It happened again.
You tried to stop yourself. You wish you hadn’t said it. And, yet, despite all your best efforts, you lost it once again.
You know better. You know you should be more “spiritual” and not allow others to push your buttons or disturb your peace. But whenever it happens you are powerless. You just explode.
It’s a vicious cycle and you feel like a failure.
Worst of all is the hopelessness, because you know it will happen again, no matter what you do or how much you meditate.
Will it ever end?
Actually, the solution may be easier than you think. It may just take a few simple techniques to help you transform your conditioned “push-button” response into a state of peaceful joy.
I know because I was one of the worst “offenders” and thought I could never get control of my temper. It took me years to find ways to break the cycle, but gradually I did and it can work for you, too.
If you want to transform anger into joy, read on, you might be amazed at what you are capable of!
Breaking the Cycle
First, let’s get a basic understanding of why people can push your buttons.What’s the mechanism at work here?
Well…you probably heard of “neural pathways” in the brain. Simply put, these a mental programs that trigger a certain emotional response – in this case anger – to a particular stimulus = your “push button”.
It’s so ingrained, it has become automatic – which is why you have such an impossible time stopping yourself.
“Reprogramming” those neural pathways to a different response requires 3 steps:
1) recognizing that a trigger has occurred = someone pushed your buttons, you feel anger arising
2) interrupting the pathway for at least a few seconds = one of the 5 Steps below
3) inserting a new response in the brief interruption window you just created
Done repeatedly, this will create a new reflex, and the old push button will no longer work.
You are retraining your mind in other words, somewhat like Pavlov’s dog.
It might work the first time or it may take some practice – but work it will if you persist. And the rewards will be amazing.
Anger is an Addiction
Anger is an addiction. It is nothing to be ashamed of. It is like a disease that suddenly comes over us, takes over our mind and does whatever it pleases. Once it subsides we realize how out-of-proportion our reaction was and how much damage we have caused.
But by then it is too late.
The worst thing you can do is feel guilty or feel like a failure. Self-loathing and guilt only strengthen the addiction and produce more latent anger that will erupt later. It’s a vicious cycle.
And, frankly, guilt is a complete waste of time and energy and has never solved anything.
Think about it…..
5 Power Tools to Transform Anger into Joy
Now let’s look at several ways to interrupt the neural response when someone is pushing your buttons and you are about to explode:
1 – You’ve heard it before – but, yes, TAKE A DEEP BREATH!
One of THE most powerful tools we have to control our emotions – any emotion – is the breath!
Our breath is directly linked to our emotions and you can use it to either calm yourself or erupt further. You can always tell by a person’s breath what emotional state they are in.
Try it sometime…..
When you feel even the slightest inkling of anger arising, drop everything, close your eyes and take one slow, deep breath.
It may feel like an eternity and your ego will be screaming to get your angry response out.
But make a commitment right now that you won’t speak until you have taken at least that 1 breath!
A temporary state of insanity
It only takes a few seconds, but it can be enough to break or at least slow down the rise of “temporary insanity” we go through when anger takes us over.
If you can do more than one breath, that’s even better – but for now make a commitment to take just one breath and keep on practicing it.
How do you practice?
Throughout the day whenever you remember, stop for a moment and take a deep breath. Close your eyes if you can. Take just a few seconds and then resume what you were doing.
Any little thing that might dull your mood, even temporarily – the weather changing, a loud noise, someone’s comment – take a deep breath.
Because by doing it over and over again you are re-training your subconscious mind to respond to any negative trigger with a deep breath.
When we get angry it often happens so quickly that we don’t realize it until it’s over and too late.
By practicing taking a deep breath even with small annoyances or challenges you program yourself for a different response when it really matters.
A Deep Breath Can Clear Stuck Energy
Another benefit of deep breathing throughout the day is the clearing of stuck energy – usually caused by negative emotions (sadness, anger, fear, guilt, etc.).
The less stuck you are, the less likely you are to explode. Pretty simple….
2: Create an Emergency Happiness Handbook
This has been THE most powerful tool for me and it may be the same for you.
What is an Emergency Happiness Handbook?
Well…..let’s create one and you will understand.
Get a little journal or notebook – ideally in a color or design you love that’s small enough to fit in your purse or back pocket (for men).
It will be your savior and best friend during an anger attack.
- Create a page for each of the most amazing, most beautiful, most proud moments of your life. Whatever gives you goosebumps just thinking about it.
- Keep it short – headline and a description, whatever you enjoy remembering – and paint a vivid picture full of feelings and sense perceptions. Make it as real as possible.
- If you can, add photos – there is nothing more powerful than a visual reminder.
