It’s not “mental health.” It’s uncontrolled anger.
Since the general term “mental health” is being erroneously substituted in discussions lately for the specific problem of uncontrolled anger, I’ve decided to beat the drum of anger management.
As I’ve said before, violence is not the result of “mental health problems,” it is the result of uncontrolled anger. And yes, of course, uncontrolled anger is a mental health problem, but it’s ONE mental health problem. Not everyone with a mental health problem has an uncontrolled anger problem.
So, what does it mean to control your anger?
Well, obviously, and quite simply, it means that you don’t perpetrate violence on anyone, or anything. But beyond that, it means that you have the ability to recognize angry feelings in your body, and that you can control the words you say and the actions you take.
What’s the secret to controlling your anger?
The first part of the secret is no secret at all. It’s the big “new” thing these days, actually. It’s mindfulness. Also known as paying intentional attention to the sensations and mental activities in your body.
In order to control something, you first have to recognize that it’s there and get to know the varying intensities of it. Once you’re able to recognize what’s there, then you can control it. [Bonus: Simply practicing mindfulness makes you less moved by feelings into action.]
Now for the secret to controlling your anger.
Controlling your anger means not only being able to keep from taking violent action when angry feelings are stoked up in your body by some outside influence. It also means being able to generate aggressive feelings and actions in a controlled environment in order to build and discharge angry energy that is currently locked up inside you from all the previous times you quelled the angry beast that wanted to burst forth in violent action.
Let me say that again. Controlling your anger includes finding appropriate times and places to stoke the fire of your aggressive energy and discharging it. Even if at first it makes you feel stupid to do so.
That’s because you’re not really in control of something if you can’t make it come when you call it, now are you?
Got a dog that won’t come when you call it? Who’s in charge there? It’s the same with anger.
The less you recognize it in yourself, and the more you “control” it by forcing it underground, the more likely it is going to come out in violent words and actions.
So, if you want to be someone who truly controls your anger rather than pretending it doesn’t exist and losing control when something triggers it, give me a call. We’ll talk.