Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
There is no denying that anger is one of the most powerful emotions we possess as human beings. With that great power in our hands, we can cause a lot of damage, both emotionally and physically. But what if I told you, there is a way and method to control that anger and influence it, even when it’s blowing up in your face.
We’ve all been in a situation once or another, where we said the wrong thing to the wrong person, at the wrong time — which led to that person becoming enraged.
Do you remember what you did the last time that you were in this awkward and sticky situation, where the other person is heated, and you’re not quite there yet?
If you are like most people, then you more than likely attempted to remedy it at first, but the minute that person got in your face — you completely lost it.
The Science Behind Anger
To influence anger and eventually learn to control it, you first must understand the physiological and psychological processes that occur in your body when you get angry. For starters the minute your fuse is set off, you go into the Fight or Flight response, which is an ancient mechanism built into us for survival. When we were cavemen and a giant tiger was coming at us, we required a system that could get us out of that situation immediately.
And so our bodies evolved to include this special response that is meant to minimize thinking and maximize our ability to run and fight for our lives.
During fight of flight response, your blood vessels begin to dilate so that your body can start pumping blood to your muscles. Then your stomach stops digesting in order to preserve energy for your caveman sprint away from the tiger. Not only that but MRI scans have revealed that even your brain even begins turning off non-essential parts of your mind, so that all you can think about at the moment is survival.
But you see, the problem with our Fight or Flight response, is that we no longer live in a time where we need to run away from a tiger. Which causes quite the issue because anytime you get angry or incredibly scared or nervous, your body begins to shut down and thinks you’re about to die. And there’s no way of turning it off….Until Dr. John R. Schafer created a little known secret to anger management.
Call Me, The Anger Manager
Dr. John R. Schafer worked for a police department as an officer of the peace for 25 years, during which he developed this incredible and ingenious way of dealing with angry people. As you might guess, working as a police officer, you come into a lot of angry people who are more than likely to try to harm you if they can.
So that’s why Dr. John R. Schafer put his head down and started thinking about a revolutionary way to deal with angry people. He created what is now called the Anger Cycle and how to break it. Dr. John R. Schafer explains,
“ Breaking the anger cycle allows people to vent their anger and provides them with a course of action which they have a hard time refusing. Three component parts comprise breaking the Anger Cycle: empathic statements, venting, and presumptive statements.”
1) Empathic Statements
In empathic statements, you learn to hear what the person is saying and feeling. Then utilizing parallel language, you reflect the physical status and emotions to the person who is frustrated.
Typically you would tell someone that you know how they feel but their reaction is typically, “No you don’t know how I feel, you’re not me.” But using empathic statements starting with “ So you…” the enraged person is getting everything they said to you reflected and most importantly, they’re being heard.
There’s no doubt that being able to express yourself naturally has a healing ability but when you get to express how your feel with full candor, no filters. It’s something else entirely. A sense of freedom, a weight lifted off of your chest, like you can breathe again. That’s when the angered person gets to burn off all of their anger, and with every time, the vent becomes weaker and weaker.
Until the once enraged person has exploded with all that was on their mind and chest — And now the steam is finally cooling. Which at that point, in between the conversational pause where there is another sigh of relief, input your Empathic statement to reassure them of themselves.
3) Presumptive Statements
The last thing you want to leave your frustrated friend or co-worker with, is a direct course of action for a solution. That means that you come up with a route that your friend can’t possibly deny, that will inevitably help them out in the long run so that they don’t run into this anger causing hysteria again. Something like, “Why don’t you try doing this…It’ll help you…”
From there on, just remember that when someone is angry it is coming from a place of hurt. There is always a root to this frustration and sometimes all it takes to control that anger is let them vent out all their thoughts, leave them with all their energy burned, and then show compassion by talking about them.
All people want in the end, is to be heard.
Luis Rubén de Borbón
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