Anger and How it Hurts Us All.

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It’s time to talk about this dangerous emotion we call anger.

We see it everywhere we go. It’s reflected in our children, our co-workers, ourselves, and even on the front page of every newspaper. As tensions rise in the political arena, we are witnessing an unprecedented level of anger (and childishness!). What’s scary about this election is how easily anger and frustration ignite into violence. As a therapist, I see this on a daily basis with my clients.

Anger often stems from a feeling of powerlessness and a perceived lack of control. Much of my work revolves around helping people realize how they can control their own thoughts and reactions. A sense of calm within the family starts with the parents or adults who are responsible for setting the tone and being in control of their own emotions.

So how do we create a sense of calm when it appears as though the entire world is blowing up around us? The first step is to try to find what I call “pockets of peace” within our hectic day. Simple rituals that help to clear our mind serve as a reprieve from the burdens and stress that often overwhelm us.

One pocket of peace can be starting your day with a positive affirmation. Before you get out of bed, name two things that you are grateful for and meditate on them.

Another pocket of peace can be found by shutting off your media devices and televisions. Turn off the news! It is a source of tremendous anxiety, and you shouldn’t start your day with your head filled with someone else’s fears and tragedy.

A third pocket of peace is thinking outside of yourself. Envisioning contentment and calm for another individual can widen our compassion and help us realize who needs us most, even if it’s just a friendly phone call to say, “Hi, I’m thinking of you today.” Often, we spend far too much time envying those around us who are more fortunate. We compare our lives to others which can lead to feelings of resentment. Don’t waste your precious energy on negative emotions.

Anger can be contagious, but so can contentment. Let’s try to shift our individual focus towards our own pockets of peace.

You can’t change the world, but you can change yourself.

If we want the world to reflect hope and courage, we need to shift out of toxic emotions like anger and move towards feelings of peace and tranquility. Our future depends on it.

It’s not that difficult, because sometimes it’s true what they say, “It’s all in your head!”

Karen Stabley, Art Therapy (ATR)

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