Welcome to Part Two of the All Bent Out Of Shape: Harnessing The Power of Anger series. In Part One, we discussed the four main Anger Patterns. In Part Two, we are discussing Productive Anger.
It may sound odd, but anger CAN be productive when its energy is channeled correctly. What does Productive Anger look like? Imagine the last time you were in a situation where you became angry. Imagine that you asked to take a 5 minute break to think and digest the situation. Alone for that 5 minutes you inquired into what was making you angry, processed your anger, focused in on what you could control in the situation, then made an action plan based on what you could control then followed through with it! THAT is Productive Anger. But how on earth do you get to a point that you can break your Anger Pattern in favor of adopting Productive Anger?
A Process for Practicing Productive Anger
Pick an Anger Trigger for yourself. Could be a word to say to yourself, an image (perhaps based on your Anger Pattern: for Bottled Up Anger a can of soda that’s being shaken and fizzing up, etc.) to say to yourself when you begin feeling angry. This Anger Trigger is your cue to ask for a couple minutes to think. If you tend toward Incognizant Anger, start to notice what you feel instead of feeling anger in the moment. Do you feel adrenalin to fight or flee? Do you feel frozen and shut down? Create an Anger Trigger for THAT feeling as your cue to ask for a couple minutes to think and to see if you’re feeling angry or not.
1. Ask yourself: “what am I feeling?” This is particularly important for the Incognizant Anger Pattern. The others will probably have already answered this question.
2. Ask yourself: “why am I feeling this way?” This question will bring you to the superficial reason for your anger. For example, “because she didn’t finish her responsibilities for this project,” etc. It’s important to note, that this is not REALLY the reason you’re angry.
3. Ask yourself: “what am I making that mean about myself/the situation/our relationship/the other person?” The thought from number two, “because she didn’t finish her responsibilities for this project” can go a couple different ways. You could be making it mean that you need to finish her responsibilities for this project so that it gets finished on time. I suggest asking yourself: “why is that bad or uncomfortable?” I suggest continuing to ask that until you get down to something like “because I’m unworthy of keeping my job if we don’t finish this project” or “she’s doesn’t respect our relationship enough to finish her responsibilities on this project.”
a. Once you get down to a belief like “because I’m unworthy of keeping my job if we don’t finish this project” or “she doesn’t respect our relationship enough to finish her responsibilities on this project,” I suggest visiting Byron Katie’s Resources page on her Website. She has many free resources to help you work through thoughts that are not working for you. If the thought is causing you to be angry, it is not working for you, and The Work by Byron Katie will help you to find other thoughts that may work better for you.
4. Ask yourself: “what can I control in this situation?” All you can control 100% is your emotions, your thoughts and your actions. How can you leverage these for a positive outcome to the situation?
a. Make an action plan based on what you can control.
5. Act! Follow through on your plan!
6. Repeat and practice.
Stay tuned for Part Three of the “All Bent Out Of Shape: Harnessing The Power Of Anger” series. Part Three will focus on how horses can help you to identify your anger pattern, then learn to interrupt it and begin to practice Productive Anger.
Feel free to call me or email me with questions about this process. You may request a complimentary 20 minute coaching strategy session for help deciding which Anger Pattern you tend to use, as well as customizing the process for using Productive Anger to your Anger Pattern as a huge THANK YOU to my loyal readers.