Have you ever been driving down the road to a tune of some pleasant beat on the radio, dreaming of your next Caribbean vacation when suddenly some schmuck on the cell phone cuts in front of you, slams on the breaks and makes a sudden exit off the freeway?
Oh oh… how do you feel now? Your pleasant thoughts have vanished in a split second and now you’re irritated to the bone to say the least. Some of us would even go to work feeling crummy and carry it for a while but what happens when we see our favorite buddy who gives us a nice tap on the shoulder or a warm hug? We turn happy again as a neighbor’s golden lab again, don’t we?
This change in mood, caused by “external” events, is what anger management technique – pattern interrupt is all about. It works with good feelings as well as with bad ones. And guess what? We can learn how to execute a pattern interrupt upon will.
Below is a short video clip from a movie “Anger Management.” Watch it and see what Jack is demonstrating to Adam on the bridge.
Pretty hilarious, isn’t it? Here is the idea behind this technique: No matter how upset we are, all we need to do is to simply interrupt the pattern of being angry regardless of the current circumstances (as evidenced by ticked off drives passing by). In this case Jack helps Andy to change his physiology and re-direct his thoughts by making him sing a really silly song. Works like a charm!
Just remember this: when you are having thoughts that trigger bad mood (or some events make you angry) it is up to you to regain control by applying one of the anger management techniques. Some “experts” advise to hit the feeling with the hammer and even yell to oneself “Shut the heck up!” (which supposedly interrupts the pattern) but I don’t like it. The physics are very clear – what we resist – persists. I’d much rather sing “I feel pretty” and move on with a jolly feeling. Try it.