The Contradiction of Anger: A Double-Edged Sword

Anger is an emotion that everyone experiences in their lives. It can surge through us with a powerful intensity, often making us feel justified and validated. There’s a peculiar sense of satisfaction that comes with expressing anger, as if we are reclaiming a piece of our power. Yet, this fiery emotion holds a contradiction within it.

There is a Hungarian band, Napoleon Boulevard, who poignantly sings, “My heart’s almost torn in half, my rage is tearing it apart, beautiful as a dream can be, too bad it hurts so much.” This lyric encapsulates the paradox of anger: while it can feel so right in the moment, it carries a heavy toll on our mind and body.

Anger’s Impact on the Sympathetic Nervous System:

When we get angry, keep in mind that anger can feel like the emotion of disappointment or “slight annoyance” we don’t recognize as anger, our body’s sympathetic nervous system kicks into high gear. This part of our central nervous system is responsible for the “fight or flight” response. It prepares us to face a threat by increasing our heart rate, tightening our muscles, and releasing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. In the short term, these changes can help us handle a dangerous situation. However, when anger becomes a frequent or prolonged state, it begins to wreak havoc on our physical and emotional health – our craniosacral system stops working optimally.

Chronic anger can lead to a host of health issues. The constant release of stress hormones can cause:

  • Cardiovascular Problems: High blood pressure, increased risk of heart attacks, and strokes are all linked to sustained anger.
  • Weakened Immune System: Prolonged stress weakens our body’s ability to fend off illnesses.
  • Digestive Issues: Stress can lead to problems like acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other gastrointestinal disturbances.
  • Sleep Disorders: Difficulty in sleeping or staying asleep, leading to chronic fatigue and other related issues.

Emotionally, anger can be just as damaging:

  • Increased Anxiety and Depression: Anger and unresolved rage can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.
  • Relationship Strain: Anger can drive a wedge between us and our loved ones, leading to isolation and loneliness.
  • Reduced Cognitive Function: Chronic stress affects our ability to think clearly, make decisions, and concentrate.

The Beauty and Pain of Anger

Returning to the lyric from Napoleon Boulevard, we can understand anger as both beautiful and painful. It is beautiful in its raw, unfiltered expression of our deepest emotions and desires. Anger can act as a powerful motivator, pushing us to stand up for ourselves, to strive for change, and to overcome injustices. It can fuel our passions and drive us towards our goals with an intensity that few other emotions can match. There is nothing wrong with this, however, our central nervous system is being affected in the fight or flight (sympathetic side) no matter what we are angry about, hence this beauty is accompanied by pain.

The physical and emotional toll of unchecked anger is profound. It tears at our hearts, much like the song suggests, leaving us fragmented and wounded. The key is to find our balance—acknowledging our anger, expressing it healthily by changing our perception about the very thing that triggered it, and then experience the new point of view with gratitude – this is what is normally called “letting go”.

Craniosacral Therapy and SomatoEmotional Release

As a wellness coach specializing in craniosacral therapy and somatic emotional release, I see firsthand how unprocessed emotions, particularly anger, can lodge in the body and disrupt our well-being. Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that helps release tensions deep in the body, allowing the entire body to relax and self-correct. This technique can facilitate the release of emotional trauma stored in the tissues, a process known as SomatoEmotional Release (SER).

During a CST session, I may gently palpate the client’s craniosacral system to detect and release restrictions. This not only helps alleviate physical discomfort, but also promotes emotional release with the use of imagery and dialogue. By working with the body’s natural rhythms and energy, CST can help clients process and let go of deep-seated anger and other  emotions that trigger the sympathetic (fight or flight) side of our central nervous system.

The Power of Curiosity: Shifting Perception

Talking about changing our perception, an important insight to consider is that we are often not upset for the reasons we think. Anger is frequently a surface emotion, masking deeper, unresolved feelings such as fear, hurt, lack or sadness. By approaching our anger with curiosity, we can uncover its true origins. This requires a willingness to look beyond the immediate trigger and explore the underlying issues that fuel our rage.

When we become curious about the root causes of our anger, we can begin to shift our perception. Instead of seeing a situation as purely aggravating or unjust, we can ask ourselves what deeper needs or fears are being activated. This shift in perspective allows us to address the real issues at hand, leading to more meaningful and lasting resolutions.

Cultivating Healthy Emotional Habits

In addition to CST and SER, adopting certain practices can help manage anger more effectively:

  • Mindfulness and Meditation: These practices help us become more aware of our emotions and reduce the intensity of our anger.
  • Physical Activity: Exercise is a powerful outlet for pent-up anger and stress.
  • Communication Skills: Learning to express feelings calmly and constructively can prevent anger from building up.
  • Therapeutic Techniques: Techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help in re-framing negative thought patterns that fuel anger.

By recognizing the dual nature of anger—its capacity to both empower and harm—we can take steps to harness its energy in positive ways while mitigating its detrimental effects. In doing so, we can move towards a state of emotional balance and well-being, where anger will no longer need to serve as a catalyst for growth or be a source of suffering.

