Dr. Brenda Shoshanna is a psychologist and longtime Zen practitioner whose previous books include Zen and the Art of Falling in Love and Zen Miracles. In this well-organized and thoroughly practical paperback, she examines the widespread problem of anger.
This emotion is a serious problem for one in every five Americans and it can result in serious social manifestations such as road rage, workplace violence, school shootings, domestic abuse and addiction. In her thirty day program, Shoshanna outlines and deals with 24 different forms of anger that can be replaced with healthy and constructive responses. The goal here is to eliminate toxicity from our systems that result from being in the grip of this volatile emotion. The exercises and tips in each chapter are supplemented by a "Review and Repair" chapter following every five days which puts things in perspective. Ultimately, Shoshanna sees this anger diet as a way of making it possible for love and forgiveness to reign in our lives.
The author has done us all a service by delineating the various types of anger that spell out our days and diminish our lives. To 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.