A few nights ago at the hight of a hating exasperation I remembered a visualization technique from the wonderful book by Shakti Gawain: “Creative Visualization“. In the mids of the boiling blood feeling I found it helpful, and so it makes it number 1. I am paraphrasing a little, but here it is:
1.- I imagine myself within a protective cocoon of light. I am safe within the cocoon, and I strongly affirm that:
- All thoughts coming from others towards me that are beautiful and loving will travel through my egg of light and reach me; while
- All thoughts coming from others that are negative or harmful will contact my egg of light and the words sent back to the sender;
- I also affirm that all thoughts coming from me that are beautiful and loving, will travel through my egg of light and reach their recipient;
- While all thoughts coming from me that are negative or harmful will be neutralized by that light and a blessing sent instead.
2.- Breathe deeply and steady for 20 times, no less. No, don’t just breathe deeply, actually step away of wherever it is you are, find a new chair in a different room, sit down and purposely breathe deeply.
3.- Sit for a one hour meditation, it will be hell for the first 30 to 45 minutes, especially if you keep it real and maintain your eyes shut and don’t move, but you may feel better after this mark. Do not worry if you do not. Repeat daily. Do it as a favor to yourself, as a way to regain your energy.
4.- If you happen to be in the middle of a corporate meeting when anger strikes you can do the following:
- Mentally say to your self “Stand up! – say: “excuse me”- and walk away”
- Say that one time, then again, then say it again, just like Trinity tells her self to “stand up” after flying through two buildings and landing on her back in the first movie “The Matrix”. Talk your body into responding.
- Should someone ask why, strike a sweet smile and say “I have to poo”. It always works.
- I have been in this case way too many times to know for a fact that it is the only way to deal with it, you must cool off before proceeding. Once at the bathroom see point 1 and if at all possible put 24 hours between that encounter and the next one in which you need to deal with the same issue.
- If it is not an option, I would challenge the belief, change jobs, or simply pray
5.- Deep anger is sometimes related to issues with our parents or close family members. ALANON meetings are very effective in helping us clarify why is it that we are angry, and sometimes find healing and solace.
6.- Ask yourself: “Why am I so angry?” and be as honest as possible in how you answer to yourself.
7.- Many times anger comes from denial, from seeing things the way we want to see them rather than the way they are, it is important to run our thoughts by others, have a “reality check”. Perhaps a therapist or a member of a support group can give a different perspective. You can also e-mail three friends and see what they think. I do not recommend doing this often as getting too many points of view from people who do not know the whole story can confuse things even further, but in extreme cases, or when a decision must be made quickly it might help as collective intelligence advise.
8.- Taking up yoga helps in the long run, any style of yoga that connects you with your own truth will do.
9.- Connect with a higher power (in any way in which you understand it) and tell this power that you feel overwhelmed, to please help you. Ask, you will hear answers. Just to give you an example:
A few days ago while traveling with with my husband we had to rent a car and we were given a Toyota. I am not too happy about them because of what happened repeatedly where the cars have started accelerated on their own and killing people. But, waiting for another car would have taken 30 more minutes and delay all schedules. I was also reassured that all issues have been rectified. I decided to surrender and ask God to help me. Then we went outside to get the Toyota and keep our schedules. The plate read” “EZB”… or, “easy be?” answers do come from the most unusual places sometimes if we are open to listen. We had no issues with the car.
10.- Let it be, listen to the song, let the words melt you.
11.- Avoid gossip at all times because gossip is the main originator of anger. If you speak poorly about some other person behind their back it is guaranteed that they will eventually find out, it is a law, they will, sooner or later, and it will generate more anger.
12.- When someone is mean to you, as much as possible try to not fan the fire, make a resolution to stop the anger with you. This is the most heroic act a human being can do, it can also be the most difficult.
13.- “Kindness is my religion”, says the Dali Lama. When someone is mean, if possible, use elegance to diffuse. This does not mean letting someone walk over you, sometimes strong words and a reality check are necessary but in some cases we can see right through people, and notice that they are angry because they have a tummy hurt or they are jealous, or plain mentally sick. In these cases it might be better to acknowledge and let them be.
14.- Go to a Vipassana 10-day introductory course, I have found that this is the most effective technique out there to notice how we start reacting and how the spiral is unstoppable unless we catch it at the source.
15.- When someone is completely out of line, before responding think to yoursef :”God bless her/him”. It will instantly change your attitude towards the whole situation.
16.- When the anger is out of control, manipulative and/or sick, stay out of it, do not respond, contact, or try to explain, but rather let the person who is very angry go through their cycle of learning, and pray they will come out on the other side maybe healthier, maybe wiser. Train the perpetrator that you will not speak to them unless kindness or at least fair game is used as a medium of communication.
17.- Talk to a priest, rabbi, spiritual advisor, someone from a support group. Just talk to someone, let it out of your mind.
18.- Slowly train yourself to pause for 1 second before responding to any question, then 2 seconds, then 3. May not sound like a big step but the results of a small pause are powerful. Many times situations end up resolving themselves just by allowing for space.
19.-Take care of yourself, and avoid putting yourself in situations that will instigate anger. Yes, be true to yourself, yes, speak your mind, just phrase it so that it encourages, helps, motivates, adds value. Or as a very wise teacher once said: “be the change you want to see”
20.- Clean up your vocabulary because words are powerful, they are spells that we cast, they have the enormous power to hurt, to cause real wounds, or to heal and help someone flourish.
21.- Be especially careful when dealing with anger coming from children. Listen to them deeply and seriously, then seek advise, talk to professionals and friends, use intelligence and provide the best that your tribe can suggest. Children are the future and we want a society where anger can give way to respect, to happiness, to peace.
22.- Encourage open dialogue with strong boundaries
23.- Respect your own boundaries and create a safe space of peace within you. Especially in love or close relationships, even though counterintuitive, if you find yourself repeatedly being the target of anger stop communications with the perpetrator. It is tempting to keep on giving people a chance, but it is healthier for all involved to put ourselves and our own well being first.
24.- Get enough sleep, go to the bathroom for #1 and #2 every day, and drink plenty of water.
25.- Eat healthy.
26.- Get some sunlight every day.
27.- Take daily walks.
28.- After the first burst of heat wears off, and things somewhat calm down, write down your thoughts, try to learn from what happened.
29.- If you are really angry with someone write them a letter and describe everything, all the reasons why you are angry, let it all out on black and white. Then put the letter in a drawer and let it sit there for at least 90 days, see what happens, you may find that you change your mind or at least the urge to mail it is not there anymore. Never react instantly when in the midst of anger, it is sure to backfire and it never works out.
30.- Remember that we are all human and we are all going to die one day. In that light, death becomes a friend and we notice that it might be better to be in awe at the sunset rather than get caught in things that may not really have a solution, for now.
31.- I always say a prayer before proceeding in a situation where anger has settled in me.
32.- In some cases the hurt is unbearable. I look at the world these days and we cannot deny that some attrocities are happening and they are horrible. In these cases I think of this Gandhi story:
Nahari: I’m going to Hell! I killed a child! I smashed his head against a wall.
Nahari: Because they killed my son! The Muslims killed my son! [indicates boy’s height]
Gandhi: I know a way out of Hell. Find a child, a child whose mother and father have been killed and raise him as your own. [indicates same height]
Gandhi: Only be sure that he is a Muslim and that you raise him as one.
I am not sure I could rise to the level of Gandhi on this, when I saw this scene on the movie it literaly blew my mind, this is graduate level peace, but I suppose it is a good story to keep in mind. The portion of the script comes from here.
What are your thoughts? How do you deal with anger?
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