Or perhaps you’re too afraid of imagining a life of peaceful existence with yourself and those around you because you don’t think you can ever achieve that.
We have a habit of looking outside ourselves for the reasons for our anger outbursts. We tend to blame other things – other events – or other people in our lives, for the things that drive us up the wall. What if I told you that you’re way off the mark with that? Events don’t make you angry; people don’t make you angry. Councils, neighbours, policemen, wives, husbands, kids or parents don’t make you angry.
YOU make you angry.
In my book Beat Depression the Drug Free Way I point up that this business of “how you react” has been a topic of philosophy as long back as people were thinking. Epictetus, the Ancient Greek philosopher said, “we are disturbed not by things, but by the views we take of things.” He also said, “Control thy passions lest they take vengeance on thee,” but that’s another matter called blow-back.
This is how it works …
You’ve learned that a response that registers as anger works for you, gets you attention, and gets your needs met. But you learned that at a very early age. As a part of the development of the “who we are” part of our lives, the dummy-spits, the tantrums and various other temper outbursts that are often experienced, were successful attempts to find out what works for us in our efforts to get the attention that gets “gains.” Kids learn this easily; even babies learn it. And it’s then the kick-off to the forming of our later life mode of response and automatic reactions to the things that we don’t like or don’t fit our world-view.
In my book I explore how the limbic (emotional) brain hijacks the slower rational part of the brain EVERY TIME. We spend a whole lot of our adult lives still reacting in a way that was productive in infancy, but isn’t now. And this applies to depression, anger, and a whole slew of emotional patterns and habits that at one time in development were useful to us.
The things we learned then, don’t work any more. But, go ahead and tell the subconscious emotional brain that! See how far you get.
As a Clinical Affectologist and Af-x therapist, though, it’s not this overt expression of anger that I’m so concerned about, although that might not be a pretty picture anyway. High levels of anger response tend to produce their own balancing act. We see that we’re not being socially productive, even wrecking our own life with our dummy-spits, and we most often calm down in our own best interests. At least for a while. No, it’s the existence of subtle levels of anger at subconscious level that interests the affectologist much more. We know that insidious simmering of emotion is damaging to our health.
Eastern medicine has avowed for centuries that a calm life – often achieved through meditation or other mind-oriented means – always leads to a reduction in the incidence of hypertension (high blood pressure), heart problems, gastrointestinal disease and even much healthier metabolic and immune system states. So, can you see what either high-level or subtle, percolating anger is doing to your health? Western medicine is slowly catching up to the Eastern view that ulcers, heart incidents and many other issues have some sort of strong emotional component. You can read more about this on other pages in this site, 'EmotionsInBalance'.
Some time ago, a couple of years after 9/11, I was invited to work with some people in the U.S., where there was an enormously ever-increasing amount of social anger and anxiety around terrorist potential. Several weeks after treatment with me, almost every one of the folks I worked with had reported a gradual reduction in their sense of anxiety; their sense of anger toward society and the world. They used terms like, “I’m feeling a whole lot calmer;” “I’m not getting this uncontrollable fury towards my kids,” and the like. If I were a betting man, I’d put a few Aussie dollars on the fact of all these people becoming healthier and living a better life based on newfound abilities to simply lead a calm existence and not use that old learned angry reaction. We’re all just little kids trying to grow up.
Hear that? We’re all just little kids trying to grow up.