Have you ever felt like slapping anybody who told you to try meditation for your anger issues?
I mean come on, at a time when all you want to do is to shout your lungs out, you hardly care about counting breaths, right?
But actually, the problem is most people have a fairly misplaced idea about using meditation for anger release.
You do not have to divert your attention and focus on your breath.
You do not have to force yourself into thinking happy thoughts.
You do not have to shout at any next person you meet to vent out your anger.
So, what should you do to control your anger?
Before that, you first need to understand anger.
Demystifying Anger Management- What Society Gets Wrong
From childhood, you have often been told to control your anger and be a good person. Apart from occasional emotional outbursts, many learn to suppress their rage inside due to this mental conditioning.
While some of you may express it verbally and get rid of your steam, you do feel guilty afterward and may begin to look for anger management techniques.
These techniques often involve counting to 10, focussing on your breath, or trying to think pleasant thoughts.
None of these work in long term.
The key to successful anger management lies in the understanding that anger is a natural human emotion and part of human experience. You do not have to fight it or feel guilty to have it.
Let me ask you a question.
When do you get angry? Or to be precise, how do you get angry?
When someone behaves with you rudely. When someone says something with which you do not agree. When someone reminds you of uncomfortable memories or emotions. Right?
So, how do you react or get angry?
You feel like a molten lava rising from the inside of your stomach and before you know it, you are angry.
There is this uncomfortable feeling that makes you react in a certain way whenever you get angry.
When you look at it closely, there is a particular sequence involved:
Trigger (person, situation) -> a weird, uncomfortable, sometimes violent feeling -> anger
That’s how most emotional pathways develop over time.
Soon, the transition from the trigger to anger phase happens subconsciously & you become angry almost instantaneously.
Yes, you may be able to control the anger temporarily but it builds up in your emotional system ready to get erupted at any time.
More dangerous is the subtle mental effect of this suppression that often leads to diseases such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, and so on.
So, how to control anger with meditation?
You don’t control it.
For proper anger management through meditation, you never try to control the anger but feel it in its entirety.
Let yourself feel the anger, get curious about it, invite it as your friend.
Understand that anger, just like any other emotion you feel, is emotion.
Feel. That is the key word here you must focus on.
You feel anger. You are not angry.
You may think that these two are different ways to say the same thing. But there is a subtle difference.
When you say I am angry, you personalize the emotion and identify it as a part of your true nature.
However, when you say, I feel angry, there is a subtle shift and you are detached with the emotion.
When you do that, you begin to realize that emotions come and go in your consciousness.
But they are not who you are. They do not define you.
The real you is the observer who is aware of these emotions arising in your consciousness.
And that is what you call being mindful of your emotions or using mindfulness to deal with anger or any other emotion.
This is what you call doing meditation for anger as you depersonalize from the emotion and able to observe it in a detached manner.
When you begin to be mindful of your anger as an emotion, you see it as a natural human reaction
I understand how hard it is to control your anger particularly when you have been a fairly short-tempered person for most of your life.
Yes, you may have felt guilty after an angry outburst. But that hardly helps you next time when you’re about to turn into Hulk. People may even think, you’re always angry!
But when you begin to practice mindfulness while being angry, you can slowly begin to untie all knots associated with the emotion of anger.
Yes, it is not easy to do this. But with time and practice, you can do this.
Triggers will always be there but you’d realize that you have a power to choose and feel your emotions without getting attached to them.
This way you can calmly handle the situation without reacting in an aggressive manner.
Simple Anger Management Technique of Mindfulness
Next time when you catch yourself agitated and angry, take a brief pause and mindfully take 2-3 breaths.
Then, feel the emotion of anger in your physical body.
Where do you feel it rising? Is it that subtle knot in your stomach or rise in your heartbeat, or just an uncomfortable feeling in your chest?
Observe it without getting attached to it.
Keep breathing mindfully and stay with those feelings as long as you can.
When you do this exercise, you’ll immediately feel a change as you interrupt your habitual reaction to your usual triggers.
Soon you’ll realize managing anger is no longer a problem and you can deal with it easily with meditating upon it!
In the beginning, it may take time but with practice, you can do this almost instantaneously whenever you are confronted in a heated situation. You can respond with calm and poise and will no longer need to respond aggressively.
Summing it up:
Anger is one of the most destructive emotions you can hold onto your psyche. In Buddhism, it is one of the three poisons.
However, you don’t have to hate it or suppress it or feel guilty about having it. Understand that it is just an emotion you feel and not who you are.
And emotions come and go through your consciousness like waves. You can stay open to them and observe them without getting personally involved with them.
This is the ultimate meditation for anger you can do to get free from it forever!
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