“4 steps to Breaking The Anger Habit”

Anger is a response learned in childhood to protect us

from the vulnerable feelings that lie beneath the protection.

Four steps that have helped me break the anger habit and reverse the negative consequences that inevitably accompany it are: Awareness, Returning to Center, Learning and Cleaning Up Messes.

Step 1. Awareness – Anger indicates a disconnection from the heart. (Words that to me are the same as heart include: soul, center, essence, true self, authentic self, or Spirit.)  A heart connection is accompanied by compassion and an openness to learning.  When we have committed to being heart-connected more of the time, this awareness gives us choice.  Without it we’re stuck blaming others for our anger, making excuses for it or self-righteously justifying it.  With the awareness that our anger has triggered something in us we take personal responsibility for our choice to either continue being angry or do something that returns us to our center.

Step 2. Returning to center – We all know how to return to center.

Such behaviors include: taking a deep breath (or 2 or more), doing a physical activity such as running around the block, dancing or pounding a pillow, putting on a piece of music that opens our heart, taking a walk in nature, (doing something that makes you smile awhile – editor’s note) or free form writing of our feelings.

Step 3. Learning – Once we’re back in our center we can learn more about the fears and beliefs that got us off center and what we can do to resolve those fears by bringing our beliefs into alignment with our heart.

Step 4. Cleaning up messes – Anger has a negative effect both on ourselves and our relationship with those at the other end of our anger.  Cleaning up these effects means taking responsibility for disrespecting others and expressing our sadness to those whom we have disrespected.  This is essential for rebuilding the trust that is eroded by our anger.

Judging ourselves for getting angry makes taking responsibility much more difficult.  Seeing anger as merely a disconnection from our heart rather than as bad or wrong makes it easier.  The analogy that I use that has made it much easier to not blame myself can be seen at,

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