It seems like anger is building out there and maybe it should be because the world is not working too well for many these days. Driving on the road the anger is evident. People are aggressive and impatient. Even in a parking lot I came around a blind corner and a guy called me a "son of a bitch" and I don't know why. The political world is heating up and most of the heat is anger driven. People are so angry they are even considering voting for Tea Party candidates who don’t have well thought out plans to make things better but they share in their anger.
Is the way to change getting angry enough to do something about what is wrong? Is being angry with government going to change it? Is being angry with politicians going to make things better? Is replacing the incumbents with even less thoughtful people going to improve our world? What is driving all this anger?
Anger from my viewpoint as a mental health professional comes from fear. If we are angry we are afraid of what is going on, we feel out of control, we don't know what is going to happen but we fear it will be worse. Fear is an emotional state most people are in denial of because fear makes us feel small. Anger is an emotion we feel is acceptable because we feel bigger and more righteous in anger. Doesn't it seem there is a lot of righteous anger out there. People are sure they are right and the rest of us can "go to hell" seems like the attitude held by many. There is full attach mode going on and anybody who disagrees politically, religiously, or gets in their way quickly is under attack. This does not seem like a positive development.
How could anyone be sure they are right? I have been studying human nature for over 35 years and I am only sure there is more to learn, more to understand, and a great need for more awareness and consciousness. Yet, there are many so-called experts with their opinions who claim to know, but do they, or are they run by their biases? There are also many who live in judgment over others for thinking differently then they do. There are many run by the beliefs of their religions and never question these beliefs. There are many run by their emotions and don't even know what they are feeling. There are many stuck in blaming and offer no constructive solutions.
What should we do with the anger that is pouring out all over the place? Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Don't take it personally - anger that comes at you is mostly not personal just emotions out of control and more about the angry person than about you
- Get tuned into your own feelings - when you learn to be aware of what you are feeling, you can acknowledge your emotions and be ok with them and then these emotions will shrink in their impact on you
- Remember all feelings start with your thoughts - if you are finding yourself run by strong emotions like anger, change your thinking so you don't make yourself so upset
- Stop blaming others for your emotions - you feel what you feel, no one has the capacity to get inside of you and make you feel anything, all you feel is self created
- Find out ways to release anger - anger is a big emotional charge that builds in your body, find ways to release this charge by doing something physical like working out, going for a walk, taking time to chill, even writing or creative expressing yourself can be a powerful release. Talking about anger can be an effective release
- Step back from what is making you mad – when you are able to observe yourself, you have a greater ability to make necessary changes. A mindful practice will assist you in expanding your ability to observe self and others free of judging
Lets all do our part in slowing down and being aware of our own anger, see what is causing us fear and than commit to taking care of what we need to do so we can live in peace.