Extinguishing Anger

I know that when I get angry, I can feel it, as physical sensations in my body.

It starts to rise in my chest. Some of muscles, particularly around my core, tense up. My temperature rises a degree or two; sometimes I start to sweat from my body, hands, and feet.

There’s a corresponding psychological component to these sensations: usually I’m stuck on a thought. There’s some idea that for some reason I do not want to let go of.

For example (and, children are great examples of this kind of thing), let’s say that one of my kids has acted disrespectfully, perhaps by not listening, directly doing the opposite of what was asked, and refusing to admit it. This happens all the time, and it can be infuriating! Any parent can relate.

The thing is that kids are smart. I’m not saying that they’re maliciously manipulating you or I, but in these cases, if we cannot move past our infuriation quickly, then we are allowing ourselves to be manipulated.

The longer that I stay ‘stuck’ in the moment, the longer that they will to.

If I cannot let go of my own frustration and move forward, neither will they.

So the paradoxical point is that to extinguish anger, you most likely have to let it go – not try to sit there and ‘fix it’ while you’re all upset.

The longer you hold on to it, the longer you, and those around you, will get burned.

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