Sunday, 17 June 2012

Keep the World Laughing!

Keep the world laughing!

“God has a smile on His face “— Psalm 42:5

My Laughter

As I was growing up there was a lot of laughter in my house, my father managed to keep us all laughing and helped me to develop my sense of humour I have today.  It is to my father I am dedicating this blog to say a massive thank you for over many years keeping me laughing and smiling.  HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!.

There was a whole lot of laughter amongst my whole family and family get-togethers were a joy to me as a child with my father leading and including everyone with his laughter.  The laughter amongst my aunts and uncles as they remembered their own childhoods touched on mine. 

 How is he funny – well he has a way of telling stories of everyday life in an amusing way,  has a naughty sense of humour of innuendo and manages to both laugh at himself and with others rather than at others finding a sense of fun in most situations.  He loves playing games, both serious and silly and is so competitive it’s ridiculous.  He has dressed up in silly outfits for parties, pantomimes and events, doesn’t mind acting the fool, and has an infectious laugh.   Spending holidays, Christmas and other seasonal occasions with my mum and dad (and later with his new partner) were always very special to me and well looked forward to not just as child but always during my adult life as well - he is genuinely a lovely man to be around or as he would say charming, handsome and debonair!

“All you need in the world is love and laughter. That's all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other.”  August Wilson

Laughter in my marriage life was a little different and I always looked forward to visiting my dad, because it was, and in some ways still is, that I feel the real freedom to laugh with him – those great big belly ache kind of laughs and ones which my son, and even my husband joined in with. My husband had a slapstick kind of humour which sometimes I must admit I did not always appreciate, and as time went on he seemed to find it easier to have fun with other people than with me and later in our married life we found it hard to laugh together at all.    

“What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul” – unknown

After walking away from my marriage, and going through depression, I had to dig down hard in my soul to find the laughter but even during those days there were glimpses of laughter as that was also the year I met many different people particularly from Germany) who also kept the laughter going in me.

“Laughter is the golden sunshine, the rainbow the twinkling stars in the sky but with sunshine comes drought, with a rainbow rain and with stars the scudding clouds can block the view”. – Belinda Federl (aka me!) 

I love having a night out with the girls because laughter is never far off.  I remember times I have laughed so hard it has hurt, literally crying with laughter and I smile at those memories. It’s the laughter and humour that has kept me going during cancer and every Friday night however I felt I usually had someone come round to help me keep laughing – it kept me sane and kept me hopeful.  But I did lose my sense of fun probably because I was too tired and lacking energy, but I now have some of that sense of fun back again – and finding it easier to laugh more every day!

“Honest good humour is the oil and wine of a merry meeting, and there is no jovial companionship equal to that where the jokes are rather small and laughter abundant.” Washington Irving

Relationships and laughter

Research into humour is one of the most fast-growing areas of research – why - because people who are perceived as witty, clever and funny seem destined for popularity, success in work and relationships and seen as balanced peopled.  In business it is important to have people who are motivated and happy.  In one study undertaken 91% of the top executives surveyed considered humour to be important to career advancement.  As an aside, interestingly, research published last year in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour stated that women say what they want most is someone who makes them laugh and men say they want someone whom they can make laugh! 

When laughter is shared, it binds people together, increases happiness and helps keeps our relationships  light, happy and enjoyable.  People are naturally attracted to happy, funny individuals and when you laugh with one another, a positive bond is created. This bond acts as a strong buffer against stress, disagreements, and disappointment. And yes laughter really can be contagious - just hearing laughter primes your brain to smile and join in the fun.   

“Every blessed one of you feels better for that burst of laughter” -Ivor Novello

As our health and happiness depend to a certain extent on the quality of our relationships, laughter can smooth over differences, help you approach sensitive subjects, resolve disagreements and bring perspective our problems.   Although my blog also looks at what makes us laugh most of the humour we encounter is on a day-to-day basis and comes from our spontaneous interactions with others, whether it’s a witty comment, a funny story or an amusing situation. A study has shown that adults on average laugh about 17 times a day compared to children who laugh about 400 times a day.

Today my son and I undertook a big shop and needed a taxi home.  The taxi driver insisted on tying up each of the plastic bags to ensure nothing fell about in his boot – unfortunately he didn’t take the same care with the cat litter and put it near a sharp object - he ended up with lots of bits of gravel in his boot.  After rushing to get him a dustpan and brush we both had a giggle finding the situation amusing – obviously not for the taxi driver who spent a good half-hour clearing out his boot, but definitely for us!

“Something is funny because it captures a moment, it contains an element of simple truth, it is something that we have always known for eternity and yet are hearing it now out loud for the first time. “

What makes me laugh

What makes me laugh and tickles my funny bone is probably not the same as yours - as we all have a different sense of humour - but it is so great when I meet someone who laughs at the same things as I do.  The extent to which a person will find something humorous depends upon a host of variables, including geographical location, culture, maturity, level of education, intelligence and context.  And laughter is seriously a complex subject but yet such a natural, simple and usually positive emotion often conveying meaning more effectively than words.  Some believe that after crying, laughter is the next big communicative milestone in human development and evolves from a baby's giggle into a social tool.

However, many believe that humour cannot or should not be explained - which does make sense – try dissecting a funny joke and it becomes no longer funny and/or loses its impact.

"Humour can be dissected as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind."  - Author E.B. White

Not everyone may find Rowan Atkinson funny as Mr Bean (although there are a lot of people out there who do!).  He explains that an object or a person can become funny in three ways -by behaving in an unusual way, being in an unusual place or by being the wrong size; and the easiest way to make things laughable is to exaggerate to the point of absurdity their salient traits.
My father told me that he learned quickly that being funny got him out of many a sticky situation, and having being bullied as teenager he had to either learn to fight back or make them laugh – he chose laughter.

Who would have thought that on a family get together as a child a budgie could make us all laugh so much we were all crying with great big belly ache laughter – literally splitting our sides! 
I often have to try not to laugh in Church and have to supress that laughter – it might be that it is because it’s a solemn occasion with the expectation to stay quiet, still and spiritual, and then someone sings off key, or does something unexpected, but whatever it is holding in the laughter makes me giggle more and its infectious!  

