Is your life pretty much like a roller coaster? You may be in extreme joy one moment but in the next, your emotion comes crashing down like a tide. You practically have little control. What you feel is pretty much dictated by the experiences that life throws at you. If anything, anger is a negative emotion that you often find yourself with. Well, I can pretty much relate to the scenerio that I’ve just described; it depicted much of how my life was previously.
With introspection, one important lesson that I have come to know is that it is very possible to detach myself from anger. Before, I would be so identified with anger that I totally immerse myself in it. The more I connected with my inner feelings of hurt and frustration associated with the anger, the higher the intensity of my emotions.
Although I tend to stuff my anger inside, I would be stacking up in negative energy, ready to burst. It used to take me quite a while to calm down, after that. Then, I had no awareness that I could think of anger as a state; a state that I could dis-associate (a term popularly known in NLP language) from.
The Scoop With States
What, then, is a state? A state refers to the sum of your emotional experiences at any given point in time. A state can be positive, reflecting a sense of happiness, joy and peace or it can be negative, reflecting sadness, tiredness, anger or frustration. Common states are: a state of panic, a state of boredom, a state of bliss, in a mess; and of course, a state of anger.
States do not necessarily have specific labels all the time. Sometimes, when someone asks you how you feel, your answer may be I’m in a good mood or I feel out of sorts.
When you are experiencing negative emotions, it is easy to incorrectly assume that this state as your whole Being. You (or more rightly, your ego) feel threatened; it now becomes a fight for survival. When you become so consumed with your rage and frustrations, it is possible to lose all sense and the ability to think clearly. You do not realize that You and your Ego are separate, and that to feel better, it is possible to change state.
“The ego is not only the unobserved mind, the voice in the head which pretends to be you, but also the unobserved emotions that are the body’s reaction to what the voice in the head is saying.”
—- A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
Anger Builds Upon Anger
Because negativity tends to breed more negativity, it is easy to go on a downward spiral when you get caught up in your emotions. At the office, you feel angry after a torrent of verbal abuse by your boss. Fearful of affecting your job security, you decide not to argue with him.
Unfortunately, after going home from work, your spouse reminds you about the mounting household bills. A fight soon ensues. For some peace and quiet, you decide to escape to your parents’ home, only to face more nagging. Your anger remains unresolved. As your frustrations intensify, you feel that it is not just those around; but that the whole world is against you! Negative energy builds into an internal volcano that threatens to erupt!
Why do You Need to Address Your Anger?
Anger can cause you to make unwise decisions, say hurtful remarks, destroy relationships and take drastic actions that you may regret later. It is an emotion that blocks your way to abundance. It is also listed as one of the Five Hindrances to Meditation, thwarting your way to peace and serenity.
“He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me. In him, who harbours such thoughts, hatred will not cease.”
— The Buddha
How to Create Anger Awareness
In NLP, we learn that it is very possible to change our internal state. The first step, obviously, comes with awareness. The more aware you are about your emotions, the more you can stop anger at its track should it arise.
Here’s a simple exercise. Simply close your eyes and get in touch with your emotions currently. What are you experiencing? How is your breathing fast or slow? How do you feel mentally stressed or relaxed? Do this exercise often so that you increase your sense of awareness.
States are often created by the way you perceive the world. In NLP, when you can change an aspect of your neurology and physiology such as rate of breathing, blood pressure, muscle tension, posture, you can alter your mental state. Once you are able to change your thoughts, you can also affect your neuro-physiological responses. It is a cybernetic loop.
How you perceive the world can be altered. The half-empty and half-full glass is a simple analogy of how you can perceive life differently. Going back to the anger example, you can choose not to bother with the honking of a car behind or choose to stop your car in rage, to confront its unreasonable driver.
Anger Warrants Investigation
I am not suggesting that from now on, you should simply ignore your anger feelings and perceive things positively. Ignoring a problem is never the solution. Anger unresolved is often a sign of an overload. It happens when you unconsciously accumulate an internal storehouse with anger. You collect all negative energy with the common theme of unmet expectations.
“There is a buildup of energy, but since the danger is only a mental fiction, the energy has no outlet. Part of it is fed back to the mind and generates even more anxious thought. The rest of the energy turns toxic and interferes with the harmonious functioning of the body.”
— A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
On the other hand, I am suggesting that you look at anger as a signal for investigation. As the above quote by Eckhart Tolle suggests, it may not just be anger but the physical symptoms of your body that may be telling of your bottled feelings inside.
What is key to understanding is that the anger is not really You. Rather, it refers to a state that can be altered. It is often ego-generated. Here is a good perspective to adopt that has worked for me:
“Anger is only a natural reaction; one of the mind’s ways of reacting to things that it perceives to be wrong. While anger can sometimes lead people to do shocking things, it can also be an instinct to show people that something isn’t right.”
With the dis-association of Self from the anger, it is then possible to become calmer. Only in calmness, can clarity arise. Only then, can you objectively evaluate these questions: Why are you feeling this anger? What is it that is making you this angry? Did it arise because your expectations are not met? Is it possible that your expectations are too high? Are there more ways of perceiving the same issue? Could you have really made a mistake about the intentions of the other party?
In Summary and Conclusion: How to Calm Down Quickly
Preparation is key to dealing with unresolved anger. You need to first take time to meditate over your negative emotions. Get to know your emotions intimately before any instance of anger. Be in touch with your feelings. Note your ups, downs and in-betweens. Then, when a major trigger gets fired off, rather than Be in a state of over-reaction, look at anger as a signal for re-evaluating your limiting beliefs and expectations. Dis-associate yourself and understand that it is your ego at play.
You can then choose to use EFT or any NLP techniques, to address your negative emotions. As you gain in awareness and understanding, anger dissipates. Few things rail you as much, going forward. Peace and calm is the order of the day! Your thoughts become charged up with positive energy; there is also more love and abundance in your life!
“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”
—- Chinese Proverbs