name just a few, there is the straightforward kind of anger that comes
over us and can lead to beatings, accidents and even murder. Then there
are the forms of anger that we turn against ourselves such as
depression, withdrawal, hopelessness, suicide and suicidal thoughts,
self-sabotage, and catastrophic expectations. In the latter, we set
ourselves up for failure by seeking problems and dwelling upon the
terrible things that might happen to us. Shoshanna states that these
expectations "arise from a loss of faith in oneself, from not being
in touch with one's natural ability to handle situations as they
arise." Some of the
other guises of anger covered here are insults and gossip, judging
others, playing the martyr, and revenge. Shoshanna has some insightful
things to say about anger in the family, in the workplace, at God and at
destiny. The Anger Diet is a resource that can change the way you view
yourself and others. It will enable you to assess the role of this
emotion in your life and help you to give up grudges, blaming others and
playing the victim."
--Spirituality & Health
"Forget food-based diets and think "stress-reduction" as the real way to a healthy, happy life. Psychologist and therapist Brenda Shoshanna, Ph.D., knows that a very important diet has been long overlooked and her book aims to set the record straight. The Anger Diet is a 30-day plan to help reduce stress and get to the root causes of anger.
Why is anger so important to deal with? Because, as the author states, it's a powerful toxin with the ability to affect every aspect of health, and well-being. Anger often goes hand in hand with overwhelming stress, depression, social anxiety, eating disorders, rage, and even suicide. If we don't deal with WHY we are angry, we very well may not be able to control WHEN we are angry, or the damage anger does to our bodies, inside and out.
Using her experience in private practice for more than 25 years, Shoshanna presents the twenty-four forms of anger and how they express their presence in your life. She also talks about how some forms of anger, say suspicion, can escalate into more extreme forms, say paranoia. Each chapter presents tools and exercises you can use to identify the anger and what initially caused it, then work to replace it with more positive, empowering emotions.
The idea behind The Anger Diet is to free the body of the toxic diseases of anger, rage, resentment, depression and even boredom and take the steps to make the changes necessary for a happier, less stressful life.
I found the information in this book to be comprehensive and useful, and I learned so much about my own battles with various forms of anger, many of it related to things that happened during childhood. Because the author is a therapist, she has a wonderful ability to treat the reader like a respected patient, and the tone is never condescending. She also presents plenty of personal cases of patients she worked with and how they overcame the anger issues in their own lives. This is one diet that will leave you empowered as it works to help free you of the habits, addictions and reactions that are associated with anger.
Stress is crippling our society and anger is right there at the top of so much of our emotional stress nowadays, and until we treat the cause, we cannot ever hope to rid ourselves of the symptoms. The Anger Diet is highly recommended for anyone who wants to lose the weight of emotional negativity, disharmony and distress.
And you don't even have to give up chocolate! "
--Bookideas.com (Marie Jones)
"We all could all learn to become a little less angry. Brenda Shoshanna says people need to go on an anger diet just as they diet to lose weight. She suggests taking these steps. Here are three days of her diet:
Day 1: Give up a grudge. Make a list of people you hold grudges against. Write down what each person did to you and how long you've held the grudges. Then write down one thing you liked about each person you have a grudge against. Go over the reasons you developed the grudges and write down one time you behaved that way and what your reason was. Ask yourself what you need to let go of the grudge. Let go of one grudge a day.
Day 2: Judge everyone favorably. Become aware of what you think about people and how you judge people. Are you looking over what they are wearing? How they are standing? Find something positive about that person. Tell the person what you find positive about him or her. Take time to allow this to sink in. Judge yourself favorably as well. Keep a book of praise with things you appreciate, like or feel good about.
Day 3: Don't gossip about anyone. This may seem impossible at first, but tell yourself it's only for a day. Even when you are tempted to say something negative about a person, don't. Try to find meaningful and interesting things to talk about. Don't listen to gossip. Refuse to be insulted. Don't answer back to an insult. Say nothing and breathe deeply. So much harm is created by lashing back.
Source: Brenda Shoshanna and "The Anger Diet: 30 Days to Stress-Free Living," (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $14.95).