I particularly like political, innuendo and observational humour – but really lots of different things can make me laugh, and there are so many different ways to laugh too.

Different kinds of laughs

Belly- ache laugh: open and trustworthy; Giggling, chuckling, tittering: laughing nervously, braying: laughing  loudly and harshly:  convulsive: laugh loudly and in an unrestrained way; and then there is guffawing, laughing boisterously, howling, roaring and heartily.  There is the soft, pleasant laughter of an infant,  vulgar and obscene laughter,  superficial and polite laughter,  the loud laughter of a child, mild and appreciative laughter;  loud uproarious laughter;  horse-like laughter; and derogatory laughter just to name a few.  How many different types of laughter have you noticed - you may think of some that are not mentioned here?

Although different people laugh in different ways most of the time we can detect a genuine laugh from the heart to those which are uncontrolled, suppressed, nervous, sarcastic, etc.  Though there are many ways to laugh, only about 90% of our laughter is related to jokes or humour and that you are more likely to laugh with friends or colleagues than by yourself. Laughing is usually a social activity.

A laugh is a smile that bursts.”  Mary H. Waldrip quotes

What makes us laugh

The term Humour derives from the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks, which taught that the balance of fluids in the human body, known as humors (Latin: humor, "body fluid"), control human health and emotion.  Today Humour tends to describe cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement.  The word Comedy comes from the Greek:  these days meaning any humorous discourse or work generally intended to amuse by creating laughter, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy.  The ancient original meaning of the word comedy was merely a dramatic play that was the opposite of tragedy.

We find something funny because it is expected, it is unexpected or has a twist, it is familiar, and is unfamiliar.

 “The more you know humour, the more you become demanding in fineness” - Georg Lichtenberg“

So here goes a list of comedy (and it’s not a completely exhaustive list to that either!).  I could have gone in much greater detail here, but in the interest of not making my blog to long (!) ……. :)

  • Slapstick & physical comedy – Pies in faces, slipping and sliding, falling etc.  The Three Stooges. Charlie Chaplin Norman Wisdom Chevy Chase.  We also tend to laugh at each other when we unexpectedly fall over, slip or get wet etc.

  • Parody & spoof - mocks or makes fun of an original work - movies and TV shows - Airplane - or on mannerisms such as mimicking the upper class society.  Spoof is light parody or gentle imitation.

  •  Satire & Irony - where a section of society or politics are mocked and directs criticism at human weakness and shortcomings. Satire is often meant to be funny, but not necessary the purpose of it.  Irony is the opposite of what is expected to happen or where someone says the opposite of what they mean.

 “If we ever travel thousands of light years to a planet inhabited by intelligent life let’s just make patterns in their crops and leave!- Unknown     

“Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They are about to announce the lottery numbers.”  - Homer Simpson

  • Sarcasm  & Put-Down,  biting humour -  where an insult or quick remark is fired at someone with the intention of causing pain or it can be self-deprecating: If it is directed against a politician it can been seen as funny but if directed towards an individual particularly those close to you can take its toll on personal relationships.  A common response to this kind of humour when challenged is “just kidding”.

 J.F.K. and his brothers would often invite a hated acquaintance to vacation with them; they'd be polite to his face, but behind his back, the brothers would unite in deriding the hapless guest.

“He who laughs last didn't get it”  Helen Giangregorio quotes“

  • Farce & screwball comedy - where comedy is achieved through exaggeration and extreme characters in bizarre, surprising (and improbable) situations that seem to spiral out of control and become ever more ludicrous.  Often used in sitcoms, or situation comedies

 Recently my rescue cat – Dave - who we have only just got, managed to escape through the kitchen window (although I don’t know how) and I went round my block of flats shaking a box of cat biscuits calling out his name.  A couple of cats started following me, one of them all the way round the block of flats with me.  When my son was retelling this story it turned into the cats in the whole neighbourhood! (Oh yes, just in case you are wondering, I did find him.)

  • Black comedy - dark comedy where a light humoured touch is applied to serious subject matter such as sex, race, violence or other depressing situations in order to ease the pain or make some specific point or used to going against social conventions or taboos in comic ways (MASH).

“Cancer is probably the most unfunny thing in the world, but I’m a comedian, and even cancer couldn’t stop me from seeing the humour in what I went through. “— Gilda Radner

“To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it”. — Charlie Chaplin

An American friend told me she used humour when going through anal cancer treatment “my ass was going to get radiation and radiation is known to be hot and that I would therefore be "A hot piece of Ass" for a while!”

  • Surrealism - throwing together completely disjointed concepts and random ideas to weave together something bizarre.

Remember: Do not Insult the Alligator till after you cross the river.

  • Mock epic and travesty - where something very trivial is treated as if it were high and important on a grand scale; Travesty is the opposite.

“Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.”

  • Double entendre & Blue humour - Typically British 'saucy postcard kind of humour: unsubtle humour often marked by coarse jokes and sexual situations and innuendo.  

The name blue humour is said to derive from the 18th century use to morally strict standards — hence the phrase “blue laws” referring to restricting certain behaviour on the Sabbath.  

  • Stereotypes - where we immediately recognise a character and so we are familiar with what sort of person this is without too much information needing to be given. 

Always remember you are unique, just like everyone else. “ – Unknown

  • The infectious wisdom of the fool:  A wrong opinion is expressed and catches on with others. Often a wise person will say something and a fool will hear it and misinterpret it loudly. A second fool hears it and agrees and so the wise person then has to race about correcting it to prevent the foolishness from spreading.

As sent by a friend on Facebook:-

1. You cannot stick your tongue out and look up at the ceiling at the same time, a physical impossibility due to the tendons within your neck. 2. All idiots, after reading 1 will try it. 3. And discover #1 is a lie. 4. You are smiling now because you are an idiot. 5. You soon will forward this to another idiots. 6. There is still a stupid smile on your face.

Timing is the most mysterious part and important in expressing humour. A small pause comes into play to enhance a joke... either/and before and after the punch line to enable a reaction and to build up an expectation.  Timing can is important even if you don’t intend it to be!

