"To change your world all you have to do is manage your thoughts and feelings on the inside of you, and then your whole world changes." R. Byrne The Secret
Like all emotions, anger is a choice we make each and every time we get angry. How can that be? All emotions, including anger, begin with a THOUGHT (can even be unconscious sometimes).(Thoughts are "electrical" impulses. (This is "electrical" as in the universal electrical energy of which all things are created not electricity as we use it to light our houses.)
The electrical thought impulse enters our brain (the electrical/neurological translator) and travels down our body through the neurological system. Nerves are attached to EVERY CELL in the body except a few free-floating ones in the blood stream. The cells of our body, as is their job, convert the electrical impulses into chemical reactions. Both the electrical input and the chemical reaction stimulate the muscles to move, the internal organs to work, etc.
Here's the trouble. When the same or very similar negative thoughts are repeated over and over and over in time, the neurological pathways and the chemical reactions for those thoughts become like a smooth, slick runway - a habitual way of thinking and reacting over and over and over the same way to the same stimuli. "Every time he does this or that I just get so angry." "I have been treated unjustly all my life. now when someone treats me unjustly I still get so angry."
It is called a KNEE JERK RESPONSE when the neurological/chemical pathway is so slick that it SEEMS as if the anger reaction comes before the conscious thought. The body always follows the dictates of the mind and brain. It is physically impossible for it to be otherwise.
Anger in my body causes: Tightness in my muscles Shortness of my breath Tunnel Vision (I can only see straight ahead. No side or peripheral vision) I become "brain dead" - can't think clearly. I become a "RE-actor instead of an actor) My heart beats really fast Lack of hunger, thirst, etc Body functions stop (example: no digestion. Well, I find the bladder, on the other hand, tends to work over time.) My hands are sweaty My body shakes all over I get nervous and anxious And more...Oh, dear....
Long held anger physically assaults the body. It creates many diseases including cancer and heart problems just to name a couple.
"Then what can I do about it? Am I just a victim of all my past thinking?"
Focus everyday on FEELING GOOD. Do you feel good? Good. Keep doing that.
Get HAPPY. Happiness is the "normal" state that the mind and body loves. Anything negative is abhorrent to the body and will eventually break it down. Example: For many, many years my mother always worried about everything. She wouldn't listen to any warnings. Then one day, almost all at once, her body began breaking down piece by piece until now she is in an assisted living facility unable to see or walk well. Now she worries about that!
Learning to ACT instead of REACTing involves:
Letting go of the past and focusing only on today. Today I start "changing my story." That is, I START TALKING THE WAY I WANT MY LIFE TO BE SO IT WILL BECOME THAT. I will develop new neurological pathways and new chemical reactions that serve my health and well being. One trick of "changing the story" that works for me, is if I have a problem with someone repeatedly instead of complaining about that person, I write in my journal every day for two weeks what I love and appreciate about that person. It's amazing how much better "we" are after that. Try it.
Thinking before I speak. IF THE WORDS I SAY ARE NOT LOVING OR KIND OR COMPASSIONATE, I WILL NOT SAY THEM. When I complain that "life is unfair" what I mean is that there is a mismatch between my hopes, wishes, expectations, goals, etc. and the response I am get from the outside world. Like attracts like. "I speak only the words that are a "match" to all I desire.
Looking at the person or situation objectively and saying to myself things like, "It doesn't matter" and "How important is it?" and "Will this really matter in five years?"
Release any investment in "being right." Thus, no arguments.
What other "tools" can you think of that could be helpful in changing the neurological/chemical pathways from anger to joy?