Psychological Self-Help

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108
Both prevention-of-anger and control-of-anger methods are given in this
section. 
Four popular books about reducing anger and tidbits
I will start by summarizing four popular books about Anger.
Then I will give some interesting tidbits of general information about anger
management.
After that several self-help techniques or methods of modifying anger and
aggression will be described and organized, like the rest of this book, by the
five levels—behavior, emotions, skills, cognitive methods and ways of gaining
insight. Hopefully, this organization, going from general to specific self-help
methods, will help you plan an effective self-improvement project. Make use
of scientific data I cite and your personal experience to decide what
techniques might work best for you.
Bradley P. Barris (2002), The Miracle of Living Without Anger
The author, who is known for giving motivating seminars, does a good job of
setting the stage for thinking about anger. He starts by telling his audience
why it will be difficult for them to give up their angry ways of responding.
First, he lists five “bitter truths” about anger: (1) no one can force you to give
up being angry. Every effort in this direction will just make you mad, in spite
of anger being unhealthy and could even kill you via heart disease, stroke,
and several other diseases. (2) If you can’t control your anger and the harm
is does to others, society will take on the task of punishing and correcting you
(examples: road rage, failing to pay child support, gouging customers). (3)
Getting angry frequently will seriously impair your problem-solving ability.
Your brain doesn’t do its best when it is obsessed with negative emotions. (4)
Life has a natural way of punishing you for spewing out so many negative
vibes—“what goes around comes around.” (5) The anger that you develop
and carry with you is the very thing that is most likely to destroy your most
valuable relationships that you have. It may also cause you to dislike
yourself. With all those negatives, one might think that we would be eager to
get rid of our anger.
Then Barris spells out for you the lies you tell yourself about anger that leads
to so many of us to choosing to keep our anger and hostility rather than
choosing to give up anger and live a much more rational and less stressful
life. Here are the lies: Lie #1: “Sure I get mad…why not? It is just natural! If
you never got angry, you’d really be an odd-ball.” Lie #2: “Emotions just
happen. I don’t make my emotions up and I can’t stop them.” To many
people the idea of choosing what emotion you want to have—or would help
you better solve this particular problem—sounds really odd. But Barris sets
about to train you how to choose the most helpful emotion (rarely anger) and
control it. 
Lie #3: “I have to let my anger out. It would really upset me if I had to hold
it in. It isn’t healthy to go to bed with a load of resentment on your mind.”
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