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5 calming tips to overcome anger

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It is OK for you to experience frustration / anger.
You are not alone.
We all experience frustration / anger in our lives.

Anger is not always bad,
anger helps us to assert our rights.

Anger, like other negative emotions and also positive emotions,
are normal and appropriate
under particular circumstances in space and time
(dynamic spatio-temporal context).

However,
when anger is prolonged / intense / unacknowledged,
it may lead to diseases,
which we do not want.

To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson,
“For every minute you remain angry

you give up 60 seconds of peace of mind.

Negative emotions such as anger / frustration / resentment,
can be extremely destructive,
because these destabilizing emotions blur our vision,
disable us from rational and clear thinking,
and rapidly drag us down to regrettable paths of lives.
There is truth in the saying that
Anger Is One Letter Short of Danger.

It is all right to feel anger
but it is not all right
to express anger violently
or with cruel words.

Anger shows on our face,
can impair our potential to live a happy life.

Angry outbursts / aggression can become a bad habit;
the more one allows anger to take control,
the deeper the brain pathways are carved & reinforced,
because of brain plasticity.
Simply put,
Anger begets anger.

When people are stress / angry,
their body releases stress hormones
like cortisol & adrenaline,
that intensify the amygdala’s sense of danger,
& shut down the calming function of the prefrontal cortex.

We want calmer, more effective & more resourceful ways
to handle our emotions,
especially angry feelings.

We want to prevent ourselves
from getting stuck in deeper problems,
such as depression & anxiety,
in the long run.

Thích Nhất Hạnh / tʰǐk ɲɜ̌t hɐ̂ʔɲ views that
either expressing or suppressing anger
is an end of 2 extremes.
Expressing anger harms those around you,
destroys your relationship with others.
Suppressing anger harms yourself & your health.
Instead, choose to acknowledge our emotions.
Choose calmer & more soothing ways to attend to anger.

Melissa Costello shares that
anger can be a cover up for deep hurt & pain.
In 10 Mindful Minutes,
Goldie Hawn & Wendy Holden also shares that
anger can be due to fear.

The good news is
we can learn techniques
to overcome & deal with
our pain & fear.

Our brain is plastic,
we can train our mind
to be positive.

We can be creative
or learn from creative people
in dealing with our negative emotions.

Roger Weissberg of Yale University
contributed a technique using the traffic signal imagery^
to help people to deal with difficult emotions.

^ Children may prefer we call it traffic signal game,
instead of the traffic signal technique.

How to use the traffic signal technique?
You can get some paper & color pencils / crayons
to draw a picture of traffic signal.

Alternatively,
you can visualize traffic signal in your mind
When you are feeling negative emotions such as anger,
use the traffic signals to help you
to drive & steer your emotions safely.

Red = stop. Breathe mindfully / do some mindful breathing.
Yellow = consider all possible / thinkable / reasonable ways to respond.
In this yellow light stage, we activate our prefrontal cortex.
Green = Respond mindfully.

The traffic signal technique works because
according to Paul Ekman,
we begin feeling a strong emotion much faster
than we are aware of it.

When we use the traffic signal technique,
we allows ourselves to stop and think.
The technique lengthens the time between
the impulse / stimulus and response (either reaction or action)
as soon as
we realize and recognize
our difficult / negative feelings.

According to Victor Frankl,
between our stimulus and response
we have the freedom and power
to choose our response:
the most positive, mindful, meaningful response.
Through frequent practices
of the traffic signal technique,
we can build solid emotional resilience.

Last, but not least,
we can memorize some affirmations & scriptures.
They act as a short-cut
to quickly calm ourselves down
in the intense moment of strong negative feelings.

Examples of affirmations:
# The anger of today is the remorse of tomorrow
# If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow. Chinese Proverb.
# People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing

Examples of scriptures:
# Proverbs 16:32 : “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that controls his temper than he who conquers a city”
# Proverbs 22:24,25 : “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered”
# Exodus 2:11-15 : In a sudden burst of anger Moses killed an Egyptian and had to flee for his life! It then took him 40 years of patiently, humbly tending sheep in the wilderness, with time to listen to the Voice of God instead of his own impulses, before he was ready for the slow, la­borious, patient work of delivering the Hebrews from Egypt.

