Anger Management: So Simple a Caveman Could Do It

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How the Emotional Intellect is Involved in Anger Management

Nothing like a nice gut churned-up heading like the one for this posting to make you want to discover more about anger. Not to worry, we are going to explore how the  brain functions on an extremely simple fashion.  The fundament of an anger management class should be rooted in helping you understand whats going on inside your head.   The primary idea of this article is to help you understand that frustration is normal and that its darn near impossible to altogether eliminate it from your existence . The actual goal is how you use your brain.

The first thing to know is that anger is a  protective response  to a possible threat or harm.

The region of our brain that is responsible for our emotions is found in part  of the mind called the sub-cortical area. You are unaware of most of the functions of the emotional mind. Researchers who have examined the emotional brain theorize that its main use is survival. Ever on the alert, the emotional brain constantly asks the  survival question: “Is it dangerous?”  Effective anger management relies on learning to be tuned into the warning signs of the warning signals of stuff feeling unsafe or stressful.

This is frequently not as simple as it sounds as the emotional intellect has only a  sketchy awareness of the external universe.  The emotional intellect seems to rely more on very broad data . Ever have  a sense of deja vu about something, but couldn’t quite figure out why you felt that way? That’s your emotional mind being reminded of something painful from your past .

There are three very significant things to remember about the emotional brain and how it relates to anger :

1) It has a memory whose job is to store all important threatening things that you’ve experienced.  Your emotional brain makes judgments of the good or badness of where you are and those around you determined by its memories. This is why one condition may be a trigger to someone’s anger whereas the same anger whereas the same situation anger whereas the same may not anger someone else .

2. It stores information into very broad categories Your emotional mind  operates in very broad categories e.g., safe/dangerous.  Particular words or situations are viewed as either insecure or dangerous.  Your emotional intellect runs on such a simplistic fashion that it is often times unable to tell apart reality and fiction . Did you ever question why you get so emotionally into movies when you logically know that you are viewing lights flickering on a  wall  of people feigning to be someone else? Its due to your emotional mind can’t figure out the difference between those movies and  stuff that’s actually happening to you. its the responsibility of your thinking mind to figure out the  small stuff and to guide the  reactions of the emotional intellect .

3) It receives new sensory information before the thinking brain does. This means that   before your thinking mind is even tuned into an event is occurring your emotional brain has done a comparison to things that happened before and figured out whether a situation is risky or not. Why would your mind be   designed this way ? Consider this , if you are out for a stroll in the woods one afternoon and a snake lunges out at you, you don’t want to calmly think over your options ,  you just need to RESPOND AS RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE!!

When frightened in a particular way your emotional intellect has 4 reactions to pick from :
Protect
Submit
Freeze
Flight

How the Emotional Mind Functions  in Everyday Situations

Let’s consider an case from the real world . Lets say that you are at home hanging out when the doorbell rings . When you go to see who it is, you find its your friend Ann who has come by to say hi and to chew the fat. Instead of  greeting her with open arms you find yourself resenting the interruption. Matter of fact, despite the fact that she has never done anything that would make you uneasy, something about her has always caused you to feel on edge. What is that? As it turns out, she looks just like your second grade teacher who selected you when you did not know the answer to a problem and would then embarrass you in front of the class for not having the correct answer. You do not make this association consciously, all you are aware of is feeling on edge, tense and ready to snap at your visitor whenever she is present. However, your emotional mind, unskilled at telling the difference between your teacher and your visitor, only recognizes the the way they look alike and  and has you on a level of high awareness. More often than not you are able to control your anger in circumstances like this because the thinking portion of your brain is able to help the emotional mind stay cool .

The emotional mind’s responses are not limited to physical likenesses. It can respond similarly to anyone based upon a inflection of voice, a particular body posture, even certain body posture, even certain circumstances can arouse your emotional intellect .

Flooding

The final item you should be aware of about your thinking and emotional minds is that your emotional intellect can only stand a certain amount of stimulation until the dam bursts and takes command. This is a circumstance called flooding. Occasionally a trigger is so powerful a trigger is so overwhelming  that we become instantaneously flooded. More often than not, flooding accumulates as time goes by. You awaken and stub your toe. Traffic is bad, you get into the office an hour past your usual time and the boss gives you a hard time for it. You are dealing with customers who are  blaming you for the problems they are having with your company’s product all day, but you aren’t able to react . The anger has been accumulating all day. When you get off work you find your boy has blocked the garage with his go kart and you freak out .

The Take home point here is that while a number of anger stimuli are automatic, the majority have been growing for a long time and can be stopped long before they get to the snapping  point. It is just a matter of pausing when you find yourself over-reacting. You don’t even have to figure out the root cause as long as you recognize that for some subconcious reason you are having a strong emotional reaction. This will awareness will often be enough to change your frame of mine.

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