Is 1/4 of a second long!
That may be the difference between maintaining your cool and totally losing it!
Research reported on by Daniel Goleman in his landmark book Emotional Intelligence found that it could take as little as 1/4 of a second for the amygdala to trigger a full blown anger response.
This adds credence to this whole business about when you are angry to count to 10! To put it in perspective. If you felt that you were about to lose your cool and have a total meltdown, then counting to 10 would be the equivalent of 40 Times the amount of time needed to lose it!
The sad part about being unable to practice proper anger management, is
that on a daily basis people are ruining their relationships and careers by
being unable to keep it together. A hard won promotion or a loving long term
relationship, may come to a screeching and tragic end by ONE moment of being
unable to effectively deal with anger.
One may find out in a moment of horrendous discovery that saying “sorry” is
not going to mend the heart of a loved one this time. That they are tired of
being hurt over and over, and can’t face living life with a person who seems
more like a ticking time bomb then a loving life partner. And your boss may
decide that your total meltdowns are no longer worth the price of mopup
You don’t have to go down this path and be this person!
Feeling Anger Is Normal
Anger is an emotion just like all of the rest of them!
One of the great tragedies that a lot of us have experienced growing up
is to be taught to ignore or deny our anger.
So instead of learning how to deal with anger, something that occurs in most
of our lives, we are left to our own devices and try to deal with it and bottle
it up until it often explodes!
Sadly we learn more about grammar and geography then we do about how
to deal with anger growing up. And no wonder we experience chaotic results
in our lives and relationships. The point though is not to blame one’s parents.
They more then likely taught us what they received.
Time For A New Look On Anger
My view on anger, and all of the other emotions, is that the emotions serve
to let us know what is going on inside of us, much like the gauges on our car dashboards tell us about the status of our vehicle. Anger just like all of the other emotions let us know when something needs our attention.
The key is to recognize the emotion and to know HOW to express it effectively!
Recognizing that one is angry, and being able to express it before it gets out of hand, helps us to use our emotions as GUIDES in our daily lives. One might even go so far as to expect that anger will crop up in our lives at some point and then to make a plan to better deal with it is perhaps a better plan in the long run then to deny it and hope that it never comes around again.
It’s kind of like in-laws! They exist and will likely visit us from time to time. Much better to plan for it and get along with them, and in the case of anger, with ourself and others!
As promised, here it is, THE WORD that I see most often related to people who have serious anger issues!
Are you wondering what it could be ???
The word is: S H O U L D !!!
Most clients with deeply ingrained anger management issues often use the word “should” repeatedly. What often comes as a surprise to them is that they are not even aware of how often they are saying it, or even thinking it! The other word that is often spoken or thought of is “shouldn’t“.
The Problem With “Shoulds”
Is that “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts” keep us detached from reality!
And when we are detached from reality we are often not able to deal
with it, much less cope with it.
What do I mean by detached from reality?
Let’s say you are a counsellor and happen to get a parking ticket.
Might as well go with a real life example here …..
Telling oneself that one “shouldn’t” have gotten a parking ticket, and
that the parking signs on this street “should” be more clearly indicated
does not help one deal with the situation.
The reality is: I was in a hurry and failed to pay attention. I assumed the
parking limit was 2 hours instead of the “actual” 1 hour written on the sign!
What “should” be in my world of parking regulations is not going to help
me deal with this ticket, and will certainly not help me to prevent myself
from getting another ticket in the future.
What will help, is ACCEPTING the reality of the situation, and not CREATING
one of my own. Also acknowledging my feelings and finding a way to deal
with them constructively. Yes I was upset about the whole situation, but
I didn’t let it build to full on anger. I can also tell you, that I look a LOT closer
now for parking signs!!!
I would suggest that we consider the utility to ourselves, and to others in our life,
of demanding that the world work the way we think it ought to ( ie: should).
The world IS. If we don’t like it, perhaps we can find a way to change it. But
until then, it might be better to go with “reality” and deal with it as it is, and
then change it.
BTW ….. Should and shouldn’ts have related cousins. You may also want to
watch out for the following words that are also very rigid and inflexible: must,
have to, never, and always to name a few.
I hope that you found the above article useful to you in your daily life. The
proof is in the pudding I would say. Try it out and observe what you are
saying and thinking and you just may find yourself very surprised at the
number of “shoulds” that creep in!
I welcome any comments or feedback that you may have, as well as possible
article suggestions for the future.