning into those things we sense that is all our own.

If we can assign meaning to the things we sense that also means we can unassign meaning to those things. If we see a chair we can unassign the meaning of that chair so that it doesn’t mean anything.

Why would we do such a thing? Think about a time when you were upset at something. There was something there that had a meaning and most likely it only had meaning for you. We may have been upset with the meaning that the object had … “to get angry at a chair” for example means what? If we have the ability to remove meaning from an object we also have the ability to remove that which upset us – the meaning.

Where would it have practical application? What if you got mad at someone, I know that rarely happens, but what if it did? What if you took away the meaning of that event? What would you be angry at? If it is our assignment of meaning to things, events, or our senses then we can also change what that means.

Wouldn’t it be better if we could create peace in our own lives?

Think about it first …

What about consciousness, what is it? It is the electrical impulses that travel the nervous system that create ephemeral bursts of energy we call thought? Where does it go when we go to sleep? Why does it need to sleep?

What do we call this consciousness? A soul? The inside person? The self?

Let’s dig a bit deeper. Let’s separate out the function of the self into three components, the background, midground and foreground as places where conscious or unconscious thought takes place. In the background is the primitive brain (limbic system, amygdala) or as some would call it the “pea brain”, “the lizard brain” which takes care of our immediate responses of fight or flight. In the midground is the prefrontal cortex and this is where cognitive thought arises, this is thinking and probably the location of the “self”, if the self is going to inhabit any part of the brain. Finally, there is the foreground which is our connection to the outside world, our sensors, smell, taste, sight, and hearing take place here and are sent to the background or midground for processing.

Let’s say you are driving in traffic and suddenly the car in front of you slams on the brakes and you have to react immediately – in that moment no conscious thought is taking place, the immediate reaction is to put on your brakes. If the car safely misses that car in front of you all that emotion froths forward in invectives, strange taste in the mouth, involuntary motions indicating anger and an increased pulse rate. All of that happened without thinking about it, it was a reaction. This is a normal response to something that could have caused you harm. In time the adrenaline that was pumped into the system dissipates and you regain a sense of normalcy.

There are many situations that cause us to react rather than think first react second. The ideal would be to train the brain to identify the issue as a threat or not and process it with the right response. Anger in many instances is not a response to a valid threat, but an automated response to an external stimulus, and that anger can be controlled with training.

Anger is in general not processed cognitively, it is a response. Now, anger can be managed by understanding if the threat is valid or not and by taking a few simple steps the threat can be subdued.

The first step is recognition of the threat. Is it a real threat or a perceived threat? To answer the question is it real or perceived some type of midground processing has to take place. The act of consciously thinking about the treat and treating it as an emergency or as an event takes a bit of time and practice. One way is to identify things that make you angry. What things make you angry, where they real threats or just perceived threats? Write down what those events were. The next time something happens see if you can quickly identify that threat. Write it down so that you have a catalog of things that cause sudden unexpected bursts of emotion.

The second step is analysis, what is the threat and what needs to be done? Some things are going to get processed in the amygdala without any thought but those are probably important things to have happen in the background. It is those things that aren’t a threat that need to be brought forward to the midground for analysis. Things that might make you angry (that you know about), like being late for work. You woke up late and because of that you have to do everything faster and that introduces errors which begin to pump adrenaline into the system which ends up fueling anger, impatience, sharp words to others, etc. Are those things threats, no, they are manifestations of being late in the first place. Identify and then analyze the response, did it make sense to respond that way, why?

The third step is to accept the event rather than react to it. Take a deep breath and accept the event not as a threat but as an outcome of something that you are in control of. Try to slow down, take a deep breath and regain focus. Let go of the buildup of the adrenaline and let the tension be released in your body. Smile! Breathe! Relax!

All that to say we have parts of the mind that process things automatically and others that we think about and we call the thinking part consciousness. The goal is to neutralize the negative thinking, the angry response, or things that generate negative energy in our body and it can be done with practice. There are a number of methods to help bring the conscious and unconscious to a state of peace or balance.