Stop smashing your head against the table. You can use meditation for anger management so it’s easier to chill out.
Good news, huh?
There are many different ways in which practices such as mindfulness can help stop agitation, annoyance, frustration and other emotions [READ: controlling your emotions by meditating].
One of the best things about meditating on these emotions is that is teaches us accept them as a normal way of life. Anger is not unnatural and, kept in check, it is not unhealthy either. It evolved from our need to protect ourselves 
That said, many people are struggling to control anger. The Mental Health Organization Boiling Point recently researched the current state of emotions like frustration and annoyance. Their findings are disturbing:
- 64% of people say the world has become an angrier place
- 32% of people say a close relative or friend has anger-management issues.
- 12% of men say they struggle to control it
- 28% of people say they are worried by how mad they get
- 20% say anger caused the end of their relationships
- 84% of people think people should seek help for anger management.
Not only do we struggle to manage our frustrations and annoyances, they also cause us health problems.
Some of the health issues associated with anger include:
- High blood pressure
- Skin disorders
- Substance abuse.
- Eating disorders
- Digestion problems
- Immune system dyfunctioning
- Eating disorders
- Loss of self esteem
The world is suffering from a pandemic of rage and irritation. We are suffering from this negative emotion now more than ever. Thankfully, at the same time that anger is on the rise, so too is mindfulness. Millions of people are starting to realise the power of meditation for anger management And in particular we have started to embrace the the traditional Buddhist methods.
Teachings On Buddhist Meditations For Anger Management Buddhist
One of the main reasons why meditation helps us with our 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).
Though rebirth might sound like a blessing to many, Buddhists view it differently.
To Buddhists, the ultimate achievement is to escape the perpetual cycle of death and rebirth Samsara) .
As Tibetologist Jeffrey Hopkins states, “Ignorance is the conception or assumption that phenomena exist in a far more concrete way than they actually 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 anger, frustration, annoyance, and rage.
When we meditate we learn about the workings of the mind and the nature of emotions. This helps us to self-regulate. This is the fundamental reason to use meditation for anger management.
Stopping the ignorance that causes had moods
Ignorance is the root cause of all suffering, including negative emotions like moodiness and irritability. Only once we remove ignorance can we stop painful emotions.
In order to remove anger (and all suffering) we must remove ourselves from ignorance. We must learn to detach ourselves from our ideas of good and bad, right and wrong. We must learn to let go of painful emotions. And this is where we start using meditation for anger, because meditation stops ignorance.
Ignorance, anger and acceptance are inexorably linked:
- To stop anger, stop ignorance.
- To stop ignorance, accept things as they are.
How mindfulness stops moodiness
To gain inner peace we simply need to accept things as they are.
“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 helps with this 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.
Let’s say we’re angry because we’ve been paid late. We might think something along the lines of “My pay is late. I won’t make rent. I’ll have to get a loan. That’ll mean I’ll lose money… I’m never going to afford that vacation” and so on.
In this situation, we fight to deny reality. We think “I’m not accepting that I’m being paid late.” This unwillingness to accept reality is what causes moodiness. There is a conflict between what the might thinks should be and what actually is.
To curb our frustration we must accept reality as it is. And the key to doing that is by being mindful.
Below are five meditations for anger management. They will help you to accept reality as it is and to understand the nature of mental phenomena such as emotions. This will give you much more emotional control.
5 Buddhist Meditations For Anger Management
1. Nine Round Breathing
One of the best Buddhist meditations for anger is Nine Round Breathing.
The reason this is one of the best techniques for controlling frustration and similar emotions is because it calms the mind and stimulates the Parasynthetic Nervous System.
It is also a relatively easy method for beginners to try. It involved consciously breathing in cycles.
Take a look at my guide to Nine Round Breathing here.
2. Meditation Music for anger
An alternative to traditional Buddhist meditations for anger is to listen to some music.
It can be hard to meditate when we’re angry.
When we are moody we are more motivated to act than we re to sit mindfully (and often those actions have bad consequences).
That’s why a smarter strategy is to listen to some good meditation music. Just put your headphones on and unwind.
Medtitative music is specifically composed to calm the mind and to produce inner piece. And it has been proven that some musical instruments have a powerful effect on our mood.
The best way to listen to meditation music is to produce it yourself using a Tibetan Singing Bowl.
3. Guided Meditations for anger
Many people are new to meditative practices struggle to focus, especially when feeling moody. That’s why guided meditations for anger have become so popular over recent years.
Youtube has thousands of guided meditations for anger. Some are good, some are bad. I’ve gone ahead and chosen what I personally believe to be the best meditation for anger control, which was produced by Michael Sealey.
A traditional Buddhist meditation for anger is Vipassna.
This is a slightly more advanced technique. This one’s all about developing insight.
When you use this technique you will learn about how your mind works. And you’ll learn that anger is just a mental construct.
Earlier we discussed how 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 own mind. This is precisely what the Buddhist method of Vipassana is designed to do.
