Workdays are tiring. You sit through rough meetings, busy schedules, and hectic deadlines. But, at the end of the day, you return home only to get your peace of mind and relax after a tiring day. However, as you set foot inside the house, you realize that your partner, who promised to clean up the dishes because you cooked, hasn't kept their word. Dishes are still piled up in the kitchen sink, clothes are still scattered around the room, and your partner just informed you they would come back late from work.
What is your first reaction? Anger? Disappointment? Frustration? Or possibly, all of them. You are likely so frustrated that you give them a call in your state of rage, telling them things that you know you would end up regretting later.
As Lawrence Douglas Wilder says, Anger does not solve anything. It builds nothing but it can destroy everything.
How often do you say something in sheer rage and anger and then regret it a minute later?
Oh! I should not have said that, it is the constant chime that is infiltrating your mind. But the thing with anger is that you feel like you are experiencing such a frustrating episode where blowing up seems like a logical course of action.
However, once you have blown up, the next line of emotions is feeling stupid. Anger (preferably the high-pitched screaming and shouting) momentarily lowers your intelligence level, making you regret the outburst the next moment.
Practicing mindfulness can effectively help you manage and cool down the unwanted and unhealthy anger that is bubbling inside your mind. Having a healthy outlet for anger enables people to practice things in a controlled manner.
In this article, we will explore how to control your anger using mindfulness and why you should consider it as a tool for anger management.
How to Use Mindfulness to Control Anger?
Mindfulness is defined as the state of being conscious or aware of things surrounding a person.
But, how does mindfulness correlate with anger management?
Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames – Thich Nhat Hanh in their novel expresses anger as a way of letting our inner self know that something needs to be taken care of.
Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes, is what Thich Nhat Hanh writes in one of the chapters in the book.
And, it makes you realize that what we feel is what we experience. So, when you are feeling angry, you suffer.
Even when you are angry, you know deep within yourself that logically it is better if you calm down, and resolve the conflict in a calm setting instead of lashing out and regretting it later.
Here’s how mindfulness can help keep your anger in check:
1. Observe the physical symptoms
Feelings of rage and anger precede physical symptoms. You are most likely not going to just burst out in anger without having those negative emotions building up within you.
This is where you need to conduct an intervention. Identify each and every sign of anger – rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, a heavy feeling in the stomach. These are some of the early signs of the anger building within you.
You will likely feel irritation and frustration building up within you; a constant urge to ball your fists so you don’t lose it in the moment.
However, the positive thing about identifying the early signs of anger is that it allows you to assess and rationalize your feelings before you end up acting on your anger and regretting it later.
2. Take a Deep Breath
Anger is like a howling baby, suffering and crying. The baby needs his mother to embrace him. You are the mother for your baby, your anger. The moment you begin to practice breathing mindfully in and out, you have the energy of a mother, to cradle and embrace the baby. Just embracing your anger, just breathing in and breathing out, that is good enough. The baby will feel relief right away, says Thich Nhat Hanh.
When you feel angry, breathe into the physical sensations of your body. Our anger is sometimes very sporadic and short-lived. What this does is that it doesn’t leave us enough time to contemplate on our feelings and why we are feeling angry at the moment.
Breathing mindfully at the moment acts as a buffer between the onset of anger and the outburst. It allows you to calm your mind, and tame your physical symptoms of anger.
All you need to do is close your eyes, relocate the focus of your mind to something positive and practice deep breathing through your belly. As you breathe in and breathe out, feel every last remnant strain of your anger seeping out of your body.