In the end, anger, like all emotions, is a part of the human experience. “The degree of the emotion you experience does not matter. You will become increasingly aware that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury.” – ACIM

It is how we handle anger that makes all the difference.

Finding Fulfillment in Stillness: Lessons from an EMT’s Slow Day

In our fast-paced world, the idea of productivity is often synonymous with constant action. However, an experience during my days as an EMT revealed a profound truth about productivity and fulfillment. One slow day, my partner and I found ourselves parked in our ambulance, waiting for a call. Hours went by, and a sense of anxiety began to creep in. I realized I was restless because I felt the need to be productive.

The Search for Productivity

To quell this restlessness, I began organizing equipment in the back of the ambulance. When that didn’t help, I took a walk and struck up conversations with people nearby. Despite these efforts, the anxious feeling persisted. It was then that I decided to sit quietly and meditate, seeking clarity on what productivity truly meant.

The Epiphany

During my meditation, I asked, “What does productive mean? What can I do to be productive?” The answer that came to me was simple yet profound: “Productive is feeling fulfilled without having to do.” This revelation felt liberating. It suggested that true productivity is not always about tangible actions or accomplishments, but can also be about a state of being.

Understanding Fulfillment Without Action

The idea of feeling fulfilled without having to do challenges our conventional understanding of productivity. It invites us to explore a deeper sense of fulfillment that comes from within. But what does this really mean, and how can we experience it?

  1. Presence in the Moment: Often, our sense of fulfillment is tied to future achievements or past successes. Being present in the moment, fully aware and accepting of our current state, allows us to find peace and contentment without external validation.
  2. Self-Acceptance: Embracing who we are, with all our strengths and flaws, helps us feel whole. This self-acceptance reduces the need to constantly prove ourselves through actions and accomplishments.
  3. Inner Peace: Cultivating inner peace through practices like meditation, mindfulness, or simply sitting quietly can lead to a profound sense of fulfillment. This peace is not dependent on external circumstances but comes from a calm and centered mind.
  4. Gratitude: Recognizing and appreciating the simple joys in life, such as a quiet moment, the beauty of nature, or a heartfelt conversation, can provide a sense of fulfillment. Gratitude shifts our focus from what we lack to what we have.

Moving From Idea to Experience

Awareness of this concept is just the beginning. To truly embody this wisdom, we need to practice it. Here are some steps to integrate this understanding into our daily lives:

  • Daily Reflection: Set aside time each day for reflection or meditation if you can. Ask yourself what truly makes you feel fulfilled and pay attention to moments when you feel content without external achievements. If setting aside time each day is not an option, use a minute or two while you are showering, using your bathroom break, washing dishes, or even when you are watching your child’s games or practices. Being aware and directing ones thoughts can even be done during conversations we are having.
  • Mindful Activities: Engage in activities that promote mindfulness, such as walking in nature, journaling, or simply sitting quietly. These activities help anchor us in the present moment.
  • Self-Compassion: Practice self-compassion by being kind to yourself, especially during times of inactivity. Remind yourself that your worth is not tied to constant doing. Turn your kind, encouraging, empowering talking skills towards yourself as well, not just towards others you love.
  • Embrace Stillness: Allow yourself to experience stillness in the presence of quilt or fear. Choose stillness to be the focus of your attention as quilt may remain in the background.  Understand that being still and present can be as productive as any action, as it nurtures your inner well-being.

Conclusion

The lesson I learned on that slow day as an EMT remains a powerful reminder that productivity is not merely about doing, but also about being. Feeling fulfilled without constant action is a profound form of productivity that brings inner peace and contentment. By embracing this wisdom, we can lead richer, more balanced lives, finding joy and fulfillment in the stillness as much as in the action.

Lao Tzu wisely said, “By doing nothing, everything is done.”

If you are struggling to find your fulfilled experience, let us explore stillness together. Contact me for a session for any of my services.

What you like matters, because You matter

We all experience procrastination from time to time. Some of us occasionally and some of us habitually.  Did you ever ask yourself the question why? Are you curious to know the answer? Would you like to change this pattern? Read on to learn that we rarely do things for the reason we think.

A client came to see me with complaints of lower abdominal pains. She has been through the medical field and did not receive a diagnosis. Her tests were all negative, which is a really good thing, yet she felt she would feel better if something was found, so she knew what to do and “get rid of the pain”.  Guided by her desire, searching for an answer to feel better, one day she heard about craniosacral therapy and she made her first appointment with me.