“I have opinions of my own -- strong opinions -- but I don’t always agree with them. “- George Bush

People often talk of high/highbrow comedy and low comedy. High comedy is seen as intellectual wit, using cultured, sophisticated themes:  and low humour being comedy that uses coarse language, slapstick and farce.

We all know people who are fun to have around; saying amusing things, tell jokes, engage in witty banter and generally lighten the mood.  They are perceived to be warm, down-to-earth and kind, and able to laugh at their own faults (my father is definitely a person like this!). This is called bonding humour.  Also used in Stand-up comedy where the comedian needs to get the audience on their side and although they may use several types of humour (including anecdotal personal stories that may be true or partly true but embellished) we are still bonded together with the comedian to make us laugh.
“A sense of humour... is needed armour. Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life. “ - Hugh Sidey

 Health benefits of laughter

“Your body cannot heal without play. Your mind cannot heal without laughter. Your soul cannot heal without joy.” — Catherine Rippenger Fenwick

Now we are coming to the crux of my blog.  There is an on-going debate amongst the medical profession of the benefits of laughter on both our physical and mental health  and there has been a lot of research already done in this area, and is continuing to be done. If we’re able to see the funny side of life’s problems, we are less likely to become distressed, overwhelmed, anxious and depressed by them.  These days we need all the laughter we can get with the news being full of economic nightmares, doom and gloom, wars, disease, and more.

“Laughter is the shock absorber that eases the blows of life” – Unknown

Studies show that people who laugh more often get sick less producing healthy physical and mental changes in the body:

  • Reduces cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones, protecting you from the damaging effects of stress, and reduces blood pressure
  • Strengthens and increases the immune system by increasing the release of interferon cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease - also increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells, leading to a stronger immune system.
  • Triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals minutes after laughter promoting an overall sense of well-being.  A good hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes. 
  • Boosts your energy, making you feel relaxed and energised at the same time, relieving tiredness while recharging your batteries helping you accomplish more and improving the oxygen flow to the brain
  • Can temporarily relieve and diminish pain   
  •  Protects the heart by improving the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
  • Maciej Buchowski, a researcher with Vanderbilt University, conducted a unique study and proved that 10-15 minutes of concentrated laughter burns off 50 calories.  (Yeah I'm going on a laughter diet!)

“Laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. “ — Lord Byron

So laughter can be strong medicine for both the body and the mind. It helps you to stay balanced, energetic, joyful, and healthy.  

"A cheerful heart does good medicine, but a broken spirit makes you sick".  - Book of Proverbs 17.22

Keep yourself and the World Laughing

But what is laughter, what is its purpose and are humans truly the only creatures with the ability to laugh? Can we learn to have a good sense of humour and how do we keep on laughing?
According to Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Robert R Provine, a laughter expert, studying chimp behaviour, believes that their play-panting is the starting block of human laughter and that it evolved into the 'ha-ha' sound we make today.  He even found that rats can laugh when tickling them (who would want to tickle rats?!). They made chirping noises different to the usual noises they made (and even made signs they wanted to be tickled further when it stopped), although he has been careful not to categorically say this this laughter.

"A lot of people don't like that word. Giving human qualities to animals is a no-no, since we are closer to the angels than the other creatures of the world,"  - Robert Provine

I am sure my cats laugh!

But can people learn humour? May be you can no more teach yourself to be witty than you can teach yourself to fall in love. Maybe a sense of humour is akin to a sense of rhythm: You either got it or you aren’t? But we are all born with the physical ability to laugh, and the capacity to utilise it as a social tool is something we learn as we mature developing our own sense of humour.  

When the human brain develops into adulthood, studies suggest, we learn to appreciate different kinds of humour, which are processed in different parts of the brain. If people find a joke funny, it the "funny zone" in the brain: the medial ventral prefrontal cortex that lights up. The funnier a joke is found to be, the more that area of the brain lights up like a pinball machine.

"They all laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian. They're not laughing now ..."  - Bob Monkhouse

Much of our humour, as mentioned before, is learned through a variety of factors, including geographical location, culture, and maturity, level of education, intelligence and context.  But we can further develop our humour and encourage our laughter wherever we are.  Here are just a few examples of what you can do.

  • Reading funny books, comics, watching TV shows that you make you laugh (I love the Graham Norton show!).
  • Go and see a stand-up comic, a funny play, visit a comedy club
  • Be with people who make you laugh through social interaction
  • Try laughter meditation, consisting of stretching, laughing, and silence. It can transform your energy and mood.
  • Join a laughter club or a laughter yoga class or form your own laughter therapy group and laugh yourself healthy! Apparently Laughing 100 (ha-ha-etc.) times a day gives the same cardiac workout as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise.  By playfully imitating breathing and sounds of laughter, until simulated laughter can turn into the real thing.  (Be warned I have been to a 15 minute workshop on laughter and I came out exhausted but happy!)

 “Laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors.” -  Norman Cousins

Once we are laughing can we spread our laughter to others?  Well laughter can certainly be contagious! Researchers at the University College of London found that the brain responds to the sound of laughter by preparing the muscles in the face to laugh and smile. You can see this at work where in live recorded sitcoms people are paid to sit in the audiences because of their particular type of laugh which has proved to be infectious. This is called trigger laughter. Our mirror neurons trigger humour by hearing others laugh. Just like yawning, but more fun. It seems obvious really - how many times have you burst into uncontrollable giggles just because someone else started to laugh? We rarely laugh when we are not with other people, and most of the things we laugh at have to do with other people - so the purpose of laughter is about how we communicate with others and is inherently social.

 “A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; but a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, 0verflows, and bubbles all around.” – Carolyn Birmingham

 World Laughter Day

Did you know there is a World Laughter Day? It’s usually celebrated on the first Sunday of May every year (missed it this year, reminder to put it into diary next year!) and is celebrated in more than 70 countries around the world. The mission for World Laughter day is to bring Good health, Joy and World Peace affirmed by thousands of people gathered to promote the benefits of unconditional laughter.  This means huge waves of laughter and positive energy being sent out around the world. I like this idea!

