Feeling anger is completely normal, it’s an emotion stirred up from a feeling of unjustness and frustration. If you’re constantly feeling angry it may be time to for some self evaluation. If you’re struggling with anger and angry responses that cause you even more trouble, mindfulness can help you to control those responses. It’s important to understand how anger develops and what you can do to go from reacting to responding.
Anger: The Powerful Emotion
Anger is an emotion that comes with a lot of power. Imagine a situation in which your spouse says something that is hurtful to you. To explain to her that you are feeling pain from those words can make you very vulnerable and can cause you to be afraid of feeling even more pain. But to explode with anger can help you to feel strong and powerful in that moment. It can actually feel good as adrenaline courses through your body.
That is….until you realize that you’ve said or done terrible things in a heated reaction. And then it’s impossible to take back those words or deeds leaving you to feel worse than you did before.
Anger is typically a response to painful emotions that we don’t really want to experience. Rather than opening up and feeling vulnerable, we use angry reactions as a way to cope and protect ourselves. In fact, many people don’t even realize the feelings behind the anger. And for many people, this has been a way to stay safe until it begins to actually compound problems.
Mindfulness can help us to become aware of our thoughts and feelings before they become so overwhelming that they lead to angry reactions.
The first step toward dealing with anger is to recognize it. Mindfulness can help us to understand what we feel physically, what thoughts we have, and how we feel emotionally around angry reactions. For example, you may begin to notice that your thoughts become irrational as anger builds or that you start to feel your blood pressure increase. Just recognizing anger in its early stages can be very beneficial.
Second, now that you recognize anger you can allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling. You don’t need to judge your anger or try to take it away. But you may be able to keep analyzing your thoughts and feelings and uncover the roots of your anger.
Third, breathing can help you to come back to your body and keep you from lashing out reactively. Taking a moment to pay attention to your breath and even taking just one minute to breathe deeply and begin to feel aware of your anger. You can even talk to your anger and acknowledge that is there.
Connect with your senses. Often with anger we feel “outside” of our bodies and our control. Paying attention to what you see, what you feel, what you smell, and what you hear can take you back to your body and to the present.
Being mindful of your thoughts can help you to notice patterns. Over time that will allow you to acknowledge feelings before the sensation of anger takes over. You may also find that practicing taking mindful moments daily can reprogram your mind away from anger.