Ronya White often holds onto anger, nourishing it with each slight.
"I think I get upset the most when I feel as if my feelings don't matter," says the 25-year-old hair stylist.
That's why if the service isn't great in a restaurant, she abruptly walks out. If a boutique's employees fail to greet her as she arrives, she angrily struts from the premises.
It may not be until several irritations later -- when some unsuspecting person does something minor -- that White erupts, shouting, maybe including an expletive or two.
"I don't handle anger too well," she admits. "When I blow, it's ugly."
Anger is easily detected when it tumbles out like White's outbursts or in the form of a middle finger pointed upward. We can even laugh at anger when it shows up as Detroit Lions fans dressed in the opposing team's colors. Anyone can recognize it at the mall where crazed shoppers trample one another. But Brenda Shoshanna, author of "The Anger Diet: 30 Days to Stress-Free Living" (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $14.95), says anger has become one of the most common and lethal addictions, and one of the least recognized.
"Anger is a serious problem for one in five Americans," says Shoshanna, a psychologist and a relationship expert on ivillage.com. "Road rage, workplace violence, school shootings, domestic abuse and addiction are just a few of its many expressions. The reason such a large number of our nation's citizens are on antidepressants, suffer from alcohol and drug addiction, are overweight, in broken relationships can be directly traced back to the effects of anger."
When people are depressed, feel anxious or suffer mood disorders, they really are angry, she says. Anger also appears as apathy, hopelessness, promiscuity and passive-aggressive behavior, she adds.
Just as people diet to lose weight, they can diet to rid themselves of the anger that eats away at them, Shoshanna says.
Her book details steps for minimizing anger. She suggests, for example, writing down ways anger manifests itself in your life. This simple act begins the process of undoing anger's harmful effects, Shoshanna says.
Over time, "you will no longer be a victim of anger's subtle attacks," she says. "As you stop indulging in the various forms of anger, you will inevitably become happier, healthier, stronger, more creative, more flexible, younger and more fully alive."
Peter Favaro, author of "Anger Management: 6 Critical Steps to a Calmer Life," (New Page Books, $15.99), advises people to stop taking things so personally.
"Don't presume the world was constructed specifically to annoy you," he says. "Stop personalizing everything. That rude cashier isn't just rude to you. She is rude to everybody. If her mother couldn't teach her not to be rude by age 25, how are you going to do it in a five-minute conversation?"
Orlando Fortunato says he worked hard to remind himself not to take things personally recently when he was tempted to lose his cool on the job.
The 31-year-old youth specialist at a Redford Township boys' home took some teens to a nearby library. Soon after their arrival, some other boys became disorderly. A librarian asked all the boys, including those with Fortunato, to leave.
When Fortunato told the librarian his boys weren't being disruptive, he says the librarian threatened to call the police and have him arrested. Fortunato, who is African-American and Italian, believes it was a racially motivated act because all the boys were black.
"I was real upset," he says. "It was blatant discrimination. I understand that kids act a fool, but there were white kids in there doing the same thing. I felt like getting real ugly with the man."
But instead of turning to his old ways of responding with outward anger, Fortunato gathered the boys and left quietly. He later took action by calling the library, seeking an apology.
Favaro says the type of the approach Fortunato took was the right one. Doing otherwise, Favaro says, introduces you to "unnecessary acquaintances."
Holiday shoppers will do well to remember this at the mall, he says. That way, they'll avoid spending a lot of time with someone they'd rather not know.
Such acquaintances are made, for example, when you get into a fight with someone who swiped your parking space. You end up discussing the fight with security guards you'd ordinarily not socialize with, and then you and the other driver end up riding off in the back seat of a squad car -- more time with someone you'd rather not know.
Favaro has more holiday advice for people who tend to anger easily.
"Remember," he says, "these holidays are going to come and go. The people you don't want to see (be they holiday-crazed drivers, shoppers or cashiers), it will be another 360-some days before you'll have to see them again."
