Several patients have reported to me that they've observed an increase in feelings of anger in themselves and in others. They're finding they're short with people, or people are short with them. They're noticing more aggressive driving on the roads and customers losing their temper in stores. Some have shared that a few people in their lives are intentionally being argumentative about hot button issues despite knowing in advance that they have opposing viewpoints. Then there's the news showing stories of mass shootings, war, and so many other things that inflame anger. Even Gizmo, seen above, has his moments of pure rage despite having a full bowl of food, a clean litter box, an abundance of toys that continuously decorate our floor and unlimited snuggles.
A combination of stress from the pandemic, politics, economy and world events is likely impacting how people are feeling, and understandably, calm is probably not the primary emotion that people are experiencing. So how does one create calm when anger appears to abound?
One of the most important things to recognize is that anger is temporary. In the case of these times we're living in, it's expected. For many, the pandemic was, and still is, traumatizing. In processing fear and anxiety, anger is often a feeling that follows. For those who have been directly impacted by a mass shooting, the war in Ukraine or any other extreme trauma, the feelings of anger can become overwhelming and out of character. According to Five Element Theory in Chinese medicine, anger is a primary emotion that is meant to be experienced but never continuously.
The more frequently one feels anger, the harder it can be to move out of that emotion. How does one find calm again?
In my experience from treating mental health conditions for well over a decade, combining acupuncture with seeing a mental health professional brings results the fastest. In the beginning, depending on how distressed one is feeling, I recommend receiving acupuncture once or twice per week along with seeing a therapist once a week (provided the therapist recommends that frequency for the work they do). Patients I have worked with who see a therapist and receive acupuncture in the same week notice a significant decrease in anxiety, fear and worry, all of which are emotions that can feed into anger. These patients feel calmer at work and among stressful situations.
Just like how not every acupuncturist resonates with every patient, the same goes for mental health providers. It's okay to try out a few therapists in order to find the right one for you. If you need recommendations, I can provide several.