ANGER may be your most accurate emotion!

It only takes a few moments of reflection on our other emotions to recall when their role as ‘Mr. accurate-information-provider’ was off! Love…it seemed like a sure thing Fear…the snake turned out to be a stick Envy…their stuff was fake or not theirs Guilt…wait! that didn’t violate my moral compass …and so it goes with the other emotions…(don’t judge, your emotions were just trying to help) But ANGER, 99.9% accurate! If you look at “Prompting Events” examples on your Anger Handout you’ll recall the 4 Triggers (memorize these): 1. Loss (recall what you said when you found out you lost an important or expensive item – you probably swore) 2. Hurt (recall what you said when you slammed your finger in a drawer – you probably swore) 3. Unfairness (recall what you said when you discovered a betrayal – you probably swore) 4. Being Blocked (recall what you said when someone took your parking place or cut in front of you – you probably swore) Darn if it isn’t always 3, if not 4, of the triggers were activated by one event! (Swearing is always a good indicator you’re angry, so is judging, saying it should/n’t be…) Just as ANGER is 99.9% accurate, ANGER gives us advice (action urge) that is ineffective, but only 99.9% of the time (ANGER evolved to protect life, not our egos; the action urges are good for one and not the other [anger’s action urge was very helpful when I was mugged!]) So remember to identify the triggers when you are angry. Validate, validate, validate! Understand yourself and why you are angry. Hold in your mind your anger rather than acting it out, consider opposite action (yes, this increases self-respect). (Stop believing invalidating judgments: “Don’t be angry” “It’s no big deal” and “Get over it”) (Notice, we aren’t nursing or cheering on anger, we are trying to understand it) If nothing else, palms up while taking 10 deep breaths. If it is someone else who is angry, validate, and reflect: “That must be horrible” and if you can identify which triggers were tripped help them understand themselves (i.e., “that sounds unfair” “he really hurt you” “you just lost so much” “he really got in your way”. (I think people are afraid that validating anger will increase it; in fact, validation makes us feels understood, safe, and calm) We are all wounded healers, be one. Remember anger is not the problem, what we do with it is: anger¬†gives bad advice. St. Paul said, be angry but sin not. ¬© 2013 Jon Ubick, Psy.D.

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