To summarize
@~@ Remember that anger++ = Danger
@~@ Neither express or suppress anger, but acknowledge it
@~@ Traffic signal technique
@~@ Remember that you can choose your response
@~@ Memorize affirmations / scriptures

How to deal with anger? 15 effective tips

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Many times, as human beings,
we get angry because of the mistakes / misunderstanding caused by ourselves and people closest to us,
e.g.
our family members (spouse, children),
our bosses and subordinates,
our colleagues,
our clients.

Imagine a spouse who does not border to help you / who only knows how to nag and nag,
after you work hard and endure stress / fatigue / insult from the morning until night;
Imagine an in-law who only knows to blame you after you expend sweat, tears, and blood taking care of your home / spouse / children (fortunately my parents-in-law are very nice);
Imagine bosses who only know to instruct, take all the credit;
Imagine subordinates who do things wrongly even though you explain many times;
Imagine clients who refuse to pay their debts to you after you deliver the products,
or whose expertise is to complain and complain.

Anger is not always bad,
anger helps us to assert our rights.

Anger, like other negative emotions and also positive emotions,
are normal and appropriate under particular dynamic spatiotemporal context / circumstances in space and time.

However,
when anger is prolonged / intense / unacknowledged,
it may lead to diseases,
which we do not want.

Then,
how to deal with anger?

1. The ART of ENDURANCE, use THICK FACE BLACK HEART.
Some people may think that being thick face is to be shameless,
because the general perception of thick face can be exemplified by an adult child refuses to work but asks money from retired parents.
Thick face that I mean here means that we must be able to endure humiliation / insult / injustice / physical & emotional pain / stress that cause our anger.
Honestly, this is not easy but not impossible.

Black heart here does not mean being ruthless to others,
but be determined enough on ourselves so that we can endure hardship and protect the weak.
Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi are among the finest example of practitioners of thick face black heart.

2. Neither express nor suppress anger.
Both are at the end of 2 extremes.
Expressing anger harms those around you, your relationship with others.
Suppressing anger harms yourself, your health.
Then, what should you do?
ACKNOWLEDGE our emotions, I think this is a piece of advice that I learned from Thích Nhất Hạnh / tʰǐk ɲɜ̌t hɐ̂ʔɲ.

3. Realize that we are the MASTER of our EMOTION.
We have control of our own emotion,
instead of letting our emotion enslave us.
We can practice self-control,
our mind can win over our emotion.

4. IMAGINE / VISUALIZE that your problems / pains are over. Visualize your trespasser as a little baby / child. It is hard to be angry at little children.
Ask yourself, will things / people that cause your anger matter in X amount of time (e.g. 1 year, 5 years time)?
You may not bump into the person again.
You may have moved to better places / positions.

5. Use the ART of DETACHMENT.
We can care / love others, but we have to be detached from our care / love.
We can continue to care, give best advices, but separate our feeling from the outcome of our efforts.
If they do not want to listen to our advice / to receive our kindness,
we just accept their response,
no need to feel bad about it.
Do not attach our happiness to others,
i.e. do not let our happiness be dependent on others (including their thought / words / actions).

6. LEARN from difficulties / crisis.
Believe that opportunities arise out of our difficulties.
There are always things to be learned from every situation.
There are things worth fighting,
there are things that are better ignored,
e.g. the rudeness of rude salesperson / customers, the ruthless bosses.

7. Use POSITIVE THINKING. Reframe our PERSPECTIVEs. There is no failure, there is only feedback.
Be aware that our trespasser(s) may cause unhappiness transiently, but they cannot rob away our capacity to generate inner happiness (including peace of mind, wealth).

8. LOWER / have NO EXPECTATIONS.
Accept things and other people as they are.
It is hard to change other people.
To change a person may be harder than to move a mountain.
Instead of wasting time to change others,
it is better to improve ourselves.

9. Use TALKing therapy,
but you have to find a listener,
who will listen without giving advice
(sometimes when we are angry we may perceive their well-meant advice as something negative).
Do not talk to every person you meet,
because not all people can give you empathy and sympathy in every situation / circumstances,
they may perceive you as a whiner / complain king,
we may end up transferring our pain / anger to other people.
Choose whom to TALK to carefully & wisely.
Many times, I TALK to God,
because God can take our anger / frustration.
Sometimes, I TALK to my wise mentors.
They are my role models,
and I would imagine what they would do if they were in my situation.

