For thousands of years we have been using Buddhist meditations to stop anger.
But in 2017, anger is worse than ever.
The Mental Health Organization Boiling Point recently researched the current state of anger.
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 their anger
- 28% of people say they are worried by how angry they get
- 20% say anger caused the end of their relationships
- 13% of people struggle to control their anger
- 84% of people think people should seek help for anger management.
The world is suffering from an anger pandemic. And it’s clear that our current health system (and general society) isn’t helping.
It’s time to change the way we handle anger.
One of the best ways to control anger is with meditation— especially Buddhist meditations.
What is Anger
Anger is a natural emotional reaction to circumstances that are stressful, threatening or frustrating.
Anger has evolved from our need to protect ourselves .
However, some people experience issues with emotional regulation. And here anger can become a problem.
Anger can cause:
- High blood pressure
- Skin disorders
- Substance abuse.
- Eating disorders
- Digestion problems
- Substance abuse.
- Immune system dyfunctioning
- Eating disorder
- Loss of self esteem
- The Buddhist Concept Of Anger
According to Buddhist wisdoms, 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.”
The Cause Of Anger is ignorance
Ignorance is the root cause of all suffering. And ignorance is the cause of anger. 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.
So how do you let go? Well, actually, that’s quite simple. Or, at least, it’s simple in theory. It does take come practice though.
Ignorance, anger and acceptance are inexorably linked:
- To stop anger, to stop ignorance.
- To stop ignorance, accept things as they are.
The #1 Buddhist Tip For Anger: Acceptance
“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.”
Let’s say we’re angry because we’ve been paid late. We night 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.”
Buddhists would say that this denial, in itself, is the root cause of suffering (which means it is also the cause of anger).
And this is where Buddhist meditations come in.
When you use a Buddhist meditation for anger you tach your mind to accept things as they are.
5 Buddhist Meditations For Anger
My free guide to 31 meditation techniques covers every major meditation in-depth.
Five of the best Buddhist meditations for anger are:
1. Nine Round Breathing:
One of the best Buddhist meditations for anger is Nine Round Breathing
Have you ever tried using breathing techniques for anger?
If so, this meditation will be familiar.
It’s a very important breathing technique that you can use to quickly calm your anger.
It involves taking a few conscious breaths. And it is probably the quickest way to stop anger.
Take a look at my guide to Nine Round Breathing here.
2. Meditation Music
An alternative to traditional Buddhist meditations for anger is to listen to some music.
It can be hard to meditate when we’re angry.
Anger makes us want to act. It doesn’t make us feel like calmly sitting down and taking a few mindful breaths.
That’s why a smarter strategy is to the Buddhist Meditation Music. Just put your headphones on and unwind.
The best way to listen to meditation music is to produce it yourself using a Tibetan Singing Bowl.
3. Guided Meditations
There are lots of great Buddhist meditations for anger.
When you’re angry it is hard to focus, so meditation becomes a challenge.
An easier solution is to use a guided meditation for anger.
The best free guided meditation for anger is Michael Sealey’s:
However do bear in mind the problems with guided meditations.
A traditional Buddhist meditation for anger is Vipassna.
This is a slightly more advanced meditation 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.
When you understand anger better you’ll have better control.
That’s why Vipassana is one of the best Buddhist meditations for anger.
You can read my guide to Vipassana meditation for more on this.
5. Loving Kindness
Another excellent Buddhist meditation for anger is Loving Kindness.
When you feel angry at someone, try to be compassionate towards that person.
Try to recognise that they themselves are human and subject to the faults of the mind.
Imagine extending thoughts of love and kindness to this person. This will completely defuse your anger.
Zen meditation is an excellent way 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. Take a look at my guide to controlling your feelings and emotions for more on this.
- 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 so 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.
Tips on controlling anger
Best tips to control angry thought #1: Realise it’s in Your Head
First thing’s first. The anger is in your head and the best way to control anger is to realise that YOU are creating it.
Seems weird, huh? Yet it’s true.
Whether it’s anger caused by other people, anger at work, or any other kind of anger, you are the one creating it.
You’re creating anger because you believe that someone has violated the established rules
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.
Best Tips to control angry thoughts #2: Acceptance
If we get angry because our preconceived idea of how things should be keeps getting violated. So 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.
Sometimes, however, we just can’t accept, so what then?
Best Tips to Control Angry thoughts #3: Recognise the Underlying Cause of your Anger.
This is the big one.
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 “Im 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 exagerate the situation to become “This employee is disrespecting me” or worse.
To give another example; I personally believe I am a good writer, and when someone posts in those comments below that I suck… I rage. “What the &^*! Do you know about writing ya ill-educated schmuck! GRRRR!!!’ Okay, that’s how I used to be years ago. I am a lot more chilled now.
When you think like that you give yourself a major issue. The real reason we get angry is because we believe the other person has crossed some LINE that only exists because of beliefs we too tightly hold about ourselves. Therefore, you must recognise that there is an underlying cause to your anger. And then change that underlying cause.
Tips to Control Angry thoughts 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!
Don’t these bloody employees realise I’m the boss!
Enlightened, Positive Thought:
Maybe they’re just trying to lighten the mood!
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 THERE 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 dont 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 RECOGNISE 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. Im actually liking spending time with my employees since I lightened up, and they like it to.
We have a more positive attitude and that has increased our productivity”… your anger is trying to teach you something.
That’s why shortly after I get angry I am thankful for the cause because I know it has taught me something about life. It has corrected my view of the world, and that in turn empowers me to work more effectively and to make the right decision more often.
The meditations and tips we’ve looked at on this page are powerful ways to create calm.
The best strategy is to stick to a Buddhist meditation plan. That way you are clam each day and anger will not flair-up.
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