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A collectin of tests and exercises to help you use your anger creatively and positively.
Anger involves a complex system of reactions that includes thinking, bodily changes, and behavior. To knowhow anger works we have to understand how this system works -- what initi-ates it, and what perpetuates it.
Knowing how anger works will help you in several ways:
7 In any given situation, you will be in a better position to work out your anger.
7 You will recognize how you perpetuate your anger in a counterproductive manner and knowwhat to change to make it productive.
7 You will understand and deal more effectively with the an-ger of others.
To understand how anger works, remember that events have no emotional value per se. The process of cognitive appraisal gives meaning to those events. Depending on the intensity of the ap-praisal, we experience a shift in our level of physiological arousal, which then, in conjunction with our thinking, causes us to act in a certain way. When we appraise a situation in an "angry man-ner," the shift in physiological arousal becomes anger arousal and the behavior that follows becomes our anger actions.
Sometimes it seems that the first thing we become aware of is anger arousal, rather than angry thoughts. Academicians debate whether thoughts precede bodily changes or vice versa. Some even take the position that behavior comes before thought or somatic changes. It serves no purpose to get caught up in the chicken or the egg debate; we should simply recognize that anger is produced by an interaction (fusion) of our thoughts, bodily changes, and behavior that is triggered by external events that tend to make us angry. These external events are knownasprovocations.
The traditional result of the way we respond to a provocation is ananger feedback loop that is made up of our thoughts, bodily changes, and behavior. Each influences and reacts with the others in an escalating manner. For example, you "appraise" your child's failure to put his toys away as a deliberate disobedience. This appraisal leads to angry thoughts; "He never listens to me, damn it. The kid's a real problem." Your body reacts to these thoughts with a typical anger arousal response: pounding heart, tightened gut, increased pulse. You interpret (appraise) this arousal as fur-ther evidence of anger, thinking, "Boy, this really pisses me off." Your body gets the message that youare angry, and next thing you know, you are either yelling at your child or storming out of the room. Observing your "self" doing these angry actions not only supports your thinking and arousal that you are indeed an-gry, but also intensifies each reaction. In short, a vicious system is in motion.
Copyright © 1985 by Hendrie D> Weisinger, Ph.D. Dr. Weisinger Anger Work-Out Book. Copyright © by Hendrie Weisinger. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.