- If a song is connected to the event – write down the title.
- Create several pages of this and write only events that absolutely make your heart sing and your soul dance.
- Add things you are grateful for, that you feel blessed with: the people in your life, your passions, hobbies, memories, pets. And again, briefly write down a specific event or story in vivid colors. Describe how they make you feel.
- Again add music and photos where possible.
- As a final backup think of someone who is suffering and going through great hardship. Don’t dwell on it.
- Just write down their name, maybe a picture. But nothing else.
Applying the Magic
Now that you’ve prepared your Emergency Happiness Handbook, keep it close and look at it often, so these stories become imprinted strongly on your subconscious mind.
Next time you feel anger arising – immediately after taking your 1 deep breath – take out your little book and open it somewhere. If you can’t take it out, think of the stories inside. If you read some every day, this should be easy even without opening the little book.
Find something powerful enough to transfer your attention to, more powerful than the anger that wants to break though. It will be different stories at different times, but there is always one that works.
Sometimes being reminded of someone else’s hardship can put things into perspective and whatever you were angry about suddenly seems small in comparison.
And this is really all that’s needed – a quick shift in perspective, a distraction – so powerful that anger is transformed into a much lighter, more beautiful emotion of higher vibrational frequency.
3: The Awesome Power of Music
Another powerful tool can be a collection of powerful happy songs. The ones that makes you smile every time, you know the ones….
Emotions are vibrational energy fields. Negative emotions resonate at lower frequencies and positive emotions up high.
Music, too, is nothing but vibration. That’s why she has such power to transform our moods. When we love a song our emotional frequency syncs with and is raised by the vibrational frequency of the music.
The opposite can also be true in the case of a sad song, or one connected with a sad memory. Or aggressive. Many studies have shown the powerful influence of music to even effect political change.
Music is a powerful agent for change.
Adding a few powerful happy songs to your tool box will make a world of difference.
You can even ask a friend or loved one to hum or play your “happy tune” when they see you get lost in emotion – and you can do the same for them.
Anything to break the cycle.
4: How Do You Feel Right Now?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but we usually ignore this one completely.
A quick tool to interrupt your mind’s badgering is to ask yourself: “how do I feel right now?”
If you are angry the answer won’t be positive and by focusing on how you feel, rather than what you think, you have once again distracted your mind, even if just for a moment.
Realizing how crappy anger feels can often be enough to put things into perspective. It raises the question:
Is it really worth feeling this crappy, just to be right or get back at the other person?
5: The Healing Power of Nature
Finally, few things are more powerful for clearing your mind than a walk in nature. The sound of the ocean, the waves at your feet. Walking through a beautiful forest, listening to the birds and smelling the flowers and trees all have a wonderfully purifying effect.
They, too, can help you to step away, cool down and put things into perspective.
I would include your pets here as well. Playing with your dog or cuddling with your kitty and feeling her purr are powerful ways to shift your mood and perspective.
They make you laugh and when you feel their unconditional love the whole world suddenly looks different.
This option is not always available in an immediate situation, but whenever you don’t have to reply right away – in the case of an email or phone message for example – they can be wonderfully soothing before you respond.
Once again, don’t ever blame yourself if you fail. That little voice in your head that keeps torturing you – often for days after the event has passed – is your Ego.
And guess what……you don’t have to listen to it!
That was one of the most liberating realizations of my life, because my little voice was very active and used to make me miserable for days.
Whatever happened is already done, nothing can change it and dwelling on it is just a tremendous waste of precious energy that could be used in much better ways.
If your anger still wins occasionally, let it go and move on. There is alway another day.
You always get another chance.
And if you are determined and apply a few of these tools, your reactions will change over time and your life will become a lot more peaceful and happy.
Then, when someone pushes your buttons, you will catch yourself in time.
You won’t snap, but instead keep your cool and focus on joyous things. You might even feel compassion for the other person, because angry people are never happy.
Imagine the elation you will feel when instead of an anger attack and all the horrible feelings that go with it, you remain in blissful joy.
You let the other person ramble, but it doesn’t touch you or drag you down. You are so engrossed in thrilling memories and joyful gratitude that nothing could ever tempt you away. It just isn’t worth the aggravation.
And how wonderful life can be!
Give it a try. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain. And now you have a whole toolbox ready to help you transform anger into joy.
You have all the power now and what an amazing feeling that is!
About the author: Gundi Gabrielle is a world traveller, concert artist, bestselling author, and life coach, who loves to help people remove blocks in their lives and create the most joyous, fulfilled life possible. Follow her epic journeys around the world at SassyZenGirl.com