Thursday, 18 June 2009

Using NLP to Manage Anger

Most people have a problem with anger these days. Maybe it's because there are so many demands on us and our mind gets pulled in many directions on a daily basis making it difficult to keep a peaceful mind.

So what practical steps can we do to help us remain more in control of our mind and maintain more peace? Here are ten time-tested techniques for effective anger management provided by
NLP Toolbox:

1. Reverse the Feelings

This is a very interesting method that was discovered by Dr. Richard Bandler. It works on the fact that to experience feelings such as anger you will feel feelings moving in your body somewhere: Feelings are never static or stationary.

Begin by thinking of an occasion where you experienced

A. Become aware of where those feelings are in your body.
Where does the feeling start and where does it go?

B. Now take the feeling and push it out a couple of feet in
front of you. (I know this sounds weird. Just act as if you
can do it, because you can.)

C. Turn it inside out and spin it the other way and bring it
back inside. If it helps, pretend you can do it and so it

D. Keep it spinning fast whilst imagining doing the thing
that used to make you feel anger.

2. 'Micky Mouse' those Critical, Angry Voices!

A. Think of that internal voice you sometimes get that is
overly critical of yourself and others. You know the one!

B. Listen to it go on and on as you change it into a cartoon
voice. How does your reaction to it change by hearing it in
the voice of Porky Pig? Silvester The Cat? Daffy Duck?

C. Try speeding the voice up or slowing it down.

D. Have fun with this.

Imagine several future situations that this critical voice
may arise and imagine 'Micky Mouse-ing' the voice in that

3. Positive intention?

A. Think of an occasion where you got angry.

B. Ask yourself, "What was the positive intention behind the
anger?" And then ask, "and what was important about that?"
Keep asking the question until you discover a genuine
positive intention.

C. "In the future how can I express this intention in a
better way?"

4. Disassociation

A. Remember an experience where you got a bit irritated.

B. Now disassociate so you can see yourself in the

C. Push the picture further off into the distance. So you
literally "get some distance from it," and have a new

D. Notice how you can now look at the experience more
objectively and gain new understanding and insights. And
what happens if you were to ask yourself, "What was the
positive intention of myself and the other people involved?"

5. Double Disassociation

This is the same as the above technique with another added

You imagine watching yourself watching that you in the

You got to give this a go, it's really amazing, you can even
reduce that most retched of emotions, jealousy, with this
simple visualisation!

6. Patience for the Future

Just think any time we get angry it's due to a trigger or
stimulus. There is a gap between the stimulus and our
response. It's in this gap that we choose our response.
Often though it happens quickly. Automatically.

We can 're-train' our minds to have a more appropriate
response that will enable us to be more resourceful.

A. What's it like when you experience a feeling of patience?
Remember a time that you patiently accepted what ever was
happening. What did you see, what did you hear and how did
that feel?

Notice how the feelings move.

B. Think of 3 future situations where it would be likely
that you would experience annoyance or irritation.

C. What is it that you see or hear just before you know when
to feel the agitation?

D. OK shake that feeling off and now remember the feeling of
patience from step A

E. Now imagine taking this feeling of patience into those
future situations.

How's that feel?

7. Reframing a Picture Literally

A. Remember an occasion where you got angry.

B. Disassociate: See your self in the picture.

C. Now put a frame around the picture.

How does your response to the situation change when you put
a wooden frame around it? What about a metal frame? A multi-
coloured frame. An oval frame? How about a colourful frame
with balloons hanging from it?

8. Perceptual positions

It's always useful to gain other perspectives on things.
More often than not, when we're angry we are stuck in one
perceptual position.

A. Remember an experience where you were angry with someone.

B. Notice what you saw and heard and felt.

C. Now step into there shoes: Pretend to see through there
eyes, hear through there ears and feel the feelings. Notice
that you in front of you. What else can you discover and
learn from this perspective?

D. Imagine stepping into a 'neutral observer.' So you can
simply observe that you and the other person over there.
What can you learn from this position?

E. Step back into 'you' again and notice what new learnings
and insights you now have. Chances are good that you now
have more understanding and empathy with the other person.

9. Collapsing Anchors

A. Select an angry feeling you want to change. As you feel
it squeeze your finger and thumb on your left hand to anchor
this state.

B. On an intensity scale of 0 to 10, where is this feeling?

C. Break state. Now think about what you would like to feel
instead. What would make you remain in a more resourceful
state? Relaxation? Humour? Etc.

D. Now choose one of the resourceful states you have come up
with and remember a time you felt that resource strongly.
What does this resourceful state feel like?

E. Remembering that resourceful state, anchor it to your
right hand by squeezing your finger and thumb together. (If
you want you can stack resources together by going to step 4
again and anchoring a different resource state.)

F. On an intensity scale of 0 to 10, where is this feeling?
Important: Make sure that this resourceful feeling is more
intense than the angry feeling.

G. Break state. Now squeeze your left hand finger and thumb
anchor, hold it, at the same time as you squeeze the right
hand finger and thumb anchor. Keep both anchors on for a few
seconds, say 7 seconds. (Note: Many people get a sense when
the anchors have 'collapsed' or integrated, often by a
noticeable shift in breathing.)

H. Release the left hand anchor and just hold the right hand
anchor for a couple of seconds.

I. Break state. Now think of the original fear you selected
in step 1 and become aware of how it's changed!

10. Circus/Cartoon Movie Music

A. Think of a memory or a future situation where you want to
lighten the mood.

B. Look at it like a movie so you can see yourself whilst
hearing loud circus (or cartoon) music in the background.

C. Run the movie backwards, from the end, with the music
playing loudly.

D. Now notice how your mood has lightened about the
situation you choose in Step 1.

Why not do this on several memories and/or future events?

If you have applied some of the techniques, above, you will
have re-programmed some of your 'bad habits' and can look
forward to a more peaceful, anger managed future! And the
great thing about many of these tools is that you can use
them right away and experience effective results within

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