10. Use WRITING therapy.
This is what I exactly do now. I wrote this post because I was angry, and I want to find solutions on how to deal with anger.
Then, I think that my tips / strategies may be useful to others and decide to share them with the world.
When you write, do not worry about writing style / grammar.
You can make yourself your audience.
Keep your writing in journal / diary or
you can throw / tear away,
like cleansing / declutter your problem.

11. REST & SLEEP.
Take a power nap.
When we suffer from lack of sleep, we may become cranky.

12. MEDITATE / PRAYER.
Prayer is powerful.
Prayer = talking to God.
God can patiently listen without giving comments.
God can embrace our anger.

13. BREATHing exercise.
Imagine a balloon expanding & contracting in your lower abdomen.
Siberian North Rail Road for Stop, Notice, Reflect and Respond.
Stop to take a deep breath. Taking a deep breath can really calm our minds.
Reflect why you are angry from a 3rd person perspective (neither victim nor offender).
Respond. You always have control / choice in how you are going to respond. Be the master of your emotion, instead of letting your emotion winning over you.

14. EXERCISE e.g. yoga / qigong 气功 / jogging / hiking / swimming.
Physical activity can release emotion,
because our mind, body, and soul are inter-connected.
QiGong can help us to keep a focused mind, good posture, and help us to relax.

15. Use palm-size thermometer.
When we are angry,
blood is diverted from our extreme parts of bodies to vital organs,
our fingers turn cold.
Count to ten.
1 … 2 … 3 …. 4 …. 5 … 6 … 7 … 8 … 9 … 10 …
Focus on calming down until our fingers become warm.
PS: I learned this tips from Oprah Winfrey, thank you!
See also my green old A4 notebook page 32, 129.

If you find my writings are helpful to you, please donate to me by clicking here.

Written by blueroselady

March 23, 2013 at 11:20 am

What is next? the art of detachment

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A mentor from Singapore sent me a transcript by Dr Richard Teo Keng Siang.
He was a 40-year-old millionaire and cosmetic surgeon with a stage-4 lung cancer.

Below are what I learned from the sharing which I integrate with my growing thoughts.

Medical aesthetic is a growing field. Richard viewed his patients (sources of income) as vain women, but I empathize with women with low self-esteem. Some people simply do not have the opportunity to grow their inner strength, to detach from the influence of media that worships celebrities and the superficial opinions of other people around them. Sadly, the other people can include parents, spouse, lover, and friends. I remember how my mother’s sister suggested that I should go for a surgery. I was just a primary school kid, and her words did hurt me. Fortunately, I did not listen to her! Later in life, I learned that my attribute is desirable by men whom I am attracted to. Of course, there are also people who have not grown to the stage to accept themselves as a gift from universe. I do not mean to judge, but I respect that different people have different perspectives in life.

A good friend is a gift.
Richard’s friend, Danny offered to extract Richard’s wisdom teeth, went for a 2-day fast for Richard’s recovery.
Danny is a man that goes all the way for his friend.
I want to be like Danny for my friends.

Hebrews 12:7-8
"Endure hardship as discipline as God is treating you as His children"

Cancer patients told Richard that many times, people tell them to stay positive.
But those people do not have the same experience as the cancer patients.
However, Richard, being a cancer patient himself, has the license to encourage cancer patients.
While we have positive intentions to encourage people, sometimes our words / actions may not be received well.
Sometimes ago, I volunteer to work with cancer patients. A lady told me that she needs not help after finding out what my profession is. I felt slightly discouraged, but I respect her perspective.
I also remember when I wish someone "Good Luck", and she said "no need".
Similarly, we often hear angry mothers telling their husband "you will never understand the pain of labor".
In contrast, in countries like Singapore and Switzerland, we also hear angry men telling their women "I have to waste n years of my life doing military services, while you enjoy faster progress in education and career".

It is important to have a trust / belief / faith. For Richard, Danny, Blueroselady, and many people, this includes the belief in God. There are people who do not believe in the religious God, but the act of respecting nature / universe, is a form of belief as well.

