Anger and NLP

By March 10, 2015 January 7th, 2016 Articles
anger & nlp

Is ANGER bad?   What do YOU think?

 Is venting anger appropriate or healthy?

 Even though people may feel much better after venting their anger, the latest research invalidates the effectiveness of this concept. Because many people that allow themselves to vent the anger can also allow it to get out of control; the one thing they’re trying to avoid. Anger and NLP !

 Though we wont be addressing the issues of AGGRESSION, SUPPRESSION or SELF-BLAME.

 First of all, anger is not bad! I’ve heard and read numerous articles from so called experts say… “you should never get angry.” or “you should have to XXXXX.”

 Second, its always helpful to discover HOW you’re triggered or WHAT triggers you, because with this knowledge you’re more likely to become aware when it’s about to happen or when it’s happening and have the ability to control it before it escalates.

 In this article we’ll be specifically addressing the PROCESS of, and HOW TO effectively change the programming – the NLP way!

 Understand that anger is just another emotion we’re genetically gifted with, like hundreds of others we experience daily. Any emotion can escalate into a problem if left unchecked. How many of you have let LOVE get out of control? I know I have. The reality of life is “emotions” control decisions though-out our lives. I’m sure many of you are saying; “NO WAY, I make logical decisions. I’m in control.” 

 The truth is; “We make decisions emotionally and justify them logically!”

 Once we understand that anger can be also an ally and not our enemy, we can learn to diffuse the negative results it produces. What we want to do is INTERRUPT THE PATTERN!  In NLP it’s called a pattern interrupt or a break-state. We want to interrupt the pattern BEFORE it to gets out of control and dictates our behavior.

 (In our NLP certification training courses we teach our students to find 3 different, alternative strategies that can change the outcome. The unconscious mind now can choose another neurologically pathway that may be more appropriate in response.)

This article we’ll be discussing alternative pattern interrupts. Preparing yourself in advance allows you to be more in charge of your emotions and lessens the potential for an amygdala takeover.

It can help if you understand how our biochemical responses occur in the brain during anger episodes. With this specific knowledge it can helps you become aware and with the ability to control it. Below is a flow chart of what exactly happens from trigger to response – The red X is where you would insert a pattern interrupt.  (will discuss this later in the article.)

The entire concept of changing your state of mind relies upon two presuppositions;

  1. changing your FOCUS
  2. changing your PHYSIOLOGY

(I’ll give you an example of each technique and then you can create multiple ways to easily shift either your focus, or your physiology; which in turn will change your state.)

1. Focus – change WHAT you’re focusing on! As simple as this is.. IT IS!

There are a couple different ways to change your focus but the easiest is to simply ASK yourself a question.  My favorite is; “What do I want instead?” In the very nature of asking the question assumes your unconscious mind has to answer it and in many different ways.

You see, the unconscious mind CANNOT think of a negative thought. I’m sure you’re saying – “What, are you crazy John, I think of negative thoughts all day long!” 😉

Well the truth is they are not negative; it is just the MEANING we assign to the thought itself. Because one negative thought to you may be an Ah-Ah moment for someone else, get it?  We could argue this fact forever, but the point is unconscious mind just processes what’s before it.

For example: whatever you do DO-NOT think of a BLUE TREE!  What happened? You thought of a blue tree correct?  You had to! It’s called a negation. You can’t think about what you don’t want to think about without thinking about it, think about it!  😉

Without really knowing it, asked your unconscious mind a question. Whatever you put up in front of your mind’s eye; a command, a statement or a question, it will go to work on and process it exactly as it is. So your answer has to be a BLUE TREE!

The unconscious mind takes everything literally and personally.  So when you ask yourself a question, ask it in a way that it will give you an answer you can actually use.

Another article I read said to – Identify the nature of your anger, asking yourself;

“What am I anxious or fearful about that causes me to react in anger?

Well knowing what you know now about HOW the unconscious mind processes a thought, what kind of answer are you going to get by asking yourself that sort of question,  a helpful one or one that will give you more REASONS why you’re angry? EXACTLY… more reasons WHY!  That’s just more fuel on the fire wouldn’t you agree with me? So next time you want to change ANY state of mind you’re bathing your neurology in, ask yourself a question that can empower you.

2. Change how you are using your body. Meaning, change your posture, change your internal dialogue (which can change your state), and most importantly and easily, change your breathing! Yes, your breathing will have the most generative effect on your state than any other method you can achieve. Breathing is POWERFUL. Taking a deep breath forces much more air into the lungs, expands your rib-cage and also changes HOW YOU MOVE, thus changing your physiology. So next time you feel any other state than feeling good, change your body language/how you move!

So here’s the exact method I teach all the students in my NLP training courses. Because you never have to choose negative states IF you know how to change your states to more empowering ones.

  1. Become AWARE it’s a state of mind that does not serve you. Awareness is the key!

          As Dr. Phil consistently states; “You cannot change something you don’t recognize!”

  1. Once you’re aware this is something you want to change, at the same time; sit or stand up straight, throw your shoulders back and take a DEEP SLOW BREATH! (It may take a moment to flood your neurology with a better feeling. You may decide to take a couple more if need be.)
  1. Then once you begin to feel better, ask yourself this – “What do I want instead?” This question presupposes you want something other than the state you’re in. The answer your unconscious mind will produce will usually be the flip side of what you have now, the opposite of what you’re feeling.

Keep asking until you get the sort of answer that you can do something with, meaning the answer you get from your unconscious mind.

  1. (Optional) I tell my class its best to write down your methods that work and the responses that you produce. This way you KNOW what works and is easily repeatable.

So nest time you choose an emotion other than an empowering state YOU CAN change it.

“You are in control of your mind therefore your results.”  Take charge of your life!

I’d love to help answer any question you have about mental states, change-work and /or success strategies. Please call or email my office. / 818 879-2000.

To Your Success,  John James Santangelo C.Ht.

John James Santangelo PhD

Author John James Santangelo PhD

John James Santangelo PhD - nationally acclaimed speaker, author, seminar leader, and business results coach, has been a guiding force in empowering individuals, businesses, and corporations to excel at peak performance. John is a foremost authority in success principles and expert in the field of communication; an NLP trainer and clinical hypnotherapist. He has worked with companies such as The Learning Annex, Los Angeles Sheriffs Dept., Mary Kay Inc, Multiple-Sclerosis Society, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Well-Point, Xerox, RE/MAX Realtors, the Teamsters Union, and the US Army counter-intelligence team. Whether you’re looking to fulfill short/long term goals, increase your sales performance, or hire John for your next event, John will help you achieve that success! Visit or call (818) 879-2000

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