Have you ever laid in bed at night, wound up and ticked off, and you really just need to get to sleep, but angry thoughts just keep racing through your mind, and your body is more than restless. You just want to stop being angry because you really need to get to sleep and be rested for tomorrow's work day. I wish I could say this has never happened to me. Well I could say it, but it wouldn't be the truth. The emotion of anger, like many of our emotions, has served our ancestors well, and as I have mentioned many times, emotional experiences such as anger, and fear are very much survival based, without those experiences of our ancestors, we would not likely be here today. In today's world both anger and fear can at times get in the way of our ability to make a positive adjustment to many situations. They can distract us from our need to focus, be physically upsetting, and yet they can also be extremely valuable. We unfortunately have the ability to distort our view of certain situations, and read the situation in accurately. Our perceptions may only be accurate a certain percentage of the time. Psychologist might call these misperceptions,"cognitive distortions", Our mind is always trying to make sense of information. We have been designed by nature, to look at data, organize it, and draw a conclusion from that information or data. It is automatic and happens unconsciously without any conscious effort on our part. The problem is that we frequently believe that our perceptions are accurate. (Just a reminder, we can't always trust our thoughts to tell the truth.) We develop a belief about the situation or circumstance that may or may not be true. It can be either rational or irrational. If we can learn to use the emotional experience as an initial guide that we can evaluate and test for accuracy, we in a very good position to respond effectively to that situation. In this scenario we have been able to use the emotional information to our advantage. If we do not evaluate the emotional information or perception for accuracy, than we have not allowed the emotion to be useful. It is not really the emotion of anger that is the problem, but how we choose to use it. The experience of anger can be very useful in many situations. It can be an alarm that lets us know that something might be wrong, or that there might be the presence of either a physical or emotional danger. In our world it may signify that someone has crossed a personal boundary that needs to be protected. Of course it is going to let us know that some need of ours is not being met. Sometimes we repress the anger and we become anxious or neurotic. Sometimes we act out and injure ourselves by shaming ourselves or even physically injuring ourselves. At other times we may act out and hurt others either physically or emotionally. Sometimes we use anger as a guide to protect ourselves and the people we love both physically and emotionally. So is it the anger that is a problem, or the manner with which we relate to it and use it?
Anger, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
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