It is important to love and make service / contribution to others.
To quote Lusi Lim, "while we are celebrating the glory of human success, we must not forget: One day, our wealth, fame and power will all become irrelevant because it will all come to an end…"

According to Richard, many people are blessed with good wealth, but cannot handle them. The more people have, the more people want.
According to Matthew 19:23, Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."
Hard does not mean impossible.
In the mass that we attended on the same day we celebrated our anniversary, I learned from the priest that church teaching does not forbid us to accumulate private property, but we must not be attached to our materialistic wealth.
Therefore, Blueroselady strives to master the art of detachment.
Wealth on its own is neutral, but the master of the wealth can use it for different purposes, e.g. to build hospitals, schools, to help the poor versus to show off by purchasing lavish luxury things (cars, bungalows / villas).
Moreover, there are also different kinds of wealth, we need to achieve a balance in acquiring each aspect of wealth.
Too much focus on materialistic wealth may compensate the growth of spiritual and wisdom wealth.
If one has dependants e.g. children and old parents / relatives without sufficient social security, a total neglect on the acquisition of materialistic wealth (in the basic form of money) is also against our God-planned purpose.

Written by blueroselady

October 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm

How not to listen to non-constructive criticism?

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This article is inspired by John Gurdon’s experience on criticism. He received Nobel prize in 2012. Though I have never met him, I counted a blessing that in a period of my life, I walked / cycled passed the Gurdon Institute (named after him) regularly.

An Eton teacher of John Gurdon wrote that the then 15-year-old John Gurdon wouldn’t listen, couldn’t learn simple biological facts and, horror of horrors, "insisted on doing work in his own way". In one test, Gurdon scored a miserable two out of 50.

The report made John Gurdon disheartened, but fortunately one of John Gurdon’s early decision on not to listen to non-constructive criticism indeed played an important role in his subsequent research work, including the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells (and ended up winning a Nobel prize).

How not to listen to non-constructive criticism?

1. Be prepared that in life, no matter what we do (including noble actions), some people will criticize us. To protect ourselves against these peace robbers, we can
# enhance our inner strength by reminding / focusing ourselves on our strength
# have a thick face

2. Be aware of the reasons why people give non-constructive criticism

# jealousy and justification attempt. They are jealous of our achievements and attempt to gain self-importance by criticizing us. They justify themselves at the expense of us. Do not fear those who criticize us because of their jealousy. Perhaps, those who criticize us suffer from low self-esteem and meet their need of having self-importance by criticizing, instead we can be kind by giving them empathy and sympathy.

# ignorance and inexperience. For example, you want to attempt a new venture and you seek advices from people around you. Those who never start up a company or those who have failed will project their fear and criticize you. Do not listen to these naysayers. Instead, consult those who have successfully achieved what you want to achieve.

3. Be mindful of your perspective (mind), emotions, and body

# Must be able to see the BIG PICTURE
When I was a primary and junior high school student, I accept the fact that teachers are role models. I did not question their authorities. They were the grown-ups with more knowledge and wisdom than me who was only a fledgling individual. I did not realize that teachers are also human beings, subjected to human conditions (both positive and negative attributes). Few of my teachers had ego and misused their authorities. They criticized students who refused to follow them, e.g. if a student refused to learn bad words, he would be labeled as self-righteous. Fortunately, I moved to a better school and I learned a lot from my kind teachers – those who teach for the passion of teaching and nurturing the next generation more than for earning an income (of course everyone has to earn a living). Looking back, those teachers who criticized things I thought as right, did no longer matter.

Then, when I started my study in a famous place, an unhappy professor told me that the only reason I went there was because of the fame. Well, while that reason honestly contributed to my decision, I had bigger reasons why I fought all my ways to gain admission there. At that time, when such a professor with his authority / power and perceived superiority (in knowledge, ability, etc) said such things to students, the impact could be huge. However, I did not listen to him. I shifted my focus to my purpose (FOCUS ON YOUR PURPOSES). I managed to work with more successful (and more generous and kinder) professors, produced results, and graduated. My mentor CNC loves to say that success is always the sweetest revenge (without harming our past offenders).

My learning journey then brought me to meet inspiring entrepreneurs. In some aspects, I look up to entrepreneurs who create jobs for many people and excellent products / services with great values, more than to professors who care only about their tenure, publications, and self-importance in their fields (of course, there are always kind professors, I was fortunate to meet and work with few of them). My experience with the entrepreneurs unleash an inner desire of me: to be an entrepreneur. That is why I am working everyday to prepare myself for my venture, to provide values to my customers. I believe that I will be invited to teach / give talks at universities because of my expertise, instead of having to apply and fight for limited faculty positions.

