When it comes to DBT, mindfulness plays a huge role in this type of therapy. This is especially true if you are trying to find a way to lower your levels of anger. Mindfulness is something that will keep you from focusing on all those negative emotions you might have. If you continually focus on the negative most often will just intensify these emotions. This is one of the key reasons why mindfulness is such an important part of DBT.
Those who have done research on anger have discovered that chronic hostility and anger will only increase a person’s vulnerability heart problems. Anger can also cause relationship problems and even put up barriers at work that can keep a person from being successful on the job. Anger can also get in the way of goals a person might have set for themselves.
So, the question here is what can reduce your anger? Quite often, the answer today is mindfulness. So, what is mindfulness? Being mindful involves paying close attention to and contemplating on something while you let go of your assumptions as well as your judgments. It teaches you to learn how to take a step back and look at things more objectively and to stop yourself from evaluating whether it’s right or wrong and good or bad. It teaches you not to try and change things but to be open to the experiences even if you don’t like it.
Study Your Personal Anger
It’s important to try to learn more about your anger and mindfulness encourages you to study it and find out what most commonly gets you angry. Think about where you might be when you start to feel angry. You also need to discover who it is that often makes you angry. When you are studying your anger you should write down all the answers that you come up with. Keep this list of answers and use it the next time you start feeling angry about something. This is a very important step in learning how to be more mindful.
Quite often you don’t even see that you’re angry until you fly into a rage and something gets broken or it causes immense discord in your relationship. However, by using mindfulness, you can discover what circumstances that tend to trigger the anger and you can either learn how to avoid them or at least prepare yourself for the anger.
Mindfulness can also help to learn to recognize the signals that your body sends you just before a rage-filled attack presents itself. It’s important to note that emotions are comprised of three different components:
- Physical or how your body responds when you’re experiencing emotions
- Cognitive which are the thoughts that go with your emotions
- Behavioral which are the things that you do or have the urge to do when you are experiencing certain emotions
Answer the Following Questions
Once you’ve made a list of triggers you will want to answer the following questions:
- When you get angry, what physical things do you notice? Do you feel your heart pounding? Is your breathing shallow? Does your body feel hot?
- What kind of thoughts rush through your mind? Do you feel like something isn’t fair? Do you think a person is being a jerk? Do you believe this should not have happened?
- What kind of behavior do you exhibit when you get angry? Do you scream and yell? Do you find yourself clenching your fists?
These things can all help warn you that you are about to totally explode.
Avoid What Triggers Your Anger
This is something that should be obvious to do, but most people just don’t do it enough. Research has consistently shown that if you manipulate what triggers you is one of the most powerful ways you can actually change how you behave.
For example, if you are a person that gets angry over politics, do you think it’s wise then to go and watch a political news show or engage in a controversial political conversation with someone? Of course, it’s not. This is why mindfulness expresses the importance of trying to avoid what triggers your anger.
Even if you find it difficult to avoid your triggers, you can always do something that will reduce the impact of these triggers. You just need to be creative. Try counting to ten, breath deep, think of something that makes you smile, and so on.
Train Your Mind
One way to train your mind is to sit down and close your eyes and then take a few breaths. The next thing you will want to do is to think of things that make you really angry. You need to get a pretty clear picture of what that is. Once you have done that you need to focus on the different sensations that you feel in your body. Things like a tense forehead or muscles starting to tense up.
You will also want to observe the emotions you get when thinking about what makes you angry. However, you don’t want to embrace them. You just want to objectively look at these emotions and just notice them and don’t interact with these feeling. You also don’t want to push them away either, you need to be able to recognize them.
Always keep focused on the sensations that these emotions cause without judging or labeling them. Always bring your mind back to noticing only the sensations and then focus on any thoughts that might be present and acknowledge them just thoughts and don’t attach yourself to them.
Mindfulness will teach you to learn how to do objective labeling. This will help you to notice what is happening without actually judging what is happening. If you notice your fists are clenching when you think of something that makes you angry, tell yourself that’s fine but wanting to punch someone or something with those clenched fists is not fine. Always try to stick with the facts and stay neutral. If you judge your emotions or sensations you’ll only add more fuel to the situation.
Mindfulness helps you to observe without embracing. It teaches you to focus on the sensations but not to interpret the emotions. It teaches you to label your emotions and sensations in an objective manner. It encourages you to sit down and practice for 10 or 15 minutes a day recognizing what angers you, learning to let it go and not becoming attached to them. This will help these emotions slip away.
With practice, you’ll be able to learn how to calm down those stormy emotions before they totally emerge without having to interact or act upon them.