DBT Skill of the Week: Describe Anger
Anger is often a conflicting emotion. The conflict, not the emotion, causes suffering. Biologically it produces the urge to reject, push away, or destroy. Anger is natural, we cannot get rid of it. Anger signals us of an issue to address.
First Signs in Body:
Tension around eyes
Face turning red
Sick to stomach
Scowl or curled lip
Headache/pressure in head
Anger Turned Inward
Self-hatred, low self-worth, and resentment
Rejection of parts of self that embarrass or make you feel vulnerable
Self-harm, self-punishment, and even suicidal thoughts/actions
Anger Turned Outward
Blaming and coercive relationships
Emotional or physical harm to others
Destruction of property etc.
Plaques to Anger
Antidote to Anger
Take a Time Out
Quieting Anger Step by Step
Take deep breaths, filling torso and completely releasing the breath
Allow the feeling to get as strong as possible within a zone of safety (e.g., not to the point where you get up, scream, and/or jump)
Observe if other emotions, sadness, guilt, or fear, arise. For now, see if you can stay with the feeling of anger
Describe & Name feelings and body sensations.
Practice compassion towards the anger
Remind yourself that anger is a normal part of being human
Cradle your anger like a mother cradling a newborn. What happens if you hold it with tenderness and care?
Slowly bring attention to your breath, stay with it for a while. Then gently say goodbye to the feeling
Reflect and journal
What did you feel in your body?
Did your experience change as you observed?
Were you able to bring compassion to the anger?
How did you do that?
What happened to the anger at that point?