You presumably can't hit a baseball as well as Albert Pujols. Why? Certainly major league players were born with some level of physical advantage over the rest of us, yet most of their capability comes from training – relentless training, year after year. Imagine a baseball coming towards you at 100 miles in step with hour – that's less than a 1/2 2nd from pitcher's hand to catcher's mitt. Decide whether to swing. Then decide how to swing. Then actually swing the bat. All in less than a 1/2 2nd. Does Albert think about swinging the bat? I doubt it. That quick a reaction has to be instinctive. Instincts are something we are born with, right? In this case, no. The instinctive response Albert now has to the method of a fast moving baseball is the result of years of coaching.
Most people think that anger is an instinctive response, and that some people were just born with the temperament to get angrier faster than others. That statement is 1/2 right. Anger is an instinctive response. We respond to an affront with anger inside the same time as a pitched baseball reaches the batter – essentially instantaneously – much too quickly for wakeful thought to be called upon. But the instinct of the anger response should be trained inside the same way as a batter's response is trained – through wakeful repetition, visualization, and coaching. Visualization is seeing the occasion we would like to master in our mind's eye. We see the approaching baseball or the antagonistic action as if it were real, and then mentally practice our response.
During his training, a baseball player strives to make each swing more effective than the last. The repetition of a inaccurate swing would be worse than useless. It would ingrain bad habits. The same is true of emotional responses. If we allow ourselves to continue to have the same angry responses, we just entrench our anger addiction. But if we strive – through consciousness, visualization, and coaching – to moderate our anger response over time, we can train ourselves to respond to events as we choose, without anger. You can't magically be free from anger tomorrow, yet you can put your self on a training program that will cut back the frequency and intensity of your anger response day by day, year by year.
My training counsel for moderating the anger response is:
1. Consciously practice responding with somewhat less anger each time a situation provokes you.
2. Practice visualizing aggravating scenarios and rehearse the response you choose to make to such events.
three. Have patience. It took you years to get so angry. It may also take years to cut back anger down to a minor twinge.
4. Understand that you can never totally eliminate the anger response. Minimizing anger requires lifelong wakeful practice.
The preceding counsel is intended for those who are quick to anger, and who display their anger outwardly. But what about people who don't appear to anger? Some people who don't show anger have trained themselves to moderate their anger response, yet many others internalize their anger instead than expressing it. While withheld anger may also save family and friends from having to endure an outburst, unexpressed anger is even more damaging to its owner than is anger that is verbalized and acted upon.
For those who suffer from repressed anger, there must be an intermediate stop along the path from anger to freedom. First the anger must be expressed. While I believe that most people can especially cut back the frequency and intensity of their anger responses through the training steps above, overcoming repressed anger is usually no longer a do-it-your self proposition. Professional counseling – often including the physical expression of anger in a managed environment – can reveal and heal the childhood traumas which triggered the lifelong addiction of repressing over the top anger and hostility. Once a personal has become able to express their anger, it becomes imperative to straight start up moderating that response, with the target of feeling no anger, either repressed or outward.
The view that there are benefits to anger has become common, yet I believe that statements such as, "When anger is channeled and managed, it should be a catalyst for much positive change," represent a distorted view towards the anger response. The argument goes that if we didn't get angry, we would become pushovers, yet the assumption that we can have values and stand up for those values simplest by getting angry is inaccurate.
The other view towards anger, with which I totally concur is, "Anger is now known to be quite detrimental to us physically and psychologically." We do no longer need anger to be assertive any more than we need a stiff drink so as to stand up for our beliefs. As a example, if any one doesn't pay off a loan to me, I should be assertive in demanding the repayment, or I can bring legal action to recover the cash, at least as well if I am no longer angry. And more principal, I will be far more healthy, both physically and emotionally.
Anger is a destructive emotion that becomes instinctive over the years. Through wakeful training, the anger response – whether inside the form of outbursts or repressed – should be moderated over time, until that is virtually eliminated.