When you’re feeling aggressive, in a temper, and can’t seem to manage your rage, it’s time to start using meditation for anger and frustration. Meditative exercises like mindfulness can change your mindset from hot-headed to calm and composed, so you stop your angry outbursts. [READ: controlling your emotions by meditating].
Many people are struggling to control anger. The Mental Health Organization Boiling Point recently researched the current state of emotions like anger and frustration and found that 32% of people say a close relative or friend has anger-management issues.
Not only do we struggle to manage our frustrations and annoyances, but they also cause health problems.
It is quite alarming what anger does to the body. People who are constantly angry and frustrated have too high levels of cortisol, and strained nervous systems. According to Better Health Channel, the physiological reaction to our rage can cause serious complications, including:
- High blood pressure
- Skin disorders
- Substance abuse.
- Eating disorders
- Digestion problems
- Immune system dysfunction
- Eating disorders
- Loss of self-esteem
There are many different ways to use meditation for anger. Practices such as mindfulness can help stop agitation, annoyance, frustration and other emotions, and more importantly, they can give you a better understanding and appreciation for the full range of human emotion. Of course meditation isn’t the only solution, there is also relaxation techniques, behavioral therapy, ADHD medications, anger management classes, and support groups.
But for my money, one of the best options is to use meditation for anger and frustration. I’ve seen from my online meditation lessons how meditation can transform anger to calmness.
One of the best things about meditating on these emotions is that it teaches us to accept negative emotions, like frustration, as a healthy way of life. When you look at your feelings through the lens of mindfulness, anger is just an energy. The problem occurs when you become attached to rage and when you react to it.
With mindfulness, you learn to appreciate the full gamut of human emotions and to accept the fulness of the human experience. That’s why, although you can use meditation to control anger, you should never try to stop negative emotions altogether. Instead, the key is an enlightened acceptance of psychological phenomena.
Use the anger meditation scripts below to learn to manage anger in an enlightened way.
7 Types Of Meditation For Anger And Frustration
For complete scripts to these meditations, refer to our main menu.
1: Buddhist Meditation For Anger
If you are approaching anger with Buddhist meditations the trick is to observe and study the mind. This quality of scientifically investigating the mind is at the heart of Buddhism and is practised though techniques like Samatha and Vipassana.
One of the main reasons why meditation helps with mood is because it educates us about the mind and the nature of emotions. According to Buddhist wisdom, anger is one of the three poisons that cause rebirth. The other two poisons are ignorance and greed (ignorance is the worst).
As Tibetologist Jeffrey Hopkins states, “Ignorance is the conception or assumption that phenomena exist in a far more concrete way than they do. [This leads] the person to be drawn into afflictive desire and hatred [i.e. attachment and aversion]… Not knowing the real nature of phenomena, we are driven to generate desire for what we like and hatred for what we do not like and for what blocks our desires.”
In other words, it is our lack of understanding of the processes of the mind that cause negative emotions such as frustration, annoyance, and rage. And this is the main reason to use meditation for anger and frustration.
When we use meditation for anger and frustration, we learn about the workings of the mind and the nature of emotions. This helps us self-regulate. This is the fundamental reason to use Buddhist meditation for anger management.
Here’s a basic script for Buddhist meditation for anger:
- Sit comfortably on a meditation chair, Zafu or on the floor
- Put your hands in Gyan mudra (index fingers and thumbs touching to make a ring, with the remaining fingers lightly stretched outwards.
- Close your eyes and begin to breathe through your nose with your mouth lightly closed and your tongue pressed up lightly on your hard palette.
- Observe your breath moving through your body. Aim to take 108 breaths in total by the end of the meditation for anger relief.
- Notice how feelings of irritability and frustration pass through your mind. Observe these psychological phenomena mindfully. Don’t attached to thoughts, just notice how they come and go. phenomenological self observation is perhaps the core component of Buddhist meditation according to Padmasiri De Silva [An Introduction to Buddhist Psychology].
- Remind yourself that your feelings are normal and that they will pass. Remind yourself that even anger has a purpose. According to the recalibration theory of anger, anger is used to ensure that the individual takes action for their own welfare [source: American Psychological Association]. So in this way, anger can be healthy.
- Once you feel relaxed and no longer angry or frustrated, notice the feeling of inner peace. Remind yourself that you can recreate this emotion anytime you like.
2: Nine Round Breathing Meditation For Anger Management
One of the best Buddhist meditations for anger is “Nine Round Breathing”, which is a mindfulness practice focused on the breath. In this technique, we breathe in a way similar to “Alternate Nostril Breathing”.
The reason this is one of the best meditation techniques for frustration and similar emotions is that it calms the mind and stimulates the Parasympathetic Nervous System—the “rest and digest” system that promotes relaxation. It is also a relatively easy method for beginners to try. It involves consciously breathing in cycles. Take 108 breaths while breathing in through one nostril and out through the other (then repeating, switching sides).
Generally being mindful of your breath also helps according to the Greater Good Science Center. Your emotions and your breathing directly affect one another. When you’re frustrated, enraged, vexed, or mad, your breathing becomes shallow and fast. If you are mindfully aware of these changes in breathing you can stop and used meditative practices to calm.
Anger affects the prefrontal cortex and amygdala so you enter the “fight or flight” mode. This leads to a surge of adrenaline that can make you make snap-second decisions. This is often when mistakes happen. But meditation reduces activity of the amygdala and strengthens the prefrontal cortex. This helps you to relax and to control angry outbursts. Just another reasons to use meditation for anger and frustration.
An alternative to traditional Buddhist meditation for anger is to listen to some relaxing music.
