Friday, November 2, 2012

Managing Anger

By Eileen Lindner, red belt

Managing anger and strong emotions often seems like a daily struggle.  Those strong feelings can arise with just the slightest provocation – a driver cuts you off, a sales clerk is distracted and makes a mistake, a phone call spirals into emotional issues, etc.  But, with self-control, and self-awareness, you begin to notice the things that cause you to react, and hold yourself back from a reaction.  With practice, you begin to ignore the triggers, and start to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, or simply give them the benefit of the doubt.

Self-control, especially as practiced as part of our Moo Sul Kwan teachings, can make you a happier person, as well as a more aware and outwardly focused person.   Often, we just need to take a moment, take a breath and think before we act.  Sometimes, however, we need to find a healthy way to release the energy that anger causes before it builds and can erupt.  That’s where the activity and exercise that MSK martial arts provides comes into play.  When we are at class, it takes so much energy and focus, that we can forget and let go of outside concerns.  The energy expended in class is huge – we are exhausted and sweaty afterward – and that calms us, without even thinking about it.  When we return to the outside world, our perspective has shifted & we react from a place of calm & control.

After working out, I know I have more patience for others: the drivers bother me less & I drive more carefully and slowly, especially this past week; I assume that the clerk is doing her best & smile; I limit the phone call that could cause me to be upset.  The self-control practiced in class reminds me that we all need awareness & kindness.

While anger & other strong emotions are healthy, and part of daily life, dealing with them responsibly & safely takes effort.  MSK Taekwondo is an excellent way to channel strong emotions into a physically healthy outlet.  And, the added benefits of advancing in belt rank, physical fitness & improved mental acuity all add to that health.

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