World Laughter Day was the brain child of Dr Kataria who started this through Laughter Yoga organisations, and started in in 1995 with just 5 people.  Laughter Yoga  allows people to practice laughter without depending upon outside conditions and reasons of life. It does not require a sense of humour, nor do you have to be happy to participate. It combines playful exercises with yoga breathing.

Below are some Yoga Laughter exercises you can do by yourself or with others. 

I believe that laughter is a language of God and that we can all live happily ever laughter.  Yakov Smirnoff

The Archer - Stand with your legs shoulder width apart and arms held out level from side to side. Reach with your right arm and touch your left hand. Close your hands as if holding a bow and yell HA! Your head should look at your left hand. Pull back with your right hand to your left elbow, left arm still straight and yell HA again. Pull your right hand back to touch your left shoulder, and "releasing the arrow," yell HA once more. Straighten out your right arm to the side, throw your head back and have a belly laugh. Once on each side is a set.  Start with 5 sets (5 arrows drawn and released on each side), and work up to 10.

The Group Swing - Stand in a circle (if you're by yourself, imagine you're in a circle of people), and reach forward as if picking up a package while saying the vowels softly at first then louder as you straighten your body, lift your "package" over your head and burst out laughing. Everyone can also run towards the centre of the circle, as if showing off your "packages" and laugh when you reach the centre. By yourself, run towards a point in the back yard or a chair in the living room.

Lion King - This promotes blood flow to the thyroid gland, exercises the face and neck muscles and definitely inspires more laughter. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Raise your hands like paws. Open your mouth as wide as you can, stick your tongue out as far as it will go and open your eyes as wide as you can. Now laugh as hard as you can. Walk around laughing like this and move your body like lion. Do this for about a minute, then let your face relax. Get the kids to join in and enjoy yourself even more!

Lottery Winner - Imagine you just won the 20 Million Dollar Lottery! Only ONE set of numbers hit, and they were YOURS! Laugh, howl, jump up and down, wave your arms, hug each other and celebrate. Try to keep it up for a minute each day, then two minutes the following week. This is truly energizing.

Choo Choo - It sounds cute, and it's fun. Using the sounds of the vowels, start out with ha-ha-ha-ha, while taking a step and holding your arms at a 45 degree angle, imaging you're a train. Hee-hee-hee-hee a little faster. Go through all the vowels and travel like a train, finally cracking up laughing at the end.  A entire group can do say travel around the work building. People will join in just because it's fun. If people come up to see "what's so funny," laugh again. It's funny to see people confused when all you're doing is laughing, and they expect to hear a rational explanation for the guffaws and giggles. Get them to join the group. Laughter is infectious and doesn't need a vaccine.

[Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon - laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution - these can lift at a colossal humbug - push it a little - weaken it a little, century by century; but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand. — Mark Twain

The next time someone around you starts to laugh or you feel your mouth involuntarily rise at the corners, and a deep chuckle bubbling up, don’t hold back let it rip and enjoy the positive elements both to our physical and mental health that come from laughter.   Keep the word laughing!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Do unto Others ... - A Study on Anger Part III

A Study on Anger – Part III

Managing Anger

Have you ever lost your temper over some little thing and totally over reacted or become angry but you are really angry about something else?  I have done do, and often times have said and done some hurtful things when I am angry, and when I've calmed down again I hate myself and feel ashamed.  I think we probably have all found ourselves in this position more than once. 

Although, as discussed before, anger is neither good nor bad, it can be frightening. What counts is how we handle it (and ourselves) when we're angry.  Anger is a common emotion and is a totally natural reaction to something that has hurt us. 

As children when we get hurt we feel angry and we want to hurt back. If a child hits another child even if it was accidental, the other child automatically strikes back. As we mature we usually learn that hurting someone back doesn't help with the problem. If the hurt was not intended and was purely accidental, hurting the other person may make them want to intentionally hurt us. If the hurt was intentional and we hurt back, the other person may feel justified in first having hurt us and in giving more hurt in return for the hurt we've given them."

“Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry.” -  Lyman Abbott

But what is the best way to manage your own anger? 

“Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy. “ – Aristotle

Looking differently at and changing how we react with situations that make us angry takes practice. Unfortunately, when you are angry, you often act on a judgmental basis. For example, if you are in a situation that is potentially dangerous or dangerous towards loved ones such as children, then you have no choice but to act.  However if your anger is not in an emergency situation, then research suggest that you should really slow down, step back and try and think more clearly.

I find that sometimes if I am already irritable then just an offhand comment can make me angry and I then direct my anger wrongly. This is because my initial judgment has made the remark feel more threatening than it really is and it’s particularly at these sort of times it is better to slow down and think before responding in anger. But how often do I do this – perhaps not often enough!

Having experienced so much emotional anger over the years I do know that anger expressed wrongly not only wounds those it targets, but can impair the hearts of those who nurture it whether it arises from your own inner pain, or from a loved one. 

My research has showed that when we are involved in an argument or reacting to someone who has hurt us, responding in anger often justifies our anger and then that too causes more pain. We need to try to put ourselves in the other person's shoes; we might then see what we have contributed in even a small way to the problem. If we can find a way to say I'm sorry, and ask for forgiveness in anything we might have done to contribute to the problem we may then be able seek to find forgiveness in our own hearts to extend to that person. 

How hard this is to do when you feel that your anger is justified, you may well be able to see the other person’s point of view but when hurt has been caused on both sides you want the other person to also meet you somewhere in the middle and be sorry as well.  But that might not be the case so it takes courage to say sorry especially when you don’t thing you have been completely in wrong in the first place.  I am not sure right now that I have that kind of courage to this. I can forgive and be forgiven but to actually start the process of resolution and healing in this way is not something I think I can do right now.  But all the time the anger is unresolved the more it broods and is repressed which is not healthy.

“To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee.”  William H. Walton

When I am really angry I sometimes ask myself if my best friend is in this situation, what advice would I give to them. This enables me to look at the situation more objectively and stand back from it.

Each instance of anger asks us to make a choice.  We can respond by being hostile, including overt violence, or we can respond with hostile inaction, such as withdrawing.  We can also harbour resentment; or we can work to better understand and manage our anger to resolve the issue. 

