A year ago this time I wrote a post about anger on the Bookface. This is a big topic for me so I thought I'd capture some of the things that have been marinating for me.
The early part of my life included 25 or more years of dealing badly with #anger. The most dangerous question that a person can ask themselves in a state of anger is "Why..?". Most of the time, there is no satisfactory answer. And even if there is a true answer to the question, you aren't likely to feel better after you know.
The truth about anger is that it is an expensive and, on a long enough timescale, unmaintainable bodily state. The state passes provided that you do not feed it. Anger is a fire.
There are no direct means to snuff the fire out. And trying to NOT think about something is worse than trying TO think about something (just try it).
Indeed, trying to use your mind at all in a state of anger may be utterly futile for the unpracticed. But you do have an action immediately available to you. Focus. Focus is the most readily available means of permitting the fire to self-extinguish.
I mean this both literally and figuratively. You can help move along from anger by simply using your eyes to see what is around you. In a state of anger, it's very unlikely you're actually looking at your environment and seeing it. But taking a moment to do that and to just be where you are is a good start.
You can also focus figuratively on breathing. Or on singing. Or wigging your toes.
On his podcast, Tim Ferris has been talking a lot about depression and he said something that also applies to anger: When the mind is wedged, the escape route is often through the body (though I'll add this caveat: ...provided that you're not doing anything drastic with it).
Focus here starts to mean being fully present to where you are and what your body is feeling.
Being fully present entails a number of implications for the present moment. There are no decisions to make. There is nothing to fix. There is nothing to be proud or ashamed of.
And once you are practiced at this such that you no longer have to remind yourself of any of these truths, you begin to see that you will survive. You see that you are more enduring than any moment. Options for action become available to you which you could not see over the blinding light of the raging fire.
More importantly, you now know in fullness that your mind can become hijacked by your physical state and you may take actions to ensure that you do not put yourself into situations which induce bad physical states (for instance... attending a counter-protest of any kind). Also importantly, you will have practice to notice and to Focus when you become hijacked.
Why does all of this matter? Because the slow-thinking part of your brain is what gets hijacked. But it's the only part of your decision making apparatus with the means to self-correct when you change your understanding of what is going on. Your emotions go where they are led. They don't self-correct... they generally "just are" and can be wrong for an indefinite period of time.
It is only your slow-thinking mind that can see when you have put a lesser truth above a greater truth. And if there is anything the world could use more of, it is the best thinking of every human being on earth. Bad ideas will lead you to bad states and bad actions. Good ideas can set you free.
I hope these ideas help.
Photo Credit: Allee walkway & Memorial Groves | Craig Fildes | Flickr