How do we lead when we’re angry?
That was the question almost 70 Rockwood alums explored during last week’s Community Call about managing and honoring anger, a topic that has gained interest with many social justice and nonprofit leaders in the months since the election.
At the beginning of the call, Rockwood CEO Darlene Nipper read a piece from Anger by Thich Nhat Hanh, and then shared a story about how suppressing anger after the election had physical ramifications for her body:
Saying “Hello” To Anger
As both the piece by Thich Nhat Hanh and Darlene’s story illustrate, we can either mistreat anger, or honor it for the messages it is bringing us in the moment. Although we might fear or condemn anger, anger itself is not the issue. Anger is neither intrinsically good or bad in and of itself. It is a natural emotion that expresses itself in very complex ways.
Anger can actually be an asset and serve as a healthy release when channeled properly and managed well. This infographic from the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine provides an overview of how our anger gets triggered, and what happens in our bodies and brains when it is:
Tending to Anger With Mindfulness
Regularly practicing mindfulness can improve our ability to observe our own thoughts and feelings when triggered, and allow us the space to be reflective instead of reactive.
When triggered, immediately stop and notice your anger, try to understand the source, and allow yourself time to really feel and experience the anger before releasing it. Blocking the anger often turns into repression and stress which, as demonstrated in the model above, can lead to physical pain and long-term effects within the body.
By creating a mindfulness practice for releasing and channeling your anger, you can bring reflection, insight, passion, and creativity to your life.
Are you an alum interested in deepening your resilience and honing your leadership skills? Check out the Advanced Art of Leadership, a 5-day training open only to Rockwood alums.
If you’re not a Rockwood alum, you can learn more about managing anger, mindfulness, and much more at the Art of Leadership.