Feelings of anger may build slowly when small resentments pile up or they can come on quickly before you even realize it. Anger will come up in situations where we feel frustrated or powerless, where we feel we’re being treated unfairly or not receiving the respect we deserve.
As caregivers there can be plenty of frustrating situations during the day, even in just a morning. Sometimes caring for both of my parents seems to double my opportunities. I mean, I’m only one person and who can juggle so many balls at once!
I have a daily pain point that can get my blood boiling in a minute: preparing supper. Here’s the scene. We live in a house built in the 50s, so it is very compartmentalized with the kitchen being at the front of the house, and the room that my parents hang out in at the rear. My Dad’s dementia has him calling out for food every couple minutes. Chants of “Did you forget me?”, “Where are you coming from, China?”, and “C’mon, gimme something to eat!” are swirling through the air, while I’m performing my short-order cook activities on the opposite end of the house. Even though my Mom is sitting right next to him, with her breathing issues and easy propensity for developing chest pains when elevating her voice for my hard-of-hearing Dad, she can no longer run interference and respond to him. Cue me, running back and forth and back and forth and back and forth…. Hello frustration.
In moments like this, I use a little Japanese self-care tool I was introduced to about a year ago. It’s called Jin Shin Jyutsu, and it is an ancient oriental art of harmonizing life energy within the body.
It is one of the simplest things to do! You only need both of your hands to carry it out. I have found it has an immediate and profound impact when I am in the throes of anger or frustration. This ancient technique employs something called acupressure.
Acupressure is essentially a method of sending a signal to the body (by needle or other means) to “turn on” its own self-healing or regulatory mechanisms. Normally, Qi (vital energy) circulates through natural pathways in the body called meridians. Each of the fingers on our hand represents a different emotion or feeling. The middle finger deals specifically with anger and frustration. (Yeah, the irony of that didn’t go unnoticed by me either – LOL!)
The goal is to balance the opposing energy force in your body. It’s simple:
When feeling frustration or anger, simply grasp the middle finger of the left hand and wrap all of the fingers of your right hand around it.
Lightly hold the finger for one to two minutes. As you hold the finger, take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for a count of 4, and exhale through your mouth. In a bit, you should be able to feel your pulse. It is at this point that you may notice a shift in the intensity of the emotion coursing through your body. Release the hold, and apply the same technique to the other hand. Do this as often as you feel you need to, but within just 5 minutes you should feel much calmer than you had before!
Simple, right?! I’ve found that when I practice this technique often (even when I’m not feeling serious anger or frustration), I feel more balanced and better able to deal with the daily stress of being a caregiver (X2!) more effectively. That’s good for me, and my parents!
I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know how it works for you in the comments!