“There is nothing more galling to angry people than the coolness of those on whom they wish to vent their spleen.” 
-  Alexandre Dumas

As previously discussed suppression of anger may have harmful effects on us in that the suppressed anger may find another outlet, such as a health risks, future outbursts of unmeant anger, or to our own mental well-being. However, psychologists have also criticised the "catharsis theory" of aggression, which suggests that "unleashing" pent-up anger can reduce the feelings of anger – I am not quite sure about this although I can see that unleashing pent-up at the wrong time could cause untold harm.   

But there are healthy ways of dealing with anger that can help you resolve, forgive both yourself and others and make positive changes in your life and others:

1.   Acknowledge your anger:  When we feel angry about a situation we are facing or at a person who is challenging us in some way, our anger is a signal and warning that something is out of balance. As a warning, anger saves us the grief of sitting still and doing nothing about a situation or when circumstances require a positive change. Clenching your teeth while repressing your feelings is not good for you, the person with who you are angry with (or your gastrointestinal tract).  Give yourself permission to feel angry:  It’s OK to feel angry.  Feeling anger does not involve making a judgement about whether you are right or wrong about your feelings, they are the just the way you feel. Allowing anger doesn't mean that you will necessarily communicate it to another, or tell someone that you feel angry with them

“Anger is an essential part of being human. People are taught to deny themselves anger, and in this, they are actually opening themselves up to hate. The more you deny yourself the freedom to be angry, the more you will hate. Let yourself be angry, and hate will disintegrate, and when hate disintegrates, forgiveness prevails! The more you deny that you are angry, in attempts to be "holy" the more inhuman you will become, and the more inhuman you will become, the harder it will be to forgive.” - C. JoyBell C.

2.   Stepping back:  The main advice I have always had when I am angry and the one I give my son is to hold your breath and count to ten before you say anything or to try and walk away from angry situations.  Research suggests that this is good advice.  Give yourself some space on your own and allow yourself to feel the anger.  By being in a safe place of love and privacy you are less likely to express your anger badly with someone else, and you get a clearer idea of what you are angry about. If a situation arises unexpectedly and you feel your temper rising, walk away if you can before you react.  Make sure you give yourself enough time and thought to what exactly you’re angry about. You need to be sure before you can resolve it. It will usually involve a person, but not necessarily the one who's the target of your anger and it is with this person you need to sort the situation out with.

 “When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred”. - Thomas Jefferson

3.   Spell it out: Writing down your feelings is a good way in which you can sort out why you're angry and what you could do to improve the situation. Putting your feelings into words can act to lessen the feelings of anger and help them work their way out of your system. The first thing to do is list the situations that make you angry and note down exactly what it is about them that makes you angry - it could be the here and now, or it could be a build-up of issues you haven't resolved, or some things from the past. Finding the reason for your anger is an important step, is your anger justified and in proportion?  If your anger turns out to be more to do with the past than the present, then think about how to address that before, or as well as, dealing with the current situation. Writing down your angry feelings on a piece of paper and then tearing up the paper is a way of symbolically destroying the anger.

“The greatest remedy for anger is delay.” - Thomas Paine.               

4.    Get physical: Connect to your body and mind by channelling your anger.  This could be an activity that can release tension - dancing, kickboxing and running – or just scream. Instead of letting frustration burn you up, release it, a good laugh or a good cry can also work. If necessary lash out by hitting a cushion, breaking crockery if you have to, or making some kind of angry noise (make sure that it’s somewhere it will not alarm anyone else though!). 

“It is impossible for you to be angry and laugh at the same time. Anger and laughter are mutually exclusive and you have the power to choose either.” - Wayne Dyer

Another way to lessen your angry feelings and help you get control is called EFT or Emotional Freedom Techniques. This involves tapping on acupressure points and it helps release intense emotions so they won't be expressed destructively. 

5.    Seek perspective: Being at peace can also reduce anger. Sometimes we just need to stop and be still. Using meditation or breathing exercises can help or such exercise as Yoga.  Music can also change how we feel. If we use uplifting music when we are upset it can help us calm down.  Make a list of the things you're grateful for. Sometimes just sitting and focusing on what is right in your life can give you increased fulfilment and lessen stressful situations.  

If you stop to think about it, anger has likely been the great motivator of change in your life. My anger (or desperation) ended a toxic relationship after years of putting up with someone who discouraged me and abused both me and my son. I was angry with myself for putting up with their behaviour for so long, and yes I did hope that they would change. Eventually though I was fed up enough to let my anger win, and it gave me the power to take help when offered and the courage to end the relationship. Only when we put our anger in perspective and get mad enough to change the direction of our lives can we earn self-respect.

6.    Connect with others: Sharing your feelings with a trusted person can often be very useful but be careful of the friend who encourages you to be angrier then you actually are.  If you know someone who finds it easy to understand another's point of view, it may be worth doing some work with them talking through your anger and looking at who is either directing their anger at you, or who you are directing your anger at.  Old wounds can be easily triggered and for many the response is anger.  If something happens that reminds you of a bad experience from the past - let yourself feel what you've hidden for so long, and then let it go through forgiveness. For more deep-rooted anger (may be from childhood or something else more serious) talking to a counsellor may be able help you change your perceptions and help you overcome your anger. 

      Talking to a counsellor both helped me come to the realisation that I needed to walk away from my bad relationship and then later to come to terms with the abuse and the fact that I allowed it to happen.  It doesn’t mean that all those angry feelings are completely gone, or that they don’t come out now and again when I feel someone is trying to manipulate or control me, but they are now really just a dull ache and I have both forgiven myself, my ex-partner and the past.

“Defensiveness is usually someone silently screaming that they need you to value and respect them in disguise. When you look for deeper meanings behind someone’s pain you can then begin to heal not only yourself but others.” - Shannon L. Alder

7.   Take action: If you are under a verbal attack a healthy response is anger. Rather than cowering in fear or retracting and feeling even more vulnerable, a little anger can push you to yell out a resounding "Stop". Anger is an enforcer of good boundaries so that you don't become a doormat or pushover in instances when others try to dominate or threaten your safety and well-being. If you are suffering abuse by someone’s anger then try to chart out steps to improve the situation. A plan of action can lend a sense of control; help stop the madness or giving you the courage to walk away.  In an unexpected situation, self-control is all about thinking before you act and can put some precious seconds or minutes between feeling a strong emotion and taking an action you may  regret.  Trying to understand another's point of view before expressing your own anger often helps diffuse anger. Strangely enough it has also been said that by doing something good for someone even though they haven't treated you well may also diffuse their anger and yours.  By witnessing and understanding anger in others we can see how destructive it can be, but we can also see its merits in many situations. We learn that anger turned to passion can help us achieve our dreams and even how it can champion the lives of others.

