Not my classiest of titles, but hey, at least it paints a vivid picture. In this post we’re going to talk about the effects that the people who drive us the most bonkers in life have on us AND how we can take the power back (Rage Against the Machine style!). The way we can do this is by learning how to prevent these buttheads from taking control of our emotions. So, I’ll ask you to try an exercise and bring someone that drives you supremely berserk into your awareness. Is it your shitty boss who makes four times as much money, does half the amount of work and is not nearly as smart as you? Is it your best friend who is a total dick to girls but still gets to pork the hottest ones? What about your aunt who always wants to talk about religion and politics? Your sister-in-who won’t stop posting pictures of her shitty plastic surger’ied boobs all over Instagram? Or more generally, someone you don’t even know: i.e. the lady driving in front of you who picks up her cell phone and automatically decreases her speed by 20 mph. These are just hypothetical examples; now back to you and the person (or people) who make you want to projectile vomit hate chunks everywhere.Clear your head and bring these people into your awareness. Think about what they look like and how they dress. Think about how they carry themselves and what they say. Think about what their voice sounds like and even how they smell. Now stop and notice what’s happening in your body. Are you tense? Uneasy? Uber pissed because I asked you to think about this fart face? Is your heart rate picking up? Is your stomach in knots? If you experience any of these things, then you can see how much of an effect others can have on you. Point being: our intense reactions have an intense impact on our mood.
Getting pissed and experiencing anger is a natural and normal thing. There is a reason for it, and even though I don’t know you, I’m willing to bet that if you get upset about something, there is a damn good cause. Now, while anger is natural and normal, I’m not giving you the green light here to act a total fool, because ultimately you are responsible for the way you allow the world to effect you. It’s not bad to get upset, but it is bad to stay upset because that takes away from your quality of life. If you’re going to learn how to manage and regulate that Incredible Hulk part of yourself that you, me and everyone else has, you will have to increase your level of self-awareness and become more mindful of why your triggers affect you the way that they do.
Sooooooo, learn to focus. To do this, simply take a deep breath. Relaxation is as easy as the 4/7 rule. Inhale for the count of 4 then exhale for the count of 7. Since you are expending more air than you are taking in, your body naturally calms down. Now, start asking yourself a bunch of “what” and “why” questions. What are your triggers, andwhy do the people that set you from zero to a bazillion have such a deleterious effect on you. Become a sleuth and investigate inside your precious consciousness. Dig in between the cracks and crevasses of your magnificent, beautiful and remarkable brain and explore your inner-workings. Turn the lights on as bright as they can go. Use a MEGAWATT 1,000,000 bulb and illuminate your thoughts. What are the roots of these issues? What’s lurking behind them? Expose as much about your anger as you possibly can.
Increasing your self-awareness means increasing your understanding of yourself. And since you are fucking awesome and fucking rad, you owe it to yourself to figure these things out. I know what I am asking is difficult. In fact, I spend months (and years) doing individual psychotherapy sessions with the clients I see to help them figure this stuff out. That said, this is me encouraging you to reflect on all of this as a starting point.
When we experience an event that triggers an anger so intense it makes us want to shove hot, milky dog shit into someone’s face, we are unknowingly forfeiting our self-control. Physiologically, what happens is that when we become triggered like this, our emotion over powers our ability to be reasonable (technically, your deep limbic system becomes riled up and your ability to be rational goes bye-bye). To stop this hi-jacking, you (You! You!! You!!!) must pay attention to your anger and acknowledge why it is there: “That person makes me feel insecure,” “That person reminds me of my dad and he made me feel like shit growing up,” “That person reminds me of my ex-girlfriend who cheated on me,” “That person reminds me of the dingus who ripped on me all throughout middle school and I feel vulnerable when I remember that,” etc. This will allow you to respond with less intensity and acquire more control over the way you manage your feelings. And the truth is, when you allow someone else to set you off in such a colossal way, who does it negatively effect? Whose stress level and blood pressure spikes? Whose day gets totally ruined? Who becomes on edge and can’t concentrate? It’s not the other person; it’s you. So, practice letting go and hopefully the next time you get all angrified and rage-balled and your shitty mood lasts for 2 hours, it gets cut down to one hour; then to thirty minutes, then to ten minutes – to the point where you have a handle on things and are consistently better able to manage your feelings. Practicing this leads to stability and inner peace.
This is your life and the more you allow other people to have control over your mood the less likely you are to feel at ease or fulfilled. So, as the mighty Zack de la Roca says, “You are the witness of change, and to counteract, we gotta take the power back.” It’s onward and upward for you. Don’t give up on yourself and don’t ever stop trying to grow and learn. It’s never too late and today belongs to you. Next time you find yourself being triggered, see it as an opportunity to react differently than you did in the past and try a new way of responding. If at first you don’t succeed, fuck it, stand up tall and keep on practicing. Change will happen if you stick with it, so stick with it. You totally got this. TOTALLY. GOT. THIS! Thanks for reading. My book will be out in 2014! EEP!