Faces of anger
Red faces, screaming, cursing and shouting, are easily recognized signs of anger. But most forms of anger are much more difficult to detect. In her book, "The Anger Diet: 30 Days to Stress-Free Living," New York psychologist Brenda Shoshanna says anger has 24 forms. Here are some of them:
Hypocrisy. You are angry, but hide it beneath a smile, presenting a false persona, pretending to be someone else. You think you are fooling others, but are losing yourself and your own self-respect.
Stealing/taking that which has not been given. You see yourself as being deprived, having less than others and deserving to have what is theirs. Instead of seeing the abundance of life, you envy others' good fortune and seek to undo it.
Lying and deception. Lying and other deceptive ways stem from anger and ill will. We fool others, harm or trick and attempt to create confusion in their lives. This is caused by lack of self respect.
Depression. Depression is anger and rage turned against oneself. It manifests as excessive sleeping, inability to concentrate, difficulty eating, subtly harming self and others, and in other ways. Depression comes from being unable to identify or appropriately express the anger you are feeling.
Withdrawal. Withdrawal, often a part of depression, arises from feeling "not good enough." We withdraw when we feel we don't belong, or feel ashamed or inadequate. Anger causes withdrawal, isolation or joining exclusive groups based on hate or rejection of others.
Passive aggression. Passive aggression is anger expressed not by what we do, but what we don't do. Passive-aggressive people know what other people want and need, but they don't do it. They upset and enrage others, making it seem like the other person is too demanding. It's a way of expressing anger, but not taking responsibility for it while blaming others for the outcome.
Hopelessness.This anger destroys the innate sense of personal power, will, commitment and ability to make a difference in the world. Unrecognized for too long, hopelessness and despair can lead to physical, mental and emotional symptoms. To heal these symptoms, it is helpful to get to the despair a person is feeling and to the anger beneath fueling the sense of impotence.
Suicide and suicidal thoughts. Suicide and suicidal thoughts arise from feelings of hopelessness and despair, and are a direct result of anger. A deep rage lies beneath the act of the thoughts of it. Suicide becomes a way to get revenge on those who have hurt us, and also to get control over one's life and body.
Burnout. As people become exhausted and depleted by jobs or relationships, it becomes difficult to experience enthusiasm, pleasure or the will to go on. A rest, break or renewal may help, but recognizing that burnout is unacknowledged anger springing from frustration and insufficient rewards will help get to the root.
Self-sabotage. When things are going too well at work or in relationships, many people sabotage themselves in subtle and unconscious ways. They stop their good from coming in, forget to take important actions required for projects and say things they do not mean. This is unintended and arises from the deeper feeling they don't deserve to succeed. They punish themselves due to anger within.
Low self--esteem. When we see self-sabotage, we also see low self-esteem. This is a lack of love, caring and respect directed against the self. The low self-esteem is the result of anger.
News, Wednesday, December 21, 2005
appeared in The Indianapolis Star)
Shoshanna's words are wonderful!"
powerful, potentially life-changing book.”
–Body & Soul
"This is relationship, samurai style, as we are systematically
led along the path from "becoming available" to "meeting
the beloved."...Shoshanna studied with the zen masters Soen
Nakagawa Roshi and Eido Shimano Roshi; the rigor of traditional monastic
training shines through the spare language and format.
Aspects of Zen training that can be controversial or confounding
are presented matter-of-factly....The reader can just follow the
"Steppingstones to Love" in each chapter--small actions that,
like consistent meditation practice, lead incrementally to awareness.
For those with love issues--isn't that most of us, at one time or
another?--Shoshanna holds out the redemptive possibilities of
(on Zen and the Art of Falling in Love)
searching for broader meaning will revel in her ability to weave
together the basic tenets of relationship psychology with the
self-realization techniques of Zen practice. Nor is Shoshanna's advice
limited to affairs of the heart; much of her counsel-to be open, loving
and full of faith-feels relevant to all aspects of life."
some good, solid advice here that just might help the lovelorn break
some of their destructive patterns and connect the dots as to why true
love is always passing them by."
--St. Petersburg Times
"Falling in love doesn't mean being blind or entering into
fantasy," says Brenda Shoshanna, author of Zen and the Art of
Falling in Love. "It means waking up out of darkened dreams to
finally see the beauty that surrounds us." Sounds good."