“... but if I've learned one thing, it's this: forgiveness is crucial. If you can't forgive someone you're mad at, that anger will poison you. You have to learn to let it go"... "people have reasons for doing the things that they do, especially when they care about you. You may not always understand what they are, but if you can try to understand the person then you might see that they really care, despite what happened." pg 100 Meredith to Vlad”- Heather Brewer

8.   Watch it: Sometimes even when things seem resolved your inner dialogue of thoughts and feelings can serve as an early warning system for future conflicts. It can also help you determine if you're holding a grudge long after it's good to do so. Self-awareness is the ability to notice what you're feeling and thinking, and this is why once the cause of the anger is resolved you may still have to deal with the physical effects of that anger- all that energy has to go somewhere. This can be taken out on another person, such as a partner, or an object - by punching a wall, for example and lead down the path to self-harm.

Often we allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should despise and forget. We lose many hours brooding over grievances that could in time be forgotten by us and by everybody. Why waste time being unhappy when you could be taking a more positive approach and direct your feelings to do things that are more worthwhile.

9.    Prayer:  Prayer has helped me lessen my anger and to forgive.  However new research from American and Dutch scientists have now proven that praying can help ease anger, lower aggression and lessen the impact of provocation.  Studies have shown that prayer may really be an effective way to calm anger and aggression although it should be pointed out that these results only apply to the typical benevolent prayers that are advocated by most religions.  Vengeful or hateful prayers, rather than changing people’s view of a negative situation, may actually fuel anger and aggression.

Brad Bushman, Ohio State University: “When people are confronting their own anger, they may want to consider the old advice of praying for one’s enemies, it may not benefit their enemies, but it may help them deal with the negative emotions. People often turn to prayer when they’re feeling negative emotions, including anger. We found that prayer really can help people cope with their anger, probably by helping them change how they view the events that angered them and helping them take it less personally”.  In the research published by both the American and Dutch scientists it was found that prayer helped to control anger regardless of the person's religious affiliation, or if they attended church or prayed regularly.

10.   Redirect your anger:  Justified anger is anger that is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. Anger can be good for you because it's designed to protect us, our relationships and our way of seeing the world.

 “The world needs more anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it isn't angry enough.” ― Bede Jarrett

I am so sad sometimes at just how angry our world is and the level of aggression, anger, greed, selfishness and self-harm. Turn on the TV to any news cast or news oriented program and watch it objectively. Most likely, it won't take you long to see just how angry some of these people are. Some days it seems as if a spirit of anger is permeating the entire world. Media gives a power and a force to angry words and violent images seen through the eyes of those that watch. It is a powerful medium that can be positive or negative, a force for good or exploitation.

“Where in is the cause for anger, envy or discrimination?”― Mahatma Gandhi

One of the main characteristic of our angry world seems to be envy, the kind where one cannot tolerate the thought of anyone being in any way better than oneself and a burning need to be superior to others, a belief that one is fundamentally better than other people (including countries); or its the “got-to-have-it” mentality.  People seem to be more impatient, rude and demanding.

“Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”― Malcolm X

But across the world anger is being redirected through legitimate discontent. When we get riled up confronted with circumstances that just seem unfair, our anger can move us deeply and points out what matters most to us. It could be world hunger, saving the whales or the need for a go slow sign outside a school.  A cause needs angry individuals to fuel it.  The "I don't care attitude" does not change the world. It’s often the greatest accomplishments of this world were achieved because someone got angry enough to insist on a change.

"The key to the transformation of the world of Anger lies in self-mastery-channelling the energy that has formerly been directed toward winning over others into winning over oneself. This begins simply with the humility to respect and admire what is praiseworthy in others." Civilization began the first time an angry person cast a word instead of a rock.” ― Sigmund Freud

When I was younger I think to some extent I was addicted to drama, the negative feelings and then the rush you can get when these feelings are passionately released – it was almost like being on the “rollercoaster” at the funfair - and the ride was certainly difficult to get off!

Through writing this blog I have become aware of the positive feelings you can get from anger as well as the negative ones. By recognising the positive and negative feelings associated with my anger, I can find other means of achieving and concentrating on the positives ones.  Instead of dwelling on my anger looking for the good in my life helps it go away faster. Focusing on the things I am grateful for and that bless my life is one of the best ways I can overcome anger. 

It’s been many years since I have felt so calm and I believe the calmness is because cancer has forced me to live day by day, has enable me to become more grateful for what I have now and learning to let go of my anger in a positive way.  I try and live by the motto "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," (much mentioned throughout my blogs) and imagine how much less anger there would be in the world if everyone believed in this way.  

The Prisoner – Tears for Fears
“Here behind the wall, I feel so small,
Breathing but not perceiving
Here anger is me, Love sets me free
Feeling and not believing,
Here in my mind, Biding my time,
Waiting but not relating
Here anger is me, Love sets me free
The Prisoner is now escaping”

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Is Anger Healthy? - Study on Anger Part II

A Study on Anger – Part II

 Is anger healthy?

Now there are several schools of thought on this, and after doing a little bit of research (yep I do research for my blogs sometimes!) the answer is yes it is, and no it isn’t and is considered quite a neutral emotion!  As usual it’s a question of moderation. It seems to depend on how often you get angry, the sorts of things you get angry about, how you manage your anger, how you express and release your anger and finally how anger affects you and others around you.

One thing is certain everyone gets angry and that anger is a normal emotion.  It’s a very natural response to when you feel attacked, injured or violated.  It’s a warning bell that lets us know something’s wrong, helps us survive, and gives us the strength to fight back or run away when attacked or faced with injustice.  There is nothing wrong with feeling mad (note how madness comes into the description of anger) and has allowed humans to evolve and adapt. It isn't a bad thing in itself.  

