Meditation for anger
Anger is a universal emotion. We might get angry over all kinds of things: maybe the waiter brought you the wrong order of fries, maybe someone stepped on your brand new jays, and so on. Sometimes anger makes us do things that we end up regretting. Hence, it is essential to learn how to control our anger; meditation for anger management is one of the most effective ways.
I know you are wondering how one can use meditation techniques for anger management. Well, you have come to the right place as, by the end of this read, you will be able to see how to use guided meditation for anger control. But before we get there, we need to know all the essential information about anger and meditation.
What is anger?
According to the American Psychological Association, anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage (4). The mild state of anger is usually not harmful, as we all go through it almost every week. Anger becomes a problem when it is in a state of fury and rage. This is because it can cause physical harm, among other things.
Anger can also be defined as a natural response to perceived threats (2). This explains why, when someone is angry, adrenaline is released to the body, muscles tighten, and the heart rate increases along with blood pressure. This is the defense mechanism of the body towards the threat.
What causes anger?
Many things can cause one to be angry. Every individual reacts to different things differently. This means that some things might make someone angry while not having the same effect as you and vice versa. In line with this, some common factors can cause anger to a majority of individuals (3). Such factors include:
- Situations where one feels attacked (5)
- Instances that can make someone feel powerless (5)
- Disrespectful situations (5)
- Financial problems
- Mental disorders like depression
What are the different types of anger?
Sometimes it is difficult to know if one is really angry or not as there are different types of anger (3). It is important to know the different types of anger as they help identify the problem and the best way to deal with it. The different types of anger are:
1. Chronic Anger
According to Betterhelp, chronic anger is a state where every aspect of a person is dominated by anger (11). This is in their interactions with other people, their behaviors, and even their thoughts. An individual suffers from this type of anger for a long period. This is to say that chronic anger does not come and go, but stays with a person for a long time. If you notice you are always angry, you should consult an expert as this is one of the symptoms of chronic anger. It can also have some physical effects on an individual if left untreated or unmanaged.
2. Passive Anger
This type of anger is not easily noticeable. People with this type of anger usually express this through sarcasm, apathy, and meanness. Some of the symptoms include; distancing yourself from people, poor performance in school and at work, and general bitterness.
3. Aggressive Anger
Unlike passive anger, aggressive anger is quite noticeable. It involves a lot of violence which can be physical or verbal. Most people with this type of anger are advised to find out what triggers their sudden outbursts, so that they may be able to avoid them and, in the long run, also be able to manage their anger (8).
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The Effects of Anger
Anger can be harmful to an individual. Some of the health effects of anger are (1):
- It can cause chronic diseases such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, and strokes.
- Anger can cause regular headaches.
- It can also cause skin related diseases like acne.
- Anger also causes increased anxiety in individuals.
- It can cause sleep deprivation and insomnia.
- Anger is also known to cause depression.
What is meditation?
Meditation can be defined as a practice wherein a person uses techniques such as mindfulness or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear, emotionally calm and stable state. It can also be said to be the act of focusing on only one thing. Meditation is usually used by most individuals to relax and to reduce stress (9).
What are the different types of meditation?
The different types of meditation are:
It involves being mindful, just as the name suggests. Having an increased awareness of what is around you and living in the moment. The aim is to focus on the things that are happening and concentrate on things such as your thoughts, your emotions, and your breathing.
This type of mediation entails the repetition of a certain word, a sentence, or a phrase, over and over again to prevent distracting thoughts.
This type of meditation is also referred to as visualization or guided imagery meditation. It requires you to form a mental picture of a place or a situation you may find relaxing while trying to use all of your senses or as many of your senses as you can. Senses such as smell, sight, hearing, and feeling.
The objective of this type of meditation is to repeat a self-assigned mantra in a certain way. It allows your body to settle into a state of profound rest as your mind tries to achieve a state of inner peace.
It needs you to perform a series of self-paced postures and movements in a slow, graceful manner while breathing deeply.
Yoga aims to achieve body flexibility and a calm state of mind.
This is a combination of many concepts. It brings together meditation, relaxation, physical movement, and breathing exercises, all intending to restore and maintain balance.
What are the elements of meditation?
Different types of meditation require different factors for one to achieve what they are looking for. For example, Yoga and Tai Chi, require a lot more space because of the movement involved compared to a guided meditation or mantra meditation. Although there are such differences, some elements cut across the board. Such elements of meditation are:
Having an open and positive attitude
Germany Kent once said, “Positive thinking is powerful thinking. If you want happiness, fulfillment, success, and inner peace, start thinking you have the power to achieve those things. Focus on the bright side of life and expect positive results”. Most battles are won in the mind. Before you start to meditate, believe that you will achieve what you are looking for. If it is a sane state of mind, believe you will achieve that and also believe in the power of meditating to help you achieve this.
