Transform Your Violence and Find Peace

How did we get so angry?

Anger surrounds us these days. It shows up on the nightly news, on talk shows and the newspapers as well as on the Internet, not to mention in interactions on the street. Unplanned events in our daily lives invite us to summon and express our anger. It is as if we have become an angry culture. How can we make sense of anger, cope with it and find alternative ways of dealing with our own and others’ misfortunes besides giving vent to our anger in destructive ways? That question is the challenge I pose for you and invite you to explore with me in this book.
As a psychologist, I worked with angry people for thirty­five years on anger management. They have been in my life longer than that. Our country seems angrier now than I can remember it being in the past. Not everyone barks at other people, attacks them or shoots them. Yet the national mood seems to be one of anger coming from a national divide on both sides of every issue.

What to do about anger

I have thought about how this happened and have consulted a variety of publications and also drew on my own professional and personal experience. I came up with a few findings and thought you might find them useful as well. Here are the questions I posed:

  • What is anger and what causes it?
  • How does it affect your life?
  • What kinds of anger problems are there?
  • Who is the target of your anger?
  • How do you manage anger directed toward you?
  • How can you transform your anger?

Have you wondered about any of these? Are you still looking for answers? Join me in an adventure to move away from anger and toward peace.
This book is available through Amazon. Take a look at the free sample (Look Inside) on the Amazon page for Transform Your Anger and Find Peace.

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Filed under anger, avoiding stress, brain effect, care for your body, choice, emotional intelligence, fighting stress, interpersonal stress, meditation, Uncategorized

Beat stress on the job

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Ever feel stress at work?

Silly question.

But the issue of stress in the workplace and how it can stifle productivity, damage morale and spark employee turnover is anything but silly.

In fact, those who find themselves having trouble keeping calm and carrying on at work are in the majority. More than half of workers said they are stressed at work on a day-to-day basis, and 60 percent said work-related pressure had increased in the past five years, according to a new survey by Menlo Park, Calif.–based staffing firm Accountemps.

Their concerns are hardly lost on executives: 54 percent of CFOs acknowledged their teams are stressed, and 55 percent said worker anxiety was on the rise. Employees polled cited heavy workloads and looming deadlines (33 percent), attaining work-life balance (22 percent), and unrealistic expectations of managers (22 percent) as top worries.

(Excerpt from Howard Riell’s post for Vegas, Inc.- Read more) 

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The Key to a Happy, Healthy Life: Stress Management

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The body is wired to react to stress, the fight-or-flight reaction built into us, designed to kick in when faced with danger. Even so, modern day living creates a situation where we continually confront a barrage of stressors that our bodies often misread. After a while, stress will adversely affect your psychological and physical being.  It is essential to actively work to reduce the daily stresses attacking our good health.

Stress will always happen, so the key is to pinpoint the sources of stress to manage it. Look at the various facets of your life, seeking to take steps to reduce your stress in those places. The best way to combat stress is to have a game plan.

(Excerpt from the Dispatch blog- read more)

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Stress, Violence, and Peace

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What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments,
but what is woven into the lives of others.

~ Pericles~

The pace of life has become faster and more frantic in recent years. Many people leave little time for thoughtful reflection or just sitting still. If you are older, you might remember when life was simpler and less hectic. If you are younger, you might have heard about more peaceful times from your relatives. How did we get from living our lives in relative peace to being obsessed with anger and its expression in violence?

Many people lately have become alarmed by “senseless” violence around the world. Have you wondered whether there is a connection between the spate of suicide bombings in Europe and the mass shootings around the world, including those in this country? I have long considered a possible connection between these events and their relationship to fear and violence. Let’s take a closer look.

If you have ever studied psychology or even read about it casually, you are most likely familiar with the fight or flight response to fear. Depending on your circumstances, when faced with something fearful to you, you react by attacking the source of your fear (fight) if you think you can overcome it or avoiding it (flight) if it seems more powerful than you are. Immediate fear and these responses to it follow a direct and immediate threat of attack such as by a wild animal or person. You don’t have time to think about it but automatically react almost immediately.

Anxiety is related to fear. The feared object might not be immediately present, but you can worry about what might happen or not happen in the future. You become anxious about your own welfare or that of your family. You might also fret about the possible behavior of other people or the course taken by the society in which you live.

If you are unable to find a way to relieve this anxiety, it builds and eventually leads to a sense of desperation or hopelessness. This can take place inside you and possibly remain unknown to others. You might find someone whom you trust with your concerns and share them or act on your anxiety by lashing out. Based on my experience and reading, it seems clear that everyone has a breaking point at which they feel forced to act in ways not typical of them. Perhaps some people will turn to violence as a way to be taken seriously for once. Some commit suicide when they feel their life challenges are more than they can bear.

The result can be a lashing out toward other individuals or society in general if we see others as responsible for our predicament. If we could understand the workings of others’ minds, much of the violence in our world might not seem quite so senseless. The violence makes sense to people feeling overwhelmed by life burdens. Most people tend to react emotionally to such situations without giving their response much thought.

If you could step back from your emotions, you might see more constructive possibilities and be able to choose one of them. Once you are overwhelmed, it might be too late to step back. You could make a practice of learning to step back from your daily routine even when you are not under pressure. Then you will have a better idea how to handle stressful life events when they arise.

