Dan Trathen DMin, PhD Clinical Psychologist & Certified Business & Life Coach

The Art of Biting your Tongue

The other day, as I was eating, I bit my tongue.  It has been awhile since I had done this, but the pain immediately identified the problem.  Did you know that biting your tongue is a developed skill?  I’m not referring to chewing our food, but rather the art of keeping our mouths shut and biting our tongue when we get angry.  When we do, it reminds us to keep our cool when we feel like chewing up someone else.  This art leads us to stop and think which can lead us to slow down our feelings and behaviors. It helps us stay in control of our anger.

Anger feeds on itself and can lead to escalation. The more we escalate the more our body secretes adrenaline. The more adrenaline that is secreted, the more we move into a protective state of flight, flight or freeze. If the reactive choice is to fight we tend to increase our volume, use more inflammatory words and our non-verbal behavior becomes more intense.  When we get to this stage it is hard for our common sense to stop us. We need to consider alternative stopping techniques. This is where the adverse behavior of biting our tongue can be a helpful learned skill. 

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