A quiet surrounding
This goes without saying; you can’t meditate in a place where there are distractions. This includes a lot of people around you, noise, and the likes. Look for a quiet place where you can hear your thoughts as well as your breathing. This helps make the meditation process successful.
A comfortable position
Look for a comfortable position when you want to meditate. You don’t want to be in a position where you will need to move in between your meditation process and, hence, start all over again. Meditation does not need distractions even from oneself.
The breathing that is required during meditation is breathing that involves the whole body. You need to take long, heavy breaths. You need to pace your breathing and make it slow. Feel the oxygen moving through your entire respiratory system and feel it entering your nose and making its way through your trachea, all the way to your lungs.
You need to focus on a certain aspect
The main aim of meditating is to free your mind from many distractions to achieve relaxation. Focus on a certain moment, place, or even situation, and try as much as possible from being distracted by other thoughts.
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What may hinder one from successfully meditating?
Although meditating may seem like an easy activity, some factors can make it hard or unsuccessful (6). Here are a few of the said factors:
This is usually very common in beginners. You first think you are doing it all wrong and feel as if you are not observing the effects of it. When this happens, you should not beat yourself and try as much as possible to enter a state of relaxation.
Not so many people can stay in such a relaxed state without getting sleepy or dozing off. This may be due to fatigue or because most of the time you are usually this relaxed right before you sleep, and your body is conditioned that way. To avoid sleeping, try meditating with your eyes open while maintaining an upright posture; you can also try to walk around.
This is mostly on your legs or back after a long period of sitting in the same position. If this happens, you can change your posture and position.
Some of our minds are not the safest place. Sometimes when meditating, you may find yourself wandering off to unpleasant thoughts and situations. If this occurs, take a deep breath and try to return your mind to your initial point of focus.
Benefits of Meditation
Most people find it hard to do something unless it benefits them. Meditation has many benefits to an individual (7). Some of these benefits are:
- It reduces stress.
- Meditation increases calmness and clarity.
- It helps achieve happiness.
- Meditation helps one know themselves better.
- It helps one to focus on the present and live at the moment.
- Meditation also helps reduce negative thoughts and emotions.
- It helps increase one’s creativity and imagination.
- Meditation helps increase patience and tolerance in an individual as well.
- It helps manage medical conditions such as asthma, anxiety, insomnia, among others.
Mindfulness Meditation for Anger Management
Can one use chakra meditation for anger control?
A study by Psychology Today shows that a single session of meditation can help reduce an individual’s response to anger. This does not only apply to people who have been meditating for long, but also beginners (10).
The researchers took a group of people who had never meditated or were new to meditation and another group of experienced meditators. They then exposed them to situations that may cause them to get angry and measured all the physical responses related to anger. These include blood pressure, breathing rate, and heart rate.
Anger raised the physical responses of the people who were new to meditation. This means they had an increased heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. They were then told to meditate for only 20 minutes before going through situations that would make them angry again.
After meditation, the results were different. The people exhibited more relaxed and calmer physical responses to anger. They almost had normal heart rates, breathing rates, and blood pressure. These results were only after 20 minutes of meditation.
The experienced meditators did not have very different physical responses to anger before and after meditating. Their heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate remained the same for both exposures to anger stimuli.
Meditation helps us become more aware of our feelings and be able to control them.
The Bottom Line
Meditation for anger is an effective way of dealing with anger and other stressful situations. Repeated and consistent meditation enhances our ability to cope with negative emotions like anger.
Incase meditation does not work; you are advised to see an expert as the type of anger you experience, or are experiencing, might require professional help.
How to do meditation for anger management
You can try these easy steps to perform meditation for anger management (10):
- Find a comfortable position to sit.
- You can choose to close your eyes or not to.
- Rest your hands on your thighs.
- Focus on the area with a few fingers below your belly button.
- Breathe smoothly and slowly, counting each inhales and exhales from one to ten, and when you get to ten, count back to one.
- Let your thoughts come and go. Do not focus on any particular thought.
- If a particular thought interrupts your counting, focus on your breathing, and start counting again.
- Do this for about twenty minutes.
Check out our guided meditation videos to reconnect with the stillness inside you.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this
- Anger – how it affects people (n.d., betterhealth.vic.gov.au )
- Anger management: Your questions answered (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Anger Symptoms, Causes and Effects (n.d., psychguides.com)
- Controlling anger before it controls you ( 2005, apa.org)
- How to cope with anger (n.d., mind.org.uk )
- How to Meditate (n.d., nytimes.com )
- Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress (2020, mayoclinic.org )
- Meditation for Anger (n.d., headspace.com)
- Meditation: In Depth (n.d., nccih.nih.gov )
- New Study Shows Brief Meditation Can Reduce Anger ( 2016, psychologytoday.com )
- What Chronic Anger Is And How To Manage It (2020, betterhelp.com)