Utilization of anger management skills and tools is an active process. Implementing them does not come to a complete halt after we notice our decreasing episodes of rage and minimal aggression. It is constant, intentional decision making, alertness to identify our triggers, and choosing to take time to pause and reflect when everything within us yells for us to react. One of the many tools we have is reframing thoughts. Reframing is simply “placing something in a new frame.” When we make the decision to change the lens from which we perceive hostility, aggression or anger, the outcome can be altered. Depending on the lens, the outcome can range from positive to negative. This article by Linda (LCSW) and Charlie Bloom (MSW), published in psychology today, does a tremendous job of helping us understand what reframing looks like.
The biggest takeaways from this article are;
- Reframing is redefining a problem as an opportunity to grow, turning the negative thoughts in hopeful ones. Seeing an argument or disagreement as a possibility for a positive outcome.
- Reframing activates a different way of being.
- The skill to pause and reflect when experiencing anger uncovers the fear and pain that lies underneath it all. Addressing this fear and pain opens us to vulnerability and vulnerability helps us or the other party to disarm, and be vulnerable as well. This highlights the fact that anger is a secondary emotion, and it is only the tip of the iceberg.