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Practicing with Anger

Wise Heart
Event organized by Wise Heart

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Is this for you?

There are likely one of three ways you want to focus your practice with anger.
1. You may have a fear or block around anger and want to find access anger along with other emotions.

2. You find yourself getting angry, staying angry, and/or behaving from anger and would like some skills for transforming this pattern of reactivity.

3. Your fear of anger in others inhibits your ability to feel safe, set boundaries, and express what's really true for you.

What's it all about?
Anger is an important signaling system letting you know that you perceive a threat. It is meant to draw your attention to something so that you can take care of yourself or others.

In the context of recovering from an abusive relationship, anger can indicate progress. It signals that the receiver of the abuse is beginning to recognize that their needs have been unmet and hopefully is roused to take care of those needs.

When you are mindful enough to recognize anger as a signal, you can take your time and meet it as such by following the same steps outlined in meeting anxiety (http://wiseheartpdx.org/blog/?p=401). Basically, by naming it, accepting that it's okay to have it, feeling it in your body, and looking for the feelings and needs underneath it.

Anger becomes a hindrance, when you fan the flames of it with your thoughts and behavior:

Thought: things should be different than they are or
Thought: someone should act different than they are
Behavior: yelling, blaming, judging, stomping about, etc.
Unfortunately, anger is often associated with violent behavior of one sort of another so meeting someone in anger while experiencing a sense of safety can be very challenging. Tragically, for those who are often angry there is cycle of not being heard again and again which leaves in its wake lonliness and more reactivity. A part of accessing a sense of safety while another is angry is learning how to meet that person and learning how to set a boundary based on a connection to your needs rather than fear.

Lastly, anger can also be habitual. Understanding anger as a habit opens access to a wide array of strategies for working with it. These include body awareness, replacement strategies, obtaining a critical mass of clarity, and identifying an underlying need for healing.

What to expect?

Concepts and skills will be presented and then you will work individually, in pairs, and in small groups to learn and practice. The focus of the training is experiential learning, thus content and pratice is balanced to give you a felt sense of a new way forward.

After each exercise, you will have an opportunity for debrief and questions. You will engage in 5-7 practice exerices in all. You will be working in a group of about 20-40 participants.