It can be hard to meditate when we’re angry. Moodiness motivates us to act rather than to sit mindfully and observe the breath. So it can be challenging to enter the meditative state when you are truly frustrated.
That’s why a smarter strategy is to listen to some good music. Just put your headphones on and unwind.
Zen music is specially composed to calm the mind and to produce inner peace according to research from Myriam V. Thoma et. al University of Zurich. And it has been proven that some musical instruments, such as Tibetan Singing Bowls, have a powerful effect on our mood and can help to regular mood-swings.
3: Guided Meditation for anger control
Many people who are new to meditative practices struggle to focus, especially when feeling moody. That’s why lots of people prefer to use guided meditations for anger-control rather than the more traditional methods. Although it should be noted that research, including that from Harvard Medical School, proves that using guided meditation for anger and frustration is not as effective as using traditional techniques.
Youtube has thousands of guided meditations for anger and frustration. Some are good, some are bad. I’ve gone ahead and chosen the one that I believe is the best meditation for anger control, which was produced by Michael Sealey.
4: Vipassana meditation for working with anger
A traditional Buddhist meditation for anger is Vipassana, which is an intermediate-level method traditionally used to cultivate insight. When I say insight what I really is an understanding for how and why emotions occur. Because, as S. N. Goenka says, “If you learn the art of observing the reality within yourself it will become so clear at the experiential level that the real reason for anger lies within and not outside” [from a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January, 2000]
Insight can be beneficial when you’re learning to handle your mood because it reveals the reasons why irritability occurs. Vipassana is a method in which we focus on the breath and then consciously label thoughts and emotions as they occur. The reason why this is one of the best meditations for anger and frustration is that it helps you to realise that your thoughts and feelings are simply mental phenomena and that you don’t need to be so profoundly affected by them. This gives you a better perspective from which you can stat to work with anger for therapy.
Negative emotions are compounded by ignorance and a lack of understanding of the human mind.
Ignorance leads to moodiness. When we do not understand our emotions, we are more likely to be affected by them. The natural remedy for this is to educate yourself about the workings of your mind. This is what the Buddhist method of Vipassana is designed to do.
You can use Vipassana meditation for anger and frustration to learn to turn an aggressive reactive mindset into a composed and enlightened one. Vipassana will teach you the psychological causes of anger so that you understand it and thereby take control of it.
5: Loving Kindness
Another excellent Buddhist meditation for anger management is Loving-Kindness, otherwise called “Metta Bhavana”.
Often, frustration and grievances are caused by our relationship with other people. If someone does something wrong that ends up harming us, we often react badly. You might struggle to feel compassionate towards people who irritate you. Or you might simply feel a lack of love and kindness from others.
We are more likely to be happy when we feel loved and supported. This is where Loving-Kindness comes in. It is a Buddhist exercise used to cultivate feelings of love and compassion. It is beneficial whether you are angry at other people or yourself.
I believe this is the very best anger meditation script. A heart of compassion makes it much easier to achieve emotional regulation.
Zen methods such as Zazen are excellent ways of focusing the mind and tuning-out sensory information, which can often be the source of irritation.
Zen is performed sitting facing a wall with your eyes half-closed and your focus on the floor. You then cup your hands on your lap in “Cosmic Mudra” and focus on your breathing. This silences the mind and remedies the symptoms of anger.
7: Mindfulness Meditation For Anger And Frustration
The great thing about using mindfulness meditation for anger and frustration is that it trains you to accept aggressive emotions with reacting to them.
When you use mindfulness meditation for anger, you gain acceptance.
As TinyBuddha says, “When you accept things as they are, you find inner peace. And the anger stops.
“There are two ways out of a problem: accept what’s happening, see the positive, and choose a peaceful state of mind; or fight against it, be miserable, and struggle against the universe.
Whether it’s a family loss, a missed opportunity, or a sudden change in your plans, being able to accept things that are out of control helps us to maintain inner peace and happiness.”
Mindfulness and meditation help with anger because they teach us to focus on the present moment, to accept reality as it is rather than living in the thoughts and ideas that cause frustration and moodiness. I do recommend looking into the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course created by Jon Kabat Zinn.
You can use the following tips to approach anger with mindfulness.
- Understand that angriness is a feeling created by yourself. Sure, certain external events can produce irritation, but the ultimate feeling, anger itself, is created by ourselves. It comes from insecurities, worries, unconscious judgements, resentment, fears, and beliefs. When using Buddhist meditation for anger, recognise that you yourself create your emotions. The best way to gain control of your feelings and emotions is to understand that you are creating them.
- Understand that it is your irritable thoughts that create anger. Mindfulness is about self-control. It’s self-mastery. Naturally, self-mastery is not easy. It’s a challenge. Buddha meditated for decades before attaining enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. But we don’t need to achieve enlightenment to manage anger. We just need control.
- Accept reality as it is. To do this, simply focus your mind 100% on any part of your present environment. Mindfulness means present-moment acceptance. Whatever you are doing, accept it with a non-judgmental attitude.
- Remember, you don’t have to respond to anger angrily. You can respond to anger mindfully instead. It’s not about suppressing anger either. It’s about observing the emotion mindfully.
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New Study Shows Brief Meditation Can Reduce Anger, Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D.
[The Impact of Mindfulness Meditation on Anger] , Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba Misa Hirano 1, Shintaro Yukawa https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23847996/
Anger & the Limits of Acceptance in Mindfulness Meditation https://psychcentral.com/blog/anger-the-limits-of-acceptance-in-mindfulness-meditation/
The impact of mindfulness meditation on anger – ResearchGate https://www.researchgate.net/publication/249316931_The_impact_of_mindfulness_meditation_on_anger