--Chicago Sun Times
"Shoshanna extends an
empty and richly filled hand, offering both the sublime and the
practical, which are one and the same in the Zen world. This is a highly
recommended volume for beginners and new practitioners who are coming to
the truth that "to find the answers to your life questions, you
must look within. Nothing less will do. Nothing more is needed."'
Weekly [for Zen Miracles]
Shoshanna challenges us to let go of fantasies, expectations, fears and
anticipation so we can be fully present to life. Her wisdom is genuine
and deeply considered. Her book is well worth reading.”
--Spiritual Parenting [for
you are looking for a way to have happiness and still live in this
world, you have come to the right book. Rarely do eloquent prose, gems
of quotes, simple wisdom, and practical exercises come in one book: Zen
Miracles offers all of these and more. Whatever your spiritual
orientation, this is a book you will refer to for years to come."
--Lee Jampolsky, Ph.D.
author of Healing Together, Healing the Addictive Mind, and The Art
wonderful book brings East and West – and ancient and modern worlds
– together and provides profound wisdom and guidance for anyone
struggling with stress, anxiety, anger, fear or loneliness. Beautifully
written, funny, warm and filled with unusual, wonderful exercises. A
--Rabbi Gary Moskowitz
Director of the Institute for Violence Prevention
healing journey into the inner conflicts and contradictions that
separate spirit from self."
the DiMele Center for Psychotherapy
Brenda Shoshanna is a versatile, creative, warm and truly excellent
--Rabbi Joseph Gelberman
founder of the Interfaith Seminary and Director of the All Faith
Miracles is a book that is invaluable for anyone seeking to bring a
profound, yet genuinely joyous experience to life. Brenda Shoshanna
explores the spiritual and therapeutic aspects of Zen practice in a way
that is acceptable to anyone no matter what their faith, philosophy or
religious beliefs. With her warm and compassionate style she exhibits
the unique ability to explain even the most difficult ideas in
understandable terms. Her approach is readily accessible and applicable
to even the most mundane of activities. This book is a must for anyone
seeking the secrets for attaining a balanced life and true peace of
Director of the Academy of Natural Healing
Miracles is an inviting and inspiring message for those looking for a
more simple and powerful way to enhance their lives and for those who
want to integrate a practical way of peace in today's distorted and
increasingly violent world."
“Shoshanna extends an empty and richly filled hand, offering both the sublime and the practical,” Publishers Weekly once noted of Brenda Shoshanna, Ph.D. Now Shoshanna unites the sublime and the practical once again, this time to show us how to rid ourselves of anger, and how to become immune to its effects, in a new 30-day program called The Anger Diet.
Road rage, school shootings, workplace violence, domestic abuse, drug addiction, and even the national obesity epidemic are manifestations of an overarching problem gripping our society: anger.
Other books about anger are on the market, but this is the first and only “diet” from anger: a practical, step-by-step 30-day program designed to help readers cleanse their lives of the toxic effects of anger. As Dr. Shoshanna points out, “It is one thing to have an intellectual understanding of what is harmful. It is something else to know how to actually get rid of anger in your life.” The Anger Diet is the book that bridges the gap between intellectual understanding and practical action.
The practical actions correspond to the twenty-four forms of anger, many of which are hidden; each form is identified and addressed in its own chapter. Each day we give up one form of anger and are given a replacement for it. One chapter per day, one day at a time, readers will learn how to loosen anger’s hold on their lives and gain greater happiness, health, and peace.
Dr. Shoshanna is in a unique position to write this book. As both a psychologist and long term zen practitioner, she is
author of many critically-acclaimed books, including Zen and the Art of Falling in Love, Zen Miracles, Why Men Leave and
What he Can’t Tell You, her books offering both psychological
authority and a profound outlook from a spiritual point of view.
She has received good reviews from Tricycle,
Publishers Weekly, Body & Soul and others, and has won the NABE
Award for the Best Book of the Year in the Category of Health.
Her books have been translated into 11 languages, and she appears
frequently on national television (CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC), in national
print (Cosmopolitan, Mademoiselle,
Allure), and in major venues online (she is currently the
Relationship Expert on iVillage.com and an instructor on Barnes &