Life Lab Lessons  

  • Practice setting aside peaceful moments or longer periods of time.
  • Without blaming anyone, consider how you arrived in this situation.
  • If you have been here before, what worked to get you back on track?
  • If you have no idea what to do, find someone you can trust with your challenge.
  • Once the crisis is resolved, write about what you did to handle it.

 

(Excerpt from my forthcoming book, From Rage and Violence to Peace and Harmony.)

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Filed under peace, stress and society, violence

How to manage post-Election Day 2016 stress

(Photo Credit: lzf/via ShutterStock)

The 2016 presidential race to the White House is our new normal. It is not simply about a campaign for one candidate, but also a vote against the other candidate. With the focus more on defeating the opposition than supporting one’s own party, it has been very personal, very intense and increasingly volatile. Americans are angry, fearful and frustrated, and it’s taken a toll on all levels of interaction.

Author and international stress management expert Genella Macintyre can share numerous tips to help you manage your post-election frustration proactively.

(Excerpt from Yvette Caslin’s article in Rolling Out- read more.)

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Filed under anxiety, Election results, stress and society, Uncategorized

Your Stress Window

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Maybe this would be a good place to introduce the Johari Window, developed by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, in case you have not heard of it. The window is a way to consider what you and others know about you. I have adapted it to use in considering stress in your life, what you are aware of and what is obvious to others.

OPEN                     /                          BLIND

/                                                           /

PRIVATE                    /                    MYSTERY

The boxes represent what there is to know about a person, you for example. Suppose we concentrate on the stress in your life. The Open part includes your stressors which you know about and which are also obvious to others. If your spouse just died, you face major stress obvious to all including you.

The Blind part represents stress which others can see in you but you can’t. You might start showing a pattern of coming to work late each day, haggard and disheveled, and having trouble concentrating on work or getting assignments done on time. When someone asks if you are okay, you say you are fine and might even believe it. You’re not fine and you are the only one who doesn’t know it.

The Private part is your stress which you know about but others don’t. You know where it comes from and how it affects you. Yet when someone asks you what’s bothering you they hear that nothing is wrong and you are fine. You might show symptoms of stress but pretend to be okay.

The Mystery part is trickier and harder to pin down. It consists of stress which is not obvious to others or to you. So how do you know it exists? Your body knows and so does your mind. Something is wrong but it is not clear what. You most likely need help pinning it down and figuring out what to do about it.

 

Excerpt from Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life 

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We Hold These Truths

As a child, your parents explained and showed you what their beliefs and values were. Most likely you adopted them as your own, at least for a while. That’s all you knew until you ran across other families and their ways. Sometime during childhood, you started to evaluate what you learned from your parents. Over time you met other children and their families who thought about life in a way different from how your family thought and lived. At some point in the comparison, you started to develop your own standards, evaluating the ways of life you encountered and adopting what made sense for you.

This process lasts a lifetime. You are constantly exposed to new ideas unless you shut them out of your mind and refuse to pay any attention to them. New ideas challenge old ones and then you have choices to make. As I’ve explained, you often experience stress when faced with change. This can happen at any time in your life although you may not identify it as stress.

All sorts of new ideas arrive by way of your contact with others whether in person, through reading, television, the Internet or other channels of information. Not all of what you experience matches what your parents believed and valued or even what you have come to believe and value. You might discover that what you previously held sacred is not really true or not particularly useful for your life.

Change is stressful. To change, you must give up part of your old, comfortable ways and face unknown and untried ones. If you come from a family which encouraged you to explore new ways of thinking and acting, it might not be quite so much of a challenge. If you come from a more rigid family, your new ideas might be taken as a betrayal of your family traditions. You could be seen as rocking the family boat or even trying to sink it.

Excerpt from Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life

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Expert Q&A: What Is Emotional Intelligence?

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Marc Brackett, PhD, studies the ways emotions affect our relationships, mental health, decision-making, and academic and workplace performance. As director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Brackett and his team are helping schools across the country teach students the principles of emotional intelligence. Their research shows that learning to harness emotions can help both children and adults thrive at school, home, and in everyday life.

Excerpt from Stephanie Watson’s article in Web MD- read more

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Filed under emotional intelligence, Stress, teen stress, Uncategorized

Compassion is sometimes the best option for police

The police scanner in the newsroom bleeped and squawked. A Waterville dispatcher directed officers to Head of Falls, where a caller reported someone had gone into the river.

It was Monday night, dusk, and cold outside as cruisers entered Front Street and headed east to the Two Cent Bridge.

Excerpt from Amy Calder’s article in Central Maine. Read more.

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Filed under compassion, police, response, Uncategorized

Mindfulness and Difficult People

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Much of what we hear about mindfulness has to do with how it can enhance the stillness of our mind, soothe our nerves, and awaken our senses for stress management and wellness. But rarely do we hear about how mindfulness can help during encounters with difficult people.

No matter how many self-care practices we embrace, or stress management workshops we attend, we will always encounter people in our lives who have complaints in some form or another. I am sure that you have heard these things said to you or someone near you at one point in your life.

I want to talk to the manager!

You’re not listening to ME!

NO, I WILL NOT QUIET DOWN!

Excerpt from Debbie Toomey’s article in the Huffington Post- read more

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Filed under conflict resolution, difficult people, Mindfulness