In Part 1 of this post I discussed the importance of understanding the energetic behind anger in order to effectively intervene when your anger begins to rise.
Using the analogy of household wiring, we can understand what needs to be done in order to avoid getting trapped in rising anger that overflows.
Just like the electricity in your home needs a ground so it doesn’t short out and catch fire, the energy in your body needs a way to ground so you don’t overload it and boil over. Think of this exercise as a way of building in a breaker box so that you can flip a switch and diffuse your anger before it burns your house down.
You can also think of it as upgrading the wiring in your home from a voltage capacity of 110 to 220. Over time you will be able to stay calm and centered in the midst of the kinds of upsets that would have triggered your anger to erupt.
In this exercise, you can stop the anger from boiling over by “unplugging” or “cooling off” for a time. If you have ever left your cell phone in the sun, you know that it will shut itself off to protect itself from overheating. By putting it in the fridge for a few minutes and bringing the temperature down, it will turn on and function correctly. The PAUSE technique works the same way.
When you feel anger creeping up you make the choice to Take a Pause.
The key is to think of it casually, just like you would if you were watching your favorite show but need a snack or restroom break. There’s no judgement, only a need or desire to take care of something (getting food or emptying your bladder).
STEPS TO PAUSE:
- Stop – Do not react or argue with the person when your anger is triggered.
- Step Away – Say, “I need to take a pause. I’ll be back in about 20 minutes.” Then remove yourself from the stressful situation.
- Breathe – Spend 10-20 minutes taking slow deep breaths. Inhalation and exhalations should be as close as you can get to 10 seconds each.
- Smile – Put a smile on your face and imagine connecting your brain with your heart.
- Imagine – Think of something funny or pleasant. Recall one of your favorite memories, or something you feel grateful for and smile into the memory. When the smile starts to feel natural you are making the necessary shifts and can return to address the issue at hand from a calm and centered place.
Practice taking a pause with small things, like frustration with a program on your computer not working properly or with a task that is difficult and becoming annoying. If you are able to use the pause technique easily for small triggers, it will be more likely you will remember to use it when you really need it in larger, more anger provoking circumstances.
Head on over to Part 3 to learn how to protect yourself from others’ anger.
To learn more about Tj Bartel and how he helps men and couples create more harmonious, deeply intimate relationships, visit his coaching website.