When you’re feeling aggressive, in a temper, and can’t control your rage, try using meditation for anger and frustration.
Meditative exercises like mindfulness can change your mindset from hot-headed to calm. [READ: controlling your emotions by meditating].
Many people struggle to control anger. Indeed, the Mental Health Organization Boiling Point researched the current state of emotions like anger and frustration. And they found