Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kids and Anger

All kids get angry. It is a normal, useful, and healthy emotion. The problem with anger occurs when they don't know how to express it appropriately or turn it inward. It is vitally important to help our children learn how to process, verbalize, and ultimately heal their anger.

According to my guest, John Eric Jacobsen who created the Kids In Trance Program, all emotions are what he calls "action signals" - they warn us that something is wrong and needs our attention. Once we receive the warning, we do not need to hold on to the emotion. We are free to release it and focus our energy towards finding a solution to the issue. When anger is channeled properly, it can be a beneficial force which brings about positive change. Too many of our young people today use anger in a very destructive manner, causing pain and suffering to others and ultimately to themselves.

John teaches children how to meditate or go into a trance. It is a state of deep relaxation easily accessible to them and a natural part of their daily routine. Have you ever noticed when children are watching TV how mesmerized they are by what is on the screen? They appear to be hypnotized by the visual and audio stimuli and they actually are. This is the precise moment when they are most receptive to positive suggestions, what John refers to as "auto suggestions". Whenever you notice your child is deeply relaxed, verbally express a positive reinforcement to them. "You have less and less anger in you." Keep it simple and positive. In that way, you are conditioning your child to behave in a more appropriate manner. A relaxed body and mind doesn't get upset. Changes must be made on an internal level in order to change outward behavior.

John also spoke briefly about self-esteem and its role in anger. There are six characteristics of low self-esteem in our children:
·         anger and rage issues
·         smoking and substance abuse
·         vulnerability to peer pressure
·         eating disorders
·         strained or hostile relationships
·         generally unhappy

In order to better help your child with their issues of anger and rage, begin with addressing how they feel about themselves. Teach them to express their feelings in an appropriate manner. Give them skills to find solutions to whatever is troubling them. Teach them relaxation techniques. And above all, be a good role model of healthy anger.

For more information, contact John Eric Jacobsen @ 856-988-7266 or visit

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The FGA Quotient

My guest today was Chloe Jonpaul who spoke about the FGA Quotient. FGA stands for frustration, guilt and anger. All are interconnected in some way. And while each creates an uncomfortable environment for us, we need to pay attention to them (as with all emotions) for they all have value and purpose.

Frustration is an indication that something or someone is not what we desire it to be and we feel powerless to facilitate the changes we desire. The harder we try, the greater our level of frustration when change is not forthcoming. Rather than try to force something to be what we want it to be, we can accept that, for now, it is what it is. Accepting that which we do not have the ability or right to alter allows us to be at peace with it and focus our energy on what we are able to change.

Guilt is the voice  of our conscience.  It alerts us to the fact that something is wrong. Guilt can become a destructive force when we get stuck in it as it will slowly erode our self-esteem. By simply relabeling guilt, we can manifest a very different, and positive, outcome. Rather than state, "I feel guilty about not spending time with my children", restate it as "I'm going to to make time each day for my sons." Creative problem solving restores our personal power and provides hope that the situation will improve.

Anger is not a bad emotion as many believe. In fact, is can be a very motivating force to bring about positive change. Anger is a messenger of sorts, warning us that something is amiss and needs our attention. Once we've received the message, we can direct all of our time, energy, and resources into creating a positive outcome.

Very often people seek to immediately alleviate themselves of uncomfortable feelings. However, it is imperative to spend some time with them, discover what they are here to tell us about ourselves or the situation, and choose to use each one as a motivator of transformation. Frustration, guilt, and anger can be beneficial if we choose to use them as such.

Share your thoughts below.

You can learn more about Chloe Jonpaul by visiting her website, . 

Order your copy of The Secret Side of Anger @ 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How to Prevent People From Pushing Your Buttons and Making You Angry

How many times have you blamed someone else for how you feel? "You really make me angry!" "You hurt my feelings!" "You totally embarrassed me!" Most people don't realize that by allowing others to determine how we feel, we actually give away our personal power. We allow others to decide for us how we will feel at any given moment. When I live without power I am, in essence, a victim - I am incapable of making choices for myself and have assigned that responsibility to another. They have the power to determine my level of happiness, joy, love, esteem, misery, rage and so forth.  For me, that is not ok. I am a fully functioning adult and am capable of choosing for myself just how happy or miserable I'll be.