You can read my guide to Vipassana meditation for more on this.
5. Loving Kindness meditation
Another excellent Buddhist meditation for anger is Loving Kindness.
Oftentimes, frustration and grievances are caused by our relationship to 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 anger 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 precisely where the method called 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 at yourself.
Zen methods such as Zazen are excellent ways of focusing the mind and tuning-out sensory information, which can often be the source of anger.
When you use these anger meditations, do this:
I hope you will put your all into those meditations. After all, you deserve peace and happiness. And the meditations above are very beneficial.
To get the most out of those meditations, use these tips.
- Understand that anger is a feeling created by yourself. Sure, certain external events can lead us to anger, but the ultimate feeling, anger itself, is created by ourselves. An important part of Buddhist meditation is to recognise that we, ourselves, create our emotions. In fact, the best way to gain control of your feelings and emotions is to understand that you yourself are creating them.
- Understand that anger is a product of the mind. That’s why the only way to stop being angry is to control the mind. And that’s really what meditation is, it’s total 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 mange our anger. We just need a bit of control.
- Accept reality as it is. To do this, simply focus your mind 100% on any part of your present environment. For instance, if you’re walking home from work and you’re angry, just focus your mind 100% on what you’re doing: walking. Your anger will chill like cinders on the snow. This is essentially mindfulness.
More tips to control anger
#1: Realise it’s in Your Head
One of the best things about using meditation for anger is that you learn about the inner workings of your own mind.
Whether it’s anger caused by other people, anger at work, or any other kind of anger, you are the one creating it.
Here is are some examples:
A kid kicks your seat on the plane; they’re breaking the rules of holiday etiquette. Your wife or husband fails to meet your arrangements; they’re breaking an agreement. An employee fails to give you the proper respect; they’re breaking the rules of the workplace. Yet all these forms of anger come down to one thing: life is not panning out how you believe it should. You have, in your head, an idea of how things should be, and life simple isn’t following suit.
So the first and most easy way to control anger is to realise that it’s just in your head.
When you use meditation for anger control (especially Vipassana) you will gain insight into how anger works in your mind. That insight will help you to control your anger.
When you use meditation for anger you also gain acceptance.
We often get angry because our preconceived idea of how things should be keeps getting violated. The logical solution is to stop being so obsessed with the way things should be.
Stop having preconceived ideas. Roll with the punches. That’s how people stay clam in negative situations.
You’re angry because a kid is creaming on a plane but no one else seems angry. The other passengers have simply accepted that their flight is going to be noisy. As soon as they accepted this new reality, they were able to see that, whilst their situation might be annoying, it really wasn’t that bad.
3: Recognise the Underlying Cause of your Anger.
The reason we are not always able to accepted reality is because it conflicts with a deeper part of ourselves.
For instance, lets say you’re the boss of a company and an employee is doing something to anger you (and you cant just fire or suspend them!) … At this time you will probably think to yourself something like “I’m the boss, I dont need to deal with this S***” or “Its beneath me” and so on.
This line of thinking is the entire issue because you then exaggerate the situation to become “This employee is disrespecting me” or worse.
Much of our frustration is caused by our own internal beliefs. Problem is, those beliefs are so within us they can be hard to even see, let alone change.
3b: Discovering the Secret
In order to discover that secret reason for your rage (the belief you are holding too tightly that the other person is conflicting with), you have to step back and truly look at yourself.
Just imagine you are taking a little step outside of your own head and then look down and ask “Why do I (the person you are now looking at) find this situation so annoying? What is it about this scene that conflicts with my beliefs about myself.” Give yourself time to answer this question. And be honest. You’ll likely find something truly revealing.
Examples of turning negative thoughts to positive thoughts
I’m mad that guy said I look bad because I know I look good and I NEED to look good
Enlightened, Positive Thought:
Well… if I do look bad today then clearly looking bad doesn’t matter too much as I hadn’t even noticed before that guy told me … Wait… a …. minute….!!!! I don’t NEED to look good everyday in order to be happy!
4: Use anger to learn
Your emotions always stem from an underlying belief, a perception of yourself and the world around you.
You get angry when reality turns out to not be exactly what you thought it was, when something contradicts your belief of the world, but this is where the real secret lies…. if something contradicts your view of the world then clearly your view of the world is not 100% accurate (in other words, you don’t think your employees should crack jokes at your expense, but they do, so clearly your opinion was wrong.)
In this way, your anger actually points out errors in your perception of the world.
Should you then recognize your error you can then correct your view of the world.
You can think “Employees CAN crack jokes at my expense cause we are all human.” This will then lead to even more revelations. “At work we are still people… Perhaps if I engage my employees more human sides I will improve my relationship with them….” Then a few weeks later. “Wow. I’m actually liking spending time with my employees since I lightened up, and they like it to.
Always remember: Your anger is teaching you something. What can you learn from it? By changing your perspective on your frustrations, and by using the meditations above, you can learn a great deal about yourself.
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