Anger is a hot topic, it’s about fiery, heated emotions with the energy to drive us to unthinking acts. Â Whenever someone does something regrettable out of anger, others who are in a calm state easily criticize the person, accompanied by,Â “I would never do that.”
This difference between how we think while calm vs. who someone thinks while angry or emotionally charged is called The Hot-Cold Empathy Gap. Â We just can’t relate.
The most apt term for being a slave to anger is, author of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman’s term,Â “emotional hijacking,” whenever emotions trump reason.
Trying to teach anger management while in a cold emotional state is bound to fail due to anger’s hijacking power. Â It’s like learning to swim without every getting in the water.
To successfully practice controlling anger requires you to be in a hot emotional state, to actuallyÂ be angry first.
The lessons we teach our students at SMAA are embodied, they are not just platitudes; they are taught linking the mind and body.
One Powerful Lesson students are learning this month involves teachers and assistant teacher to repeatedly push them, eliciting anger and the very real urge to strike back.
Now, in a hot state, students learn to be aware of their own anger, to breathe, calm down, decide and act non-violently.
Of course, this is all done with full explanations of the drill and its purpose, before, during and after the drill so student understand no part of the drill is actual malice.
So when your child tells you his teachers were pushing him around and making him angry this monthâ€¦we are, with the expressed purpose of managing and dissolving anger non-violently.
Anger is a natural, at times beneficial human emotion that helps us recognize and respond to threats. Â What we do with this emotional information is up to us.
This month we are teaching our students to manage their anger for the better.
It’s a fascinating, imperative lesson I’m happy to teach.