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Coping with Anger

Reframing Revisited

We have found that the most effective way of beginning to use anger, rather than be used up by it, not surprisingly involves beginning with the Master Strategy. First, remember to breathe. Take a couple of deep diaphragmatic breaths and then shift your attention to your muscles, particularly the muscles in the shoulders, neck, and jaw. Take a moment to relax these. Then assume the witnessing stance. Look at the situation from the outside. Ask yourself, “How can I look at this differently?” We talked about reframes in Chapter 6. Reframing is a powerful method for dealing effectively with anger. We would like to offer you a couple of reframes we have found particularly useful for working through anger.

Look for Comedy

One approach involves viewing your life as a sitcom in progress. It asks that you think of yourself as a comedy writer of your own life. In almost all situations, an element of humor or absurdity can be found if you look at it from a different perspective, and seeing the humor inherent in a situation effectively defuses much of the anger. Think for a moment; if you were an objective, uninvolved bystander witnessing your situation, could any aspect of your circumstance be seen as humorous? Who is your favorite stand-up comedian? If that person were observing what was happening to you, what pithy or funny remarks would he or she make about you or your dilemma? You can probably remember times when you witnessed an event where a friend, colleague, or relative became angry, while you had a hard time keeping a straight face because you could see the absurdity in the situation. You can do this with yourself as well. As a matter of fact, almost any situation will seem funny when you are looking back at it after the passage of time. Realize that you have the choice to imagine that time has already passed when you are involved in your particular dramas.


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