But how does one choose their feelings, including anger? One must first understand where feeling originate: all feelings are the direct result of what we think. Feelings come from thoughts. Throughout the day, we have hundreds or possibly thousands of experiences. For each event, we form a corresponding thought.  I look outside my window and think, "My yard really needs a lot of work." The phone rings and I say to myself, "I hope that's my son calling from college!" My internal dialogue, the voice in my head, my thoughts, generate a corresponding feeling. I can feel depressed over the condition of my yard or angry that my husband hasn't taken care of it. I may be ecstatic over the thought of hearing my child's voice or dread it knowing he only calls asking for money. Either way, I decide how I want to feel. "Oh, well. The yard isn't really that important. He's a good husband in so many other ways." "At least my son calls! Some parents never hear from their children." A simple change of thought (perception) changes the emotion we experience.

Knowing this allows me to be master of my life - I alone dictate what I think, how I'll feel, what I say or do, and the direction my life will take.

Here's a simple equation to remember this - I call it TECO Magic: Thoughts > Emotions > Choices > Outcome.

 Thoughts (which we choose) generate Emotions. Next, we act out what we feel. All behaviors and Choices are an expression of what we are feeling internally. Every decision (Choice) we make produces an Outcome, good or not good. Positive thoughts generate positive emotions which cause us to make smart choices and we create a beneficial outcome. Negative begets negative. 

Choose your thoughts wisely. They determine the outcome of your life. Remember: "Where your mind goes your life follows."

Oh Deer!

I was ecstatic when we moved into our home fifteen years ago. Leaving behind a congested suburb for a more rural area abundant with wildlife was a dream-come-true for me. I've always felt a special connection with nature and to be living among her finest was heaven! Herds of deer, magnificent black bears, red foxes - all were regular visitors to my backyard. And for an amateur photographer, what could be more convenient that to have my subjects come to me?

A few short months after settling in, I was out for my daily power walk early one warm Saturday morning. About two miles from my house is a gorgeous golf course with a large open field of tall grass at the southern end. From the road , I noticed something moving. Upon closer investigation, I say two huge brown eyes and giant ears peering up from the grass. It was a brand new baby deer! I glanced around for the mother  - she was nowhere in sight. I felt a rush of anxiety as I feared for the fawn's life. I ran home and , together with my husband,  grabbed some blankets, jumped into the car, and raced back to the field. I scooped the little guy up in my arms and brought him home. My neighbor, Joe, had a petting zoo so I contacted him for advice. "You should have left him alone. His mother was nearby keeping a watchful eye over him. That's what deer do. Hurry and put him back."

I felt sick to my stomach. Did I just sentence this little guy to death? Was him mama gone by now? What have I done, I asked myself? I carefully placed him back in the exact spot where I found him and glanced around for his mama but she was nowhere to be found. By now, he was strong enough to stand and immediately ran off into the wooded area.

We all have good intentions but how often do we try to force something to happen that perhaps is just not meant to be? Many years ago, I put myself in the middle of a family dispute that did not involve me. A rift between loved ones caused me great distress as I watched them argue over a trivial misunderstanding. A well-intentioned intervention on my part only made matters worse. I felt horrible! I only wanted to help. I sheepishly admitted to my misguided efforts in an attempt to right an even bigger wrong but it was too late. An apology was unable to undo the damage I had just caused. I had to let it go. In time, the affected parties worked things out in their own way. They were fully capable and certainly didn't need any help from me.

Misguided intentions usually arise from fear and/or ego. I don't trust that the situation at hand will work itself out or that those involved are qualified to resolve the issue on their own. Ego tells me I am the more competent party needed to solve this problem. My own anxiety over the current circumstances outweighs the needs of those involved to perhaps allow things to remain status quo. I need to have faith that what is meant to happen will but only when all necessary conditions are in place. 

Sometimes intervention is necessary and sometimes not. It is not always up to me to say how things should be. Allow things to unfold naturally. What is meant to occur will - in its own time and way.

Share your thoughts.

Read: The Force Be With You...Or Not @

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ford Escape, F150 or Bulldozer?

Conflict resolution is not a pleasant experience for most people, in part because we are ill-equip with the proper skills to achieve a relatively satisfying outcome. For many arguing, fighting, and anger are synonymous with conflict. Yet in reality, conflict is nothing more than two forces in opposition with each other - a difference of opinion, opposing ideas, dissimilar feelings. Disagreements can actually lend themselves to a spirited discussion, a chance to learn something new, and a deeper understanding of the other party. However, resolution – the ability to find a mutually agreeable solution - is an art.

