Fighting Anger with Mindfulness

Have you ever been told that anger has become a problem for you? Perhaps your significant other has mentioned it. Or someone at work or school brought up the subject. Have you been aware that the anger within you is often seen by others and has become a concern to them?

Do you think that sometimes your anger feels like it takes over your life for short periods – maybe longer? Does the feeling sap your energy and distract your mental abilities? Or does your anger actually energize you and help you get what you want, even push you to your objective? Possibly only afterward do you realize the harm your anger has caused someone.

Are You Sometimes Unaware of Your Anger?

The nature of anger and the nature of life are such that sometimes you are aware of your anger and what caused it. You know that you are angry and you know how you express it. Other times you are not aware that you are angry, much less why or even if it affects anyone else.

Wouldn’t it be helpful and worthwhile if you could live your life in a way that acknowledges and accepts the experience of your angry feelings without the harmful side effects of your angry outbursts controlling you? That would be an important change in your life. If your anger was less intense and manageable you might not feel so isolated or worry how it might have harmed others.

Change Your Awareness with Mindfulness

A simple change in your awareness can correct much of your angry behavior. Opening up your capacity for awareness through the practice of mindfulness is something you already do – sometimes.

Let’s expand that ability. When you are mindful, you are aware of what is happening right now, in this moment, without judging or getting lost in your own thoughts, or tangents of how you are going to fix anything. Mindfulness doesn’t solve problems or fix anything. It simply notices what is happening in the moment, without judging anything.

Just as you use your mind to become angry, thereby causing feelings, emotions and body sensations, you can use your mind to become mindful, to be less angry and critical. Instead you can become more positive, kind, joyful and compassionate. Being mindful is having the ability to see that you are angry and, understanding the harmful effects those angry feelings have on your health, relationships and chances for success and happinesss.

You’re Already Doing it

In many ways you already practice mindfulness on a daily basis without knowing it. When you are out walking and you notice a bird sitting in a tree chirping, when you see a beautiful flower in a garden, or notice puffy white clouds against a blue sky – in that very moment when you first notice these things, before you have a chance to form a thought, that instant is the moment of mindfulness. When you take a sip of water, that instant when you become aware that the water is cooler than your tongue, before you think about it, that is the moment of mindfulness.

The sensation of the water temperature, the sight and sound of the chirping bird, and the calming effect of the puffy clouds are all called the “being.” The being then causes a thought, or an action, like a smile perhaps, is the “doing.” Therefore “being” informs or causes “doing.”

Mindful Breathing

One of the nicest things about mindfulness is that you don’t have to do anything or run out and purchase essentials before you can get started. That’s because you already have everything you need. You have your wonderful mind, and all your wonderful senses. All that’s left is for you to take a slow, deep mindful breath. Feel your lungs and chest expand as you breathe, pause for a second then exhale slowly. This focus of your attention on your breathing is an essential part of practicing mindful breathing. By simply focusing on your breathing you’re training yourself to live mindfully.

While you are taking long, slow, and deep breaths, you can say to yourself: “I am now practicing mindfulness.” Or you could say to yourself: “I am focusing my attention on my breathing and discovering what it is like to be mindful.”

This same awareness is applied to your feelings of anger. Just as other feelings, emotions and physical sensations come and go, anger is also a temporary condition. All thoughts, feelings, emotions and physical sensations are temporary. You can’t grab onto them and keep them. The same applies to anger. All of these experiences are constantly changing and are separate from you and therefore they are not you, therefore anger is not you.

We Are Not Our Thoughts

So approach your anger in the same way as your mindful breathing. Build a mindful relationship with your anger rather than surrendering to it or believing that you are a victim of it. Instead, turn your attention and curiosity toward the experience of your anger. Learn what caused it, how it affects your mind. Think about the physical sensations it causes within your body. When you can turn anger around in your mind to view it from different angles you will gain a true understanding of your anger and thus the skill to stop it from upsetting you.

Practicing mindfulness will help you to be in the present. No matter what thought or experience occurs you will know that it is happening in the present. With mindfulness, everything happens in the present moment. “Everything” includes your thoughts. With mindfulness we know that our mind has a life of its own. Our thoughts, feelings and perceptions are not us. They are separate, therefore we are not our thoughts. We can just let them float by and choose not to act on them. By practicing mindfulness you are on your way to wiser possibilities and living a richer and more stress-free life.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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