What does your anger signal?
By Cinse Bonino
Ding dong. Answer the door.
Brring! Brring! Pick up the phone.
Ping! Take the food out of the microwave.
Certain things that we hear or see tell us that something is happening or that we need to DO something.
Sometimes it's something that we can ignore, BUT other times if we don't do what the signal tells us, there can be serious or at least unpleasant consequences.
A green light.
That look on Dad's face when he's starting to get really upset.
An empty toilet paper roll.
Have you ever heard the old saying:
Don't get mad, get even? Maybe we should change it to: Don't get mad, get balanced.
Anger or feeling mad is usually a signal that something is out of whack. You feel confused, misunderstood, or maybe you are upset about something that someone did or even that YOU did.. You want to find a way to feel okay. To NOT feel out of whack. What can you do?
Mental illness groups don't like it when people say that they feel crazy or mad. They want us to use the word angry. Crazy and mad have bad connotations.
I mean no disrespect to anyone who either works with or has a serious mental condition, but anger makes me feel CRAZY!!!!
When I am mad, I am out of balance. Things don't feel right. My mind isn't at peace. I'm not saying that I have a mental disorder, just that my mind is not comfortable.
Annette found herself getting angry at her little sister Susan over and over again. Not just annoyed, but really, really angry. Susan was mostly just asking Annette lots of questions. When she didn't understand, she'd ask Annette Why? what felt like two million times.
Annette felt totally overwhelmed. She left the house one day when she was particularly upset and went for a walk in the woods. As she walked, both her mind and her body started to calm down. Annette realized that she felt out of control not just about Susan, but about what was happening in her whole life.
Every day after school Annette had something to do or some place to go. Band practice, chess club, meeting friends at the cafe, debate practice, something! She wasn't spending time walking in the woods like this or reading which was almost her favorite thing to do.
Susan's constant questions were like a bell, like an alarm that said Something's wrong!
Susan wasn't really all that annoying, but she was one more thing to deal with and she helped Annette to see that she had TOO MUCH to deal with in her life right now.
Annette decided to write down in her journal all the things that she was involved in and to pick her favorite three and to do just those three. She also decided to write in her journal more often, to make time to read and to walk in the woods, and to be nicer to Susan when she wasn't being an absolute pest!
It is so important to have time to yourself. To be able to be happy and content when you are alone. It is great to enjoy the company of others, but sometimes if we are too busy we don't get in touch with what's going on inside of our own heads.
Thick Nhat Hanh, a poet and Zen master talks about using the sounds that we hear in life to bring us back to awareness. In other words, if your sister is harping at you or the phone is ringing or the microwave is pinging, stop; take a minute, and make sure you are listening to what's inside of you, not just to what is getting thrown at you by the world!
Meditating is a way to sit (or even walk) and leave the noise of the world behind. In our busy, busy world it can be a good thing for many people. Check out Meditation For Dummies for meditation basics.