Learning About Anger
McNaughton and LeBlanc in the book The Question of Competence: Reconsidering medical education in the twenty-first century, present it well. Emotion is not BAD. Emotion is, in fact, useful. That goes for empathy, compassion, and love as well as for anxiety, guilt, and anger. Recent work by Skinner, Pitzer, and Brule published in the International Handbook of Emotions in Education detail the concept of motivational resilience. This concept encapsulates the energy, direction, and durability of human activity. The authors further connect personal engagement with coping and your ability to overcome trauma.
In short, all emotion is energy. Intentional use of that energy is resilience. Plus, the mechanisms you now unsustainably employ in blind anger are the mechanisms to your sustainable success.
Forgiveness is Resilience
When you feel your energy and direct it intentionally, you resolve authentic and resilient. You are able to manage stressful situations with serenity. You do not borrow trouble from the future. You plan calm no matter the obstacle. You are able to see the bigger, longer-term picture. You are able to spread anxiety, disappointment, shame, and guilt across a stretcher of time disrupting their impacts with awareness of joy in friendships, small successes, progress, and a noble goal.
Energy to Get Things Done
“I get more done when I’m mad.” “I really produce my best work when I’m under pressure.” These are two commonly held lies we tell ourselves. The truth is that energy is the raw material upon which motivation is built. Triggers from upsets or deadlines initiate the flow of adrenaline. Your production in these moments is not your best. It is fueled by raw energy, which makes you feel powerful and capable. It also produces a view of your work evaluated by how HARD you worked as opposed to how COMPETENTLY you have worked.
Imagine if you activated your stores of energy based in curiosity, exploration, and creativity. Rather than the spiking high of adrenaline, you would utilize the slow burn of intentionality. Your resulting production would evidence competence and purpose. You could be proud of the product even more than just getting it done.
How do you do activate energy intentionally? Funny thing is that you can utilize the same mechanisms that are being abused by anger. Think about it. Your anger is just a quick progression through a biological and psychological process. You perceive that a threat is imminent. Your body produces chemicals that get your body ready for a struggle. Instinct takes a tighter grip on your muscle control. You respond with more body and less mind.
Here’s the same mechanism with intentionality:
- You plan out a routine of mental and physical engagement aware of the stressors, both sustainable and unsustainable in your environment.
- To complement your body’s natural response to stress, you drink water, exercise, and breathe deeply in order to mitigate the dosage.
- Intentionality activates your motivation triggered by your schedule. You learn what you need and seek support from your network.
- You meet each waypoint of your plan with a balanced mental and physical approach. You continue holistic health practices as a lifestyle, not just a means to complete a single project.
[ Michael A. Wright, PhD, LAPSW is a father of two girls and a boy. He is also a 20 year veteran husband. He works as a leadership coach and organization consultant based in Nashville, Tennessee. With over 16 years of experience guiding individuals to their goals, Michael has the techniques and patience to help you succeed. Follow @MAWMedia on Twitter or connect for a consultation at MAWMedia.com ]