Anger Addiction

An interesting development that occurred during my grieving process was the anger phase.  I am not an angry person – I am not quick to anger -I don’t stay angry for long – I certainly don’t like to feel angry…. then, why did I just do it for like, a year?

I think our bodies and our minds become addicted to anger – on the spiritual and physiological level….  like the little adrenaline rush that happens becomes a daily fix.  The curious thing that happened to me personally, was how effectively my brain was able to “cover-up” the real reason behind my anger and thus prolong the anger phase.

I was pissed everyday for quite some time… but it was rarely about Cystic Fibrosis.  It was about the pile of laundry, the toy box dumped on the floor AGAIN, the phone calls I wasn’t in the mood to return…  funny how my brain or psyche or whatever just seemed to know if I was angry about Cystic Fibrosis everyday I probably would have done something about it immediately – it hid behind all of these other “distractions” to live another day.

The truth is, I was tired – that rush of anger everyday, sometimes several times per day is exhausting.  When I finally identified the problem I thought that would be it but the I had a hard time moving past this anger – and as I really started to pay attention I realized that sometimes my brain would go looking for a  fight.  It almost started to feel like it was addicted to being mad.  Upon further research I discovered that there is a physiological connection – that negative emotions send us into “fight or flight mode and that some anger hormones have a similar effect to methamphetamine – and are in fact addictive and intoxicating.  This knowledge seemed to shift perspective for me and I just became more aware of my triggers.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

— Buddha.

Here are 6 ways that I found to be the most effective tools in letting go of this anger:

Gratitude Exercise –

take a moment every evening before bed is really an amazing way to end the day… I write in the journal and keep it beside my bed so I might even take a peek in the morning. Who can stay pissed off when they are reminded of all the blessings in their life?

Shake it off!

Change the subject immediately – do something physical immediately, 10 jumping jacks, push-ups, change the adrenaline source – apparently adults really aren’t that much more emotionally advanced than your average 3 year old – cause this technique really works!

Forgive, forgive, forgive

yourself, your loved ones, your mother, your father, the dude who cut you off driving to the grocery store… you get the picture.  Resenting yourself or anyone is not a productive way to live – and not forgiving is just this little pimple of anger waiting to burst (gross but true);

Ditch the Debbie Downers –

it’s not easy to eliminate people from your life but if being someone makes you feel down, or judged, or angry, or sad… that relationship ain’t workin’ for ya!

Meditate, breathe, give your soul some oxygen! 

Much like the physiological response to anger – of course our bodies respond to meditation and deep breathing.  The key here – especially for women – is to let go of this picture perfect image in our heads of what our meditative time will look like.  Kids suddenly engrossed in Toopy and Binoo?  Get on You Tube and listen to some nice relaxing music…. close your eyes… I imagined this anger I was feeling to be a big ball in my stomach and I would just send it love and forgiveness and light… I would literally feel it dissipate.

Seek closure.

I kind of did this by accident but that was because I felt like because Rowan’s disease is chronic – that my feelings about it had to be chronic. Eww, that’s a gross thought isn’t it? I’m not saying that I feel all sunshiney and rosey about Cystic Fibrosis but I am saying that I have found a place where I can accept this is in our lives and move forward.

So, is today the day? Is today the day you let go of anger and angst and frustration… you KNOW it doesn’t serve you, you KNOW it’s holding you back.  Letting it all go will open a door of possibilities beyond your imagination… so good lord, open it up and take a peek!

6 thoughts on “Anger Addiction

  1. A beautiful, powerful, transparent blog Kelly! I honor your courage, your willingness to look deep in your soul for truth, and your willingness to share it with others, so that they too can heal as you have. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of despair; we sink into deep discouragement until we become totally powerless and immobile… it can seem like the only way for us to get out of this deep sadness is to explode in anger… Anger can temporarily feel empowering… it give us energy and gives us a sense of empowerment… But it is like a sugar high… it quickly burns off, and we feel even lower than before. Thank you Kelly for the great tips in bringing us up in a healthy and empowering way for the long term… Namaste

  2. THANKS for this post—it was a huge help to me to better understand what my husband walked through in the aftermath of his fighting cancer followed by the sudden death of one of our sons… (and I have shared this post on facebook…hopefully it will get LOTS of reads by my friends…)

    • I am SO SORRY for your loss… yeah, I’d be pretty pissed too if I was your husband. He must have terrible survivors guilt 😦 wow, I just can’t say sorry enough… thoughts and prayers and hugs coming your way!

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