Generally people fall into one of several styles of “resolvers”:
The Escapes tend to flee the scene. Uncomfortable with any sort of confrontation, they seek to avoid at all costs. Their behavior is rooted in fear and insecurity.  They lack confidence in their ability to handle a potentially tricky situation so the most viable option is a speedy exit.
The Bulldozers are aggressive and hostile. Like their namesake, they plow through everything in their path causing devastation and damage. Ruthless, hurtful, selfish, and self-centered, their only concern is their own well-being. Again rooted in fear, they feel their opponent does not have their best interest at heart so they must fight and intimidate to ensure their own personal interests.
The F150’s are strong and confident. “Built tough”, they exude kindness, strength, determination and respect for all concerned. Their behavior is deeply rooted in fairness and justice for each party. They refrain from blame, are quick to identify the issue and immediately seek a speedy and balanced resolution. Respect dictates their every choice.

Before beginning the process of conflict resolution, keep the following in mind:

1.       Remember to attack the problem not the person.
2.       Find a commonality to bond and unite both parties. This helps to reassures each person that the other understands them and has their best interest at heart.
3.       Approach as allies not adversaries. Show your concern for the other upfront.
4.       Choose a neutral location to discuss the issue. If not, one party will have the upper hand which may put the other on the defensive.
5.       Know when to stop and take a break. Unless it’s an issue of life or death, nothing must be resolved at that precise moment.

Remember, you can choose to be a part of the problem or the solution. Put your time, energy, and expertise into finding a mutually beneficial solution. Both sides will appreciate your efforts.

Share your thoughts.

For more, read “Built Tough?” @

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tragedy in Aurora

It’s hard to believe that in a country as great as America, people could commit such heinous acts against one another. I’m referring in particular to the recent rampage of James Holmes on the patrons of the Aurora Theater on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado. With no rational explanation, he randomly opened fire, killing 13 and wounding 58. Americans are outraged and perplexed – many calling for the death penalty. Referring to him as evil, trash, worthless, scum, and the like, they are seeking justice against on one who committed of the most senseless acts of violence in our country in years.

It is difficult to see any reason for such brutality yet in cases such as these there are many commonalities shared by the shooters. Many come from families of violence, abuse and/or neglect. They’ve demonstrated antisocial behavior at an early age. Some suffer from substance abuse including prescription drugs. Others have been bullied, ridiculed and humiliated and harbor feelings of powerlessness and anger. Still others view themselves as victims of a current injustice, whether real or imagined. In any event, these acts are always premeditated and are committed against strangers. Very often, there is a history of mental illness.
So what can and must we do to prevent such acts from occurring in the future. Here are some suggestions:

As parents, we need to take an active role in our children’s lives. Providing a loving, nurturing environment allows them to feel loved, safe, and part of a larger unit. We must also be aware of any troubling behavior and seek immediate help. There is no shame to admitting our children need help. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Teach compassion, empathy, and respect for all human life. People are less likely to hurt others when they can feel their pain. Give them the skills to express how they feel, to resolve conflicts peacefully, to set and achieve meaningful goals, and to build a healthy sense of self. Self-love is a critical factor in determining the course of a child’s life. Teach them self-confidence and the ability to forgive those who hurt them rather than harbor anger and resentment.

As a society:

1.       We need to remove the stigma of mental illness and encourage those who are suffering to seek treatment. With proper help many can lead happy, productive lives.
2.       Be all inclusive. Shooters are loners with issues of isolation. Sometimes, the concern of one person can have a huge impact on anothers life.
3.       Be alert. Take notice of any unusual behavior and report it to the proper authorities. Fifty percent of shooters give a warning, either in the form of threats or a note. If you are privy to such information, take it seriously and get help.
4.       Be kind to all human life. Each has value. People are not born bad. Bad things happen to them that change who they are. Their behavior is deplorable but intrinsically they still have value.
5.       Don’t judge. When people feel safe in admitting to needing help without fear of being criticized, they are more likely to seek it, thus increasing the chances they will find some degree of healing.

We all need to take an active role in preventing atrocities like this from occurring. Get involved. Be proactive. We can make a difference.

Share your thoughts below.