During CST, it is not uncommon that emotions resurface.  Tears, laughter, anger, joy, frustration etc… are all welcome.  The memories that we may become aware of during a session are helpful in making sense of a long-held ache or pain even if there was no previous diagnosis.  There is a part of us that is connected to Infinite Intelligence. Our Inner Physician/Intuition brings the real value in Its guidance towards recognizing the relationship between the memory, the emotion and the aches and pains experienced in the body. An event, coupled with an emotion may be the cause of a bodily ache and this same can also be preventing the healing from occurring.  Our current reactions and behavior patterns can be recognized by the memory of the patient and with the help of the Inner Physician the repatterning can begin to take place.  This is where SomatoEmotional Release (SER) becomes part of the CST session. This can be prompted by the therapist or it can be prompted by the Intelligent System in way of a memory and a stop in the craniosacral rhythm, Dr. Upledger called the significant detector.  SER is different from traditional talk therapy as cells have consciousness and store memories as energy. We experience this energy stored as tight, tense, stuck, dense, hard, aches and pain. When the patient is able to repattern, change perception of the memory that popped up, the tissues release tension and become softer, lighter, freer.

In my third session with my client, she experienced waves of movement first in her lower extremities, later on along her thoracic spine and then felt it stopped happening at her cervical spine (neck) area. As she recognized that “stop”, she became aware of her attitude of “just because”.  She then had a memory of herself as a child and being told “because I said so”.  She also recognized that overtime this “just because” attitude led her to procrastination.

She was aware that she was procrastinating in most area of her life, but did not connect the dots to why or what she can do to change.  She frequently asked herself questions like; “why would I want to do this or that? It makes no difference and it does not matter when I pick up the garbage from the floor or wash the dishes etc”… as a response to being directed by adults who gave her no choice and when questioned she was told “because I said so”.

In repatterning her old habits, she realized that she actually loves it when her house is clean, her work is done on time and wakes up in the morning to a kitchen with space on the countertops.  She realized that the “why” in her doubts were pointing her towards her love of and liking things. And so were the adults in her life, who were just unskilled in their communications. All of those mattered. And with an emotional release of tears, she recognized that SHE matters too.

At the end of her session she reported “feeling lightness in my belly and there is a flow in my neck.”

What are your bodily experiences and/or procrastination pointing you towards?

 

Don’t mess with Mr. In-between

In the past few weeks, I noticed I have been receiving an abundant amount of junk emails. Not only spam emails, but businesses sending advertisements and offering their services without my choosing to receive information from said service.

Twelve years ago, when I started as an entrepreneur and went through the etiquette of running a business, I remember being taught that under no circumstances we were to email people who did not sign up and gave their permission to receive emails from us.

I found myself a bit more frustrated today looking at my inbox and when I read this particular one “I hate to be a pest” sewer service, I felt like writing him back; if you hate to be a pest, please do not be one. I did not opt into receiving marketing or promotional emails. And please add an option to unsubscribe.  He very nicely emailed me back wishing me a great day.  I graciously received and wished him the same.

Later on that day I felt uneasy about the situation. I am sure he is a nice guy trying to make ends meet and making his clients happy with safe and clean sewers for their homes or businesses.  He may even be in a networking group I belong.  I felt my energy going down and I felt contracted.

Going to my Intuition I heard these words: “Don’t mess with Mr in between”.  I remembered I heard these words before, so I looked it up. To my delight it was the lyrics of a song by Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters.

“You got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive
E-lim-i-nate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mr. In-between
You got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
And have faith, or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene”

I realized I was second guessing myself in the decision I made to stand up for what I believe was the right thing.  My doubts showed up and were going to drag me down. I decided to feed my faith and starve my fear and this song was a great reminder to make a decision and go with it. No Mr In-Between belongs in my mind.

Where in your life could you eliminate a Mr. In-Between?

 

Healing through Somato-Emotional Release (SER)

A client mentioned an unwanted happening in her marriage to which she kept having the same reaction. She cringed. Like most people, she wanted this unwanted happening to end by stopping her husband’s action from happening.

Recognizing a Pattern

As we tapped into what actually was happening through her, she realized and heard a physical experience of a static noise in her head. To the question whether she remembers this noise happening before in her life, she noted a particular event with her mother in which she found herself thinking “I did not want this, I don’t know what to do”. She felt so stressed at that time that she needed to leave her mother’s house. She went to the beach and shared her thoughts with a friend.

Connection and Growth

At the time she did not know, but in our SER session she understood, that as she was talking to her friend, she was also working her thoughts out within herself, and she recognized that what what she wanted was connection and growth in her relationship with her mother. She was able to reconcile her discontent with her mother and their relationship became stronger. She was able to face her mother’s decisions with compassion and support.

The Saving Grace in Saving a Marriage

In her mind and relationship with her husband, this same concept did not exist. She wanted her husband to stop doing what she did not want or knew how to deal with. She was contemplating a divorce. Her experience was the same – cringing, static noise and, not knowing what to do – but this time she had resentment on her mind when she talked about the situation. As she connected the dots of symptoms and thought patterns, she came to the understanding that her choice of resentment is a detour from creating a happy marriage.

Making a Decision

She made the decision to think of her husband that same loving way she thought about her mother. Not because she felt her husband deserved it, but because she remembered who SHE was. She decided to remember love within and take action from that memory. A simple change like this moved their relationship from going forward with the divorce she was contemplating to keeping the dancing in their marriage alive.