Addicted to Angry….or Do I Just Hate Stupid People?

Addicted to Angry….or Do I Just Hate Stupid People?

The current issue of the Denver Bar Association’s monthly journal (The Denver Docket) was titled “How to: Be a Happier, Healthier Lawyer.” The issue is loaded with good stuff, including a piece by Sara Meyers, about resiliency, the ability of some people to “bounce back” from tough times.

If you’re like me you might get a bit frustrated when you read those “feel good” articles. Let’s face it, most of time you just read about stuff you already know, and are probably not doing, so you might actually feel worse after reading the feel good article. Ring a bell? Anyway, I found myself reading this article for a nugget or two of wisdom.
If you’re a Denver Broncos fan you know full well that you need something to make you “bounce back” from that Super Bowl performance.

The premise of the article is that we are all addiction machines. Some addictions are positive, while some are negative. Of course we all know that outside substances, like drugs, create chemical changes in our bodies. With a drug addiction our bodies, at a cellular level, become addicted to the chemical changes caused by the drugs and the body then needs the drugs. According to the Sarah Myers, our bodies also become addicted to thought patterns and the physical state associated with them. She explains:

“ If we experience stress, despair, and anxiety on a daily basis (and all of the thoughts associated with those emotional states), the cells of our body literally become addicted to them.”

Our bodies will crave the chemicals they are accustomed to receiving. So, if the cells in your body are addicted to the chemicals associated with anger, you will find things to be angry about because your body wants to be in that state. You may perceive people around you as idiots or incompetent, or threats so you can be angry at them.
Do you know someone like that? Is it me?

As “addiction machines” Myers believes we need to provide alternative “positive” addictions. She suggests practicing one or two of the following positive addictions for a month to increase your resiliency. Oh, I picked my top five from her longer list of seven. The remaining two — exercising and eating well — just made me angry!

  1. Consciously having thoughts of appreciation throughout the day.
  2. Giving people the benefit of the doubt, rather than being critical of them.
  3. Practicing mindful awareness throughout the day by noticing your thoughts, emotions, and surroundings.
  4. Questioning thoughts that cause negative emotional states (why are you thinking something that is making you suffer?).
  5. Focusing on solutions rather than problems.

Here is the full article:

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