A Strategy that can Effectively Inhibit Anger Arousal


Visualize others as children

I’ve found it helpful to think of all adults as being children, just trying our best to be adults. As such, I find it helpful to envision others as children-often with their adult heads. This image highlights the fact that we are very much influenced by our emotional brain, that we make mistakes and have flaws. Additionally, it reflects the reality that we may impulsively act from our emotional brain without taking time for reflection–a defining quality of children. We all have needs, desires expectations, and fears. And, since the image can be humorous, it competes with and inhibits the physiological response associate with anger. 

Further, like children, we may at times be so self-absorbed that we are less able to be empathic with or care about others. Such moments constrict our capacity to reflect and make it more likely that our emotional brain will hijack our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Further, when our emotions are dominant, our capacity for clear judgment and reasoning is reduced. This is helpful to remember with regard to our anger as well as in regard to the behavior of others.