Expression and physical symptoms of anger (a bit of a scientific bit here!)


“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on 
which it is poured.” - Mark Twain

The external expression of anger can be found in our facial features, body language, and physiological responses.  The face becomes flushed, and the brow muscles move inward and downward, fixing a hard stare on the target. The nostrils flare, and the jaw tends toward clenching.  Raising of the arms and adopting a squared-off stance, fists clenching which are preparatory actions for attack and defense. 

I did like the joke I saw in a magazine recently – a women has had a face lift and she is asked how are we going to know if you are angry – she replies I will wave this little red flag!  

When you feel angry, your glands start pumping your blood full of the hormone adrenalin (that chemical again) which typically increases muscle tension, heart rate, and blood pressure.  At the same time, glucose levels rise to give muscles the energy they need for action.  The rush of adrenalin enlarges the pupil of the eye for sharper vision, expands the lungs so they can gulp in extra oxygen, hearing can become quite acute, your face tingles, blood flows to the hands, preparing them to strike and perspiration can increase (particularly when the anger is intense). 

People often feel very energetic when they get angry as the tension builds up, but is then released when you express the anger.  All of this is an entirely normal response and once the mood has calmed, these functions all return to normal, without any long-term health consequences.  

However health risks increase when the body is exposed to these responses regularly. It’s thought to cause wear and tear on the cardiovascular system. The heart is the organ most at risk in someone with an ‘angry’ personality. But the greatest danger is in those who bottle up feelings rather than vent their anger. 

If tension is released in action or words it can bring you release but if you bottle up your feelings, the energy has to go somewhere and it can turn inwards.  Keeping hold of anger can damage relationships with other people, and lower your self-esteem. Or if you hold on to your anger the next time you get angry you may release so much pent-up emotion that you can overreact to a situation. Realising this can lead to feelings of shame or frustration when you reflect on your actions, and to a further repression of your feelings and a risk to your overall health.

Studies have shown that unresolved anger in women tends to cause more symptoms of depression and dwelling on the experience of anger by talking about it with friends and family - while in men, higher rates of hostility often escalate into aggression and experience more rapid decline as they age and often lead to high blood pressure and cardiac problems. People with less control over their anger also tend to heal more slowly and produce more cortisol. 

Cortisol is an important hormone that aids blood pressure regulation, glucose metabolism, and the immune function. When we are faced with danger the rush of adrenaline as part of the fight or flight response can actually boosts our immunity and memory but at the same reduces our sensitivity to pain. It becomes a problem when it is produced excessively and this happens when we allow anger too great a place in our emotional lives.  Excess cortisol can result in dreaded” belly fat”, a condition directly related to health problems such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease.  So anger can even make you fat!

So the release of anger is good for you but because of the surge of energy it creates, it can also be a pleasurable emotion due to the release of feelings of frustration, or if a person's response to your anger gives you a sense of power – letting your anger go in an uncontrolled fashion can lead to a move from verbal aggression to physical abuse and it can become addictive.

 Researchers also suggest that anger may influence your belief about how likely it is that things in the world are threatening. The idea is that if you think the world is more threatening, you might see more threats in your environment than there really are. It is also said that ‘looking back in anger’ at past mistakes could make us less able to withstand pain. Those who dwelt on the bad things in life were more likely to be sensitive to pain than those who live a  life one day at a time. One possible explanation is that negative moods disrupt the circuitry of the brain.

But anger can also be a good emotion as it motivates us to make changes in our lives, and if directed in the right way can help to fight injustice and causing laws to be changed for the better.  This is called Controlled anger and it may help us to continue trying to make effective changes that will reduce or eliminate a problem.  Showing controlled anger during a negotiation may also increase your ability to succeed in negotiations – people can be influenced by angry people.  As with any emotion, the display of anger can also be feigned or exaggerated.

Uncontrolled anger usually escalates a problem not bringing a solution to it and can really hurt others and ourselves causing more feelings of anger and sorrow. After hurting someone else we may feel regret and wish we hadn't done it. Then we feel guilt and begin to dislike ourselves even more. 

A person who is angry also tends to place more blame on another person for their misery. This can create a circular problem, as this extra blame can make the angry person angrier still, so in turn places yet more blame on the other person.  

“Consider how much more you often suffer from your anger and grief, than from those very things for which you are angry and grieved.”  Marcus Antonius

I have already done a lengthy blog about adrenalin, and glucose and the studies behind the chemical reactions to stress that I believe contributed to my diagnosis of breast cancer, and that when life seemed to get on an even keel from some very bad experiences is when received the diagnosis of cancer.  This is not as uncommon as you may think.  So it may be that across so many years and finding myself in some very volatile situations against a very angry and sadistic person, the increased emergency responses to those situations and repressed anger may have turned inward and also contributed to my getting breast cancer?

Depresses, stresses - binding you up in knots that are hard to unpick –  a great need to hit back and say I have been wronged!

As deadly as a garden overgrown with weeds chocking the colourful  wild display of flowers, blotting out the golden rays of sunshine of happiness 
 Ever with you, eternal if not resolved invading your thoughts your dreams and keeps you awake at night tossing and turning exhausted by the light of day

 The hideous ugly face of humanity seeding the soil of hate by relentless anger hissing and spiteful in word and deed

 Words said in haste a knife twisting and striking a speeding feathered arrow hitting its target saying the truth hurts

Anger settling and hardening your love walking a lonely rocky path in a waterless desert lost with nowhere to go

Cautious against yourself, cautious against others unable to trust with the fear of disappointment

Grieving disbelieving a kind of insanity pain for you, pain to others adding to the tears of the universe

Oh hide me away from this curse

The different kinds of anger

Other words for anger - rage, fury, ire, wrath, resentment, indignation:

Rage and fury imply intense, explosive, often destructive emotion:

Ire is a term for anger most frequently encountered in literature:

Wrath applies especially to anger that seeks vengeance or punishment:

Resentment refers to indignant smouldering anger

Indignation is righteous anger at something wrongful, unjust, or evil


Feeding and gnawing at your insides, eating you up tearing away at the fabric of life by the seams that holds you together

Picking and nibbling away in your brain rankling and wriggly like slimy worms - a silent scream within your head

A sledgehammer smashing through a brick wall to find a break at which the toxic poison can be swept through in a tide of emotion

Casting lingering shadows on your happiness, blunting the sharpness of wit - a seeping icy coldness encircling your heart

It gorges and is greedy boiling over like an unattended stew  indignant, exasperating bitter with frustration

Smouldering ashes of a dying fire whipped up by a gust of wind fanning the flame until it rises and rises to a burning crescendo

A slow burn of a wood fire extending more heat from the inside so it hits you as you warm your hands by the flames of the righteousness of your displeasure

A deep-rooted anger generated by a sense of grievance: deep resentment that leads to a strike of a match that lights the fire of destruction.

