Let’s explore the anger epidemic, then take a look at how clinical hypnotherapy can really help you control it.
Is it just me, or does it also seem to you that more and more people are “angry” these days? Perhaps you’ve seen it too? Drivers for example seem far more likely to react to an irritation, delay or discourtesy with a horn blast or a shower of abuse. There seems to be less and less tolerance and more and more volatility. There’s huffing and puffing from people in queues. I sense a rising tone of pious righteousness and latent outrage in the wind. Certainly, social media is full of it. Disinhibited by the veil of electronic anonymity, people seem only too ready take aim at their pet irritation and each other. So often, it’s a case of “READY, FIRE, AIM”.
Not much good can come of anger, which by all accounts seems to be an emerging epidemic.
Anger more often than not negatively impacts those on the receiving end. It also has many unwanted effects on you! If you harbour anger and allow it to take a hold, it’s really harmful to you as well. You see, your body reacts almost instantaneously to your thoughts. As any Buddhist monk will tell you, “you won’t (necessarily) be punished for your anger; but your anger will punish you”.
Is Getting Angry Normal?
Anger, mood, rage, temper, a short fuse, grumpiness, touchiness, volatility. Whatever name you call it by, anger is triggered entirely in the mind and in turn triggers reactive and responsive emotional and biochemical cycles within the body.
Feeling angry is a normal part of life. It can actually be a useful emotion that triggers a physical reaction in the body. It is a part of our ‘fight or flight’ and it usually happens when you are stressed or threatened. The adrenaline response is triggered making you feel tense and ready to ‘fight’ the threat or flee. However, in a majority of cases, it’s anything but useful.
To paraphrase the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle:
“Anybody can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way is not within everyone’s power, and is certainly not easy”.
What Happens To Create Anger?
Anger is often anchored in “self-referencing”. That is, we see the world, situations and things according to how we believe they should be. To feel angry, there’s a common process that occurs. We run a repetitive and often unresolved dialogue in our minds. That dialogue expresses our reaction to the difference between how things are and how we believe they should be. This in turn causes potentially stress inducing emotions such as fear, injustice, unfairness, deceit, betrayal, frustration and insult.
It’s not uncommon for people to describe their pattern as something that builds until it’s uncontrollable; like a dam that fills until it bursts. It’s “in that moment” that a physical and/or emotional outburst is triggered.
Others withdraw, sulk or ruminate and their anger festers.
In either case it can fuel anxiety, depression and a multitude of knock-on effects such as insomnia, high blood pressure, general stress, panic attacks; even Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and psoriasis. Others seek refuge in unhelpful habits and vices such as cigarettes, narcotics, alcohol, junk food and gambling. Their health, relationships and effectiveness suffer further, “adding fuel to the anger fire” as they blame the “situation” on their original source of anger.
A Little Deeper
The anger process can run in a range of different directions from there. These depend on your reactive/responsive style. Examples include whether or not you can:
- distinguish between what is personal and what effects you personally;
- compartmentalise the situation in your mind and contain the extent of its effect;
- allow it to absorb your thoughts or just let it go;
- resolve it in your mind and put it behind you.
Anger feeds off your anxiety and is almost always exacerbated where you also maintain a level of anxiety in your life.
Uncontrolled Anger Is The Issue
Societal, legal and workplace boundaries make it difficult to express our anger, so many tend to hold it inside rather than ventilate it. Those that can’t hold it in or manage it often end up in trouble.
Bottling it up can however make you feel even worse as the angst builds, leading you to react more aggressively in other situations. Many wait until they get into a “safe” environment before they vent. A safe environment where the perceived consequences of venting are less, such as at home. So often that is where one’s anger actually does the greatest harm.
If you don’t learn how to deal with it, your anger can can lead to physical and mental health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, digestive system issues, high blood pressure and even colds and flu. The emotional effects, including anxiety, depression and self harm are arguably even more severe.
How Do I take Control Of My Anger Before it Takes Control Of Me?
From a treatment perspective, it’s important to understand that anger isn’t a disease or a thing. It’s not genetic. It’s often a learned behaviour that’s often become a habit of response. It can be unlearned once it’s understood.
That puts anger management squarely in the realm of targeted treatment under hypnotherapy.
Anger issues often stem from past experiences, shaping our belief systems and behaviours. While you may think another person or situation is making you angry, it may well come from yourself. Once this is understood, we can work at changing this perspective and its effects.
In my clinic, I would work with you on the specific way your anger operates. Working at both the conscious and unconscious levels, I will help change your negative thought processes. To change your angry reactions to your specific triggers. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and allowing your temper to rise, we’ll aim to have you feel calmer and more relaxed; to think more clearly so you can react in a more appropriate way. I can also help you manage many of the underlying causes of anger such as anxiety, stress or depression.
I’ll teach you to recognise what the approach of an angry outburst “feels like”, and specific techniques to diffuse it before the reaction is triggered.
We will also examine contributing factors from your lifestyle that might be unhelpful. Your diet and exercise regimes for example can impact your body’s stress levels. These in turn can impact your mood, sleep patterns and relaxation.
Treating Anger With Hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy when correctly directed is one of the most powerful tools available to help you overcome this problem and bring lasting calmness and rationality. Those unhelpful patterns of thinking can be disrupted, adjusted, even “reprogrammed”.
Together, we’ll examine how “you do anger”; how it manifests and operates for you, the underlying causes and triggers. We’ll then specifically target, re-frame and adjust the unhelpful thought patterns that support your anger.
If anger is affecting you or someone you care about, Targeted Hypnotherapy can work with you to achieve change. Doing it now might just be the most important decision you ever make; before things get out of hand.
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