Anger is a normal natural emotion that we all experience at one time or another in our lives. But what if you are experiencing anger often or what if your anger is rageful and hurtful? What do you do with that? Do you have the right to be that angry? The kind of anger that calls names, throws things, breaks furniture, and punches holes in the walls – is it okay to become that furious? What happens to your temperament when you are stuck in traffic, standing in a long line at the grocery store, or you have to wait for someone who is late? Do you “lose it”? How do you handle criticism, people who are impolite, or someone not listening to you? How often do you say, “Oh, it’s not a big deal, I’m just going to let it go”? Are you passive, aggressive, or passive/aggressive? What do these terms mean? Does it really matter? How do you describe your anger? Is it simmering or is it violent – maybe somewhere in between? Is it possible to “control” your anger or is it “just in your genes”?
First, let’s take a look at the different types of behaviors/communications. The four types of behaviors/communications are aggressive, passive, passive/aggressive, and assertive. We’ll start with the difference between aggressive and assertive. Often, people mistake being aggressive for being assertive. There is a difference. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, aggression is defined as tending toward or exhibiting aggression/aggressive behavior/ marked by combative readiness such as an aggressive fighter. According to the same dictionary, assertiveness is defined as being disposed to or characterized by bold or confident statements and behavior as in an assertive leader. So, if we look at these two definitions, we realize that aggressive behavior/communication is far different from assertive behavior/communication. Being assertive is being self assured and capable of saying what is needed to be said – having a voice and standing up for what you believe in or asking for what you need. Aggression is intimidating and will get you ignored, left alone, and feeling not listened to. People will surely shut you off if you are being aggressive to get what you want or to communicate your needs. Think of how you feel when someone demands something from you. Do you feel like listening to them? If a person is screaming at you, throwing things, punching holes in the wall – are you going to want to be near them? My guess is probably not – I know that I wouldn’t want to. Aggression temporarily will get a person what they want, but in the end, they will lose their credibility and those around them will begin to shun them. Being around someone who is angry and aggressive all the time is not fun – for anybody.
One definition of therapy is “the act of caring for someone” or “treatment”. Mindfulness can be defined as “the art of staying aware” and is considered the critical factor in the path to liberation and being able to see things more clearly. Mindfulness Counseling combines the art of therapy with the art of mindfulness in an effort to help you live a more peaceful, calm, and tranquil life.
Mindfulness Counseling carefully treats the obstacles that can get in the way of your healthy lifestyle. That might be feelings of despair due to a life situation or feelings of being overwhelmed due to depression or anxiety. Maybe your life has taken a turn that you are not comfortable with and you need some guidance to assist you in “getting back on track”. The goal should be for the therapist to achieve a partnership with the client that will result in a development of client self awareness and self actualization — to become more mindful of yourself and your environment.
Mindfulness Counseling is a blend of western psychological counseling and eastern contemplative practices which, together, can help the client to make changes in their lives. Mindfulness Counseling can be applied to clients who have anxiety, depression, and traumas (such as PTSD or a complex trauma). This modality can also help clients who suffer from addictions, need help with anger management, or feel “out of control” in their lives.
Mindfulness Counseling assists the client in understanding the “signs” of the mind and body and how to be more aware of those signs. What might those signs mean to the client and are those signs the precursor to a panic attack, a rageful outburst, or an urge to gamble, to abuse a substance, or eat a box of cookies?
“The wise have mastered body, word and mind. They are the true masters.” ~Buddha
Peacefulness is many things to many people and is described in the dictionary as tranquility: a calm and quiet state, free from disturbances or noise or as a mental calm: a state of mental calm and serenity, with no anxiety.
How many of us are able to live our days filled with a mental calm/serenity? How many of us go through our day with an overbearing sense of anxiety. Where does that anxiety come from and how do we rid our lives of it?
First we have to be aware of the anxiety….how is it manifesting itself in our lives? Where are we feeling the anxiety? Is it a lump in our throat, a clenched fist or jaw, maybe it’s a pounding headache? The first trick is to identify the physical manifestations of the anxiety.
Second, how is it taking shape in our minds? Do we have thoughts of hatefulness, jealousy, maybe we feel left out of everything? How do we let these thoughts grow within our minds? The next trick is to identify the thought process and how that is affecting us.
Lastly, have I taken a very small fact and let it grow into a non-fact? For example, is it true that my husband is late coming home from work? Yes! Is it true that he has been badly hurt in an auto accident? No! Or better yet, we don’t know, do we? The next trick is to identify what we have let “grow” into an anxiety provoking thought through ruminating.
Take time through your day to think about these “tricks” and apply mindfulness into your life. Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, actions, physical feelings, and emotions. Being mindful is being in the moment.