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We live in harrowing times. It’s easy to get emotionally upset, fearful, or angry.

In the martial arts it’s advised not to “dodge the arrows but to hold up your shield.” Daily emotional reactions to disturbing incidents of the day are like the arrows. Holding up our shield is what allows us to defend against the pain or discomfort of our own emotional reactivity.

When you find yourself getting emotionally upset, try these Three Suggestions for dealing with emotional reactions to issues involving government and politics:

1) Stay informed
2) Don’t annoy yourself

3) Do something

(For a further discussion of these three suggestions go to guidelines-for-emotions/)

If you find yourself experiencing anxiety, you can practice repeating the following three ideas:

1) I’ll see what happens

2) I’ll deal with it
3) I’m OK right now

and practice a breathing exercise to lower your arousal level.

(For a further discussion of these three ideas go to what-is-it-what-can-i-do-about-it/)

Anger is referred to as a Secondary Emotion, which functions as a shield against re- experiencing vulnerable primary emotions like sadness, feeling disrespected or dismissed, unloved, isolated, or helpless, etc. The automatic, unconscious discharge of anger allows for release of the emotional pressure from a primary emotion. Those for whom the power experienced from expressing anger has become pleasurable or even addictive, may feel justified to raise their voice while remaining unaware of or indifferent to others who may feel threatened, offended or hurt by their words or behavior.

A major hurdle to addressing harmful anger expression in the family is the belief that anger expression must become extreme before being identified as a problem which needs to be addressed. That’s like saying you’ll wait until after you’ve had a cavity before brushing your teeth. Let’s be clear, anger management classes are a court mandated sentence for those whose behavior has become so disturbing to come to the attention of a judge who sentences the accused to school to learn how to deal with their anger or if it happens again, go to jail. Too often these classes are like detention hall in high school. Attendance is what counts, even if you don’t learn anything.

FYI – If you are interested,  Wolf Training Institute ( offers Anger Control classes online. They teach people to teach those “Anger Management” classes and we are the only providers from the National Anger Management Association who offer a money back guarantee: If a student follows instructions, their behavior will change or their money will be refunded.

This is just a resource out there for those who many be interested.

Written by: Dr. Steve Wolf
Wolf Training Institute

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