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MARCH: THE MONTH OF CHANGE

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” — Victor Frankl

Many people who choose anger management are inevitably seeking some sort of change. Something needs to be different, they feel. But what is it that truly needs to change?

It’s pretty simple: they need to change their thoughts and beliefs.

Let’s discuss this further. Imagine you put five people in the same situation—let’s say…..being cut off while in traffic—and only one of them (let’s call him Alex) felt intensely angry about what happened. Considering that everyone else felt little to no anger, it’s important to ask why Alex in particular felt very angry.

As mentioned earlier, it’s because of Alex’s specific thought patterns and beliefs. If one of his beliefs is, “People should never cut me off in traffic,” then he’s setting himself up to feel angry every time he drives. On the other hand, Alex could try adopting a more rational belief such as, “Sometimes people cut other people off in traffic; although I certainly don’t like it, it is a fairly regular aspect of driving. It is my choice how I respond to other drivers’ behavior.”

Easier said than done, right? Of course it is. But it is certainly worth trying! Because, the truth is, it can be done. And it has been done. So be willing to change outdated thoughts and beliefs and adopt healthier, more rational, more empowering ways of thinking.

CALL TO ACTION!

This week, the next time you feel angry, see if you can pinpoint the exact thought and/or belief that contributed to your feeling. Then, see if you can reframe that thought into a more rational one. If the new thought is both believable and peace-inducing, then you’re on the right track!

FEBRUARY: THE MONTH OF LOVE

Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.” —Buddha

The month of February may bring up many emotions for people. After all, it is the month that contains that either beloved or hated holiday we all know as….Valentine’s Day! Those of us in relationships may embrace the holiday of romantic love with open arms (or sometimes not!), while those of who are single may curse the holiday with a raised fist and anger in our hearts.

If you are feeling anger toward the holiday, toward others, or even toward yourself this month, take a break for a moment and remember to breathe! Most likely, you are feeling angry because of the thoughts and/or beliefs you are holding with regard to this time of month. Remember—negative thoughts lead to negative emotions.

For example, one reason you may be feeling angry is because you feel you should have a partner on Valentine’s Day, and if you don’t, you feel less worthy than others. If your thoughts are demanding that you should have a partner, begin by questioning them.

Is it really true that you absolutely must have a partner? Is it possible that now simply isn’t the time for a partner? Or, is it possible you’re simply not ready for a partner at this point in your life? Finally, consider that not having a partner now does not mean that this will always be the case.

In addition, is it true that you are less worthy if you don’t have a partner? Is it possible that having a partner has nothing to do with your own sense of worth? Could it be that your worth is completely intact regardless of any external circumstances, including a partner?

Once you begin questioning these irrational beliefs and replacing them with more rational ones, you will probably start to feel less emotionally charged. Once again—change your thoughts, and you can change your feelings!

Call to Action!

*Once this week, consider being your own partner by taking yourself out on a date. Yes, I’m serious. If you love nice restaurants and flowers, then go ahead and take yourself out to your favorite restaurant, and reward yourself with a beautiful bouquet of flowers afterward! Treating yourself the way you wish a partner would treat you is not only empowering, but it is also self-loving.

People talk a lot these days about the benefits of journaling. They say that journaling can be highly effective for helping people process their emotions. Seems easy enough, right? Well, simply writing your feelings down on paper can be effective, but to get the most out of the journaling experience, consider experimenting with different methods. In this blog post, we will focus on one particular journaling method, called Morning Pages.

Morning Pages

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way and many other fabulous books, offers a powerful way to express your feelings through what she named “Morning Pages.” The way it works is simple. In the morning, when you wake up, the very first thing you do is sit down at your desk with pen and paper in hand, and you write. NON STOP. Until you’ve completed four pages.

What?!?! Four pages?!? Why so many? The reason is this: during the first couple of pages or so, you’re practically vomiting all the garbage in your mind onto paper (yes, vomiting!). All the negative thoughts and emotions, misunderstandings, irrational beliefs, complaints, and hurts you carry around with you…they’re usually the first to come up and out on paper. So let it rip!

The trick is to KEEP GOING—by letting it all out, you give yourself the space to get beyond the negativity, and toward the truth.

But don’t stop yet! Once you’ve expressed that part of yourself, you can finally get to the heart of the matter and find out what it is you really want and need. As you keep writing, you may start to feel a shift in your energy. Perhaps you feel a sense of relief, a greater connection to love and joy, or maybe even an insight about yourself and your life. Whatever it may be, the important thing to note is that you keep writing until the negative charge has dissipated. When you experience yourself residing in either a neutral or a positive place, then you know that you’re done journaling.

Congratulate yourself!