Oh where is the justice of retaliation

From a sociological point of view apparently there are 12 kinds of anger:
  •  Behavioural Anger – This type of anger usually describes someone who is aggressive towards whatever triggered their anger… this can be another person. This can be someone who always seems to act out, or is troublesome. Sometimes the outcome is physical abuse or attacks against others.
  • Passive Anger – People, who use sarcasm or mockery as a way to hide their feelings, typically express this form of anger. They tend to avoid confrontations with people or situations.
  • Verbal Anger – Anger that’s expressed mostly through words and not actions. Verbal abuse is used to criticize and insult people (put them down) and complain.
  • Constructive Anger – This type of anger is a key factor in driving people to want to join movements and groups. It’s the feeling of being fed up with how things are going, and the need to make a positive change.
  • Self-inflicted Anger – Anger that translates in causing harm to one’s own body. People who use this type of anger are acting out by punishing themselves for something they’ve done wrong.
  • Volatile Anger – This form of anger occurs in varying degrees… it comes and goes. It can just appear out of nowhere, or build into something bigger. It can either explode or go unnoticed. It could even be expressed verbally or physically.
  • Chronic Anger – Ever come across someone that’s seemingly angry for no reason, or mad all the time? More than likely, they were exhibiting this type of anger. People with chronic anger are just mad in general.
  • Judgmental Anger – Putting other people down and making them feel bad about themselves, or abilities, is a form of judgmental anger. This person expresses their feelings by making those around them feel worthless.
  • Overwhelmed Anger – This person relieves stress by shouting, and flying off the handle, when they can’t take situations and things that are happening around them, anymore. When things are just too overwhelming.
  • Retaliatory Anger – This is probably one of the most common, of the bunch. Retaliatory anger usually occurs as a direct response to someone else lashing out at you.
  • Paranoid Anger – This anger comes about when someone feels jealousy towards others, because they feel other people have or want to take what’s rightfully theirs. Or they may act out because they feel intimidated by others.
  • Deliberate Anger – Using anger to gain power over a situation or person. A person expressing this form of anger may not start out angry, but will get angry when something does not turn out the way they wanted. Or, someone doesn’t see eye to eye with something they planned.

I am sure like me you  recognise all the 12 types of the anger above, and I (like you may have) have experienced a form of some of them against me, and I against others. I have the tendency to suppress anger, to walk away from conflict or find the best solution for the best outcome often overlooking my own wants and emotional needs in the process which sometimes can make me angrier.   

About four or five months ago I had such a rush of anger, I said some hurtful things in response to hurtful things that were said to me, and I gushed out my repressed anger.  The release of the anger was such a relief but also caused a lot of damage to relationships in the process.  A part of me is sad and remorseful about this, but a part of me also believes that my anger was justified although could have been handled better and that the bad feelings and hurts on both sides need to be addressed before relationships can be healed.  Whether this will happens or not is another thing entirely.

In the meantime I have to ask myself how have I managed my anger in the past, how should I manage the anger that is inside me now, and how will I manage my anger in the future?   I know that I will become angry again many times in my life ahead so being able to manage it in a more healthy and productive way is important to me.

“Just because something is natural doesn't mean it is good. Fire is natural, but uncontrolled it can damage and destroy. Controlled fire can give us heat and light and can be beautiful to look it. Water is natural and is essential to life. Uncontrolled water can destroy buildings and plants and can drown people. Controlled water can sustain life and allow people, animals and plants to live and to grow. Controlled water allows us to clean ourselves and our surroundings."

Blow your stack, state your case, let go of the lava bubbling and frothing and free yourself from this onerous burden that enslaves and clings to you

Is it easier to hold a grudge, and feel a victim then letting it go like the dead crunchy leaves falling to ground in autumn? 

Do you find it easier to plot revenge, and ways to get back and to turn away, showing disdain in silence?

When did you find it easier to hate than to love and to forgive and feel the calmness of a peaceful loving heart?

Facing up to your anger is a hard step but better to manage it and walk away looking forward with hope and clarity

Better to take off the chains that oppress us put aside childishness and selfishness that taunt us behind every thought

Hold out your hand and offer an olive branch to this pain inside you, and pain to others and stop this madness of anger to cease

Oh Sweet, sweet release

Part III of my next blog deals with managing your anger but in the meantime I came across this prayer called “The Angry People's Control Prayer" – enjoy!

Lord help me to relax about insignificant details
   beginning tomorrow at 7:41:23 am EST

God help me to consider people's feelings,
  even if most of them ARE hypersensitive.

God help me to take responsibility for my own actions,
  even though they're usually NOT my fault.

God, help me to not try to RUN everything.
  But, if You need some help, please feel free to ASK me

Lord, help me to be more laid back,
  and help me to do it EXACTLY right.

God help me to take things more seriously,
  especially laughter, parties, and dancing.

God give me patience,
  and I mean right NOW-

Lord help me not be a perfectionist.
  (Did I spell that correctly?)

God, help me to finish everything I sta

God, help me to keep my mind on
  one th -- Look, a bird -- ing at a time.

God help me to do only what I can, and trust you for the rest.
  And would you mind putting that in writing?

Lord keep me open to others' ideas,
  WRONG though they may be.

Lord help me be less independent,
  but let me do it my way.

Lord help me follow established procedures today.
  On second thought, I'll settle for a few minutes.

Lord, help me slow down