To summarize, I have met more people and seen the world, my perspectives have changed. When you climb a mountain, your standpoint / perspective has elevated, you can see wider and hence the bigger picture.

# Must be able to be the master of our emotion
Often, when one is criticized, one will end up feeling sad, shameful, worried (worry is a kind of fear), or angry. All these emotions are of lower consciousness.
Be aware of your emotion, then you can shift those of lower consciousness to those of higher consciousness (e.g. courage, patience).
For example, you can manage your anger through techniques such as loving yourself, Siberian North Rail Road, and detachment.

# Learn to relax our body
Criticisms from people whose matter to us (e.g. parents, teachers, bosses, co-workers, or even peers) can result in racing heart, sweating, shaking, flushing face.
When you are aware of these physical reactions of your body, use relaxation to calm down. Breath deeply. Visualize / imagine serene places that you remember from your travel. Recall prayers that you have said countless times.

"Let nothing disturb you,
nothing frighten you,
all things are passing.
God is unchanging.
Patience gains all;
nothing is lacking to those who have God:
God alone is sufficient."
St Teresa of Avilla

Related:
How to Handle Criticism and Nonconstructive Feedback by Nicole Wolfe
*Davidson_not_hopeless* (in my ref folder)

More readings:
http://www.economist.com/node/21564525
http://www.talentsmart.com/articles/

About (last revised in April 2012)

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Our nature does produce roses, but not blue roses.

Human beings want things that they do not have, so scientists genetically engineer blue roses.

Blue roses are cherished and treasured because they are rare.
It is common to spray white roses into blue roses, yet blue roses that grow from the plant are more endearing.

My best friend called me blueroselady because I am a product of nature and nurture with gigantic love, unshakeable faith, and everlasting hope for life.

My dear friend, I love you always.

My love includes

  1. betterment of our world.
  2. children and child-like (not childish) people.
  3. Darling, Dad, Mom, siblings.
  4. a golden retriever dog.
  5. my soul mates– my friends
  6. KNOWLEDGE and WISDOM. strong interest in philosophy and metaphysics.
  7. BEAUTY: soothing and uplifting people, images, movies and songs. I have a keen eye for detail, a fine sense of beauty and excellent taste.
  8. TRAVELing in my chair and sofa, on foot, by public transports.
  9. flying and soaring high with birds.
  10. food: seafood, Asian food (Japanese, Korean, Sichuan, Northern China), (Italian, French) desserts, chocolates.

My strengths include

  1. Visionary — I am a natural leader with great wealth including spiritual and horizon wealth
  2. Definite PURPOSE with long-term goals and ability to see LARGER PICtures.
  3. HIGHLY CREATIVE
  4. CONNECTivity – can relate to people in all walks of life. I can talk with people of diverse backgrounds, from domestic workers to presidents.
  5. bedrock of society, the foundation of any enterprise.
  6. methodical, systematic.
  7. reliable, responsible.
  8. everyday, Blueroselady is growing her strength in character and joie de vivre.
  9. Careers: finance, real-estate, science, publishing, also can shine in politics, social work, teaching.

My qualities which can either be strengths or weaknesses include

  1. compassionate, idealistic
  2. Others perceive me as gentle, safe harbor, warm, unthreatening.
  3. patient, understanding, wonderful listener.

How to overcome my weaknesses?

  1. Be a calculated risk taker. I am a bit reckless, fortunately A BIT, not entirely.
  2. must not hold on to people or situations just because I feel that justice has not yet been done, or that someone still owes me something. My solution: let the universe judge injustice.
  3. must not let my strong likes and dislikes overrule her common sense and compassion.
  4. must be open to shortcuts and creative solutions.
  5. * should use tact and diplomacy, be LESS EMOTIONAL.
  6. * must exercise more, for my appearance and radiance.

My MISSION includes

  1. to love myself so that I can love others better.
  2. to give continual guidance, inspiration, and encouragement to people around her.
  3. to reach a high degree of DETACHMENT, to understand that power and influence must be used for the BENEFIT of MANKIND.
  4. to bounce back from failures and defeats. I can BENDS without breaking, like the bamboo.
  5. to love Darling so that our marriage will last till the end of age.

Written by blueroselady

April 1, 2012 at 2:06 am