Ever catch yourself feeling angry and wish you could just shut it right off? If only it were that easy.
When something makes us angry, our amygdala -the almond shaped mass in our brain responsible for fight or flight- says "my time is now." Before we have a moment to think it over, the amygdala commands our body to produce and rapidly fire chemicals such as adrenaline throughout our body.
Unless we are in the rare position of actually fighting off a real attacker, this is not a mental state we want to be in. Prolonged anger can lead to health problems like heart disease and significant damage to relationships.
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Ideally we would stop anger like stepping on a car's brake. At the size of a common vehicle we can go from 60 to 0 pretty rapidly. But anger is not like that. Anger is like a 100-car train flying down the tracks. In the cab of the train's locomotive the engineer pulls the brake lever to stop. The brakes are applied, but that of course does not stop the train 'in its tracks'. With all that weight behind it, it can take a large train well over a mile to stop.
Adrenaline is like that. Once you notice it moving in your head, the brake lever needs to be thrown immediately to head off disaster. The force of the adrenaline will want to keep the train moving. That is why it is important to not let up on the brake when the adrenaline urges you to.
Whatever method you use to calm - breathing, mindfulness, walking away - do it and stick to it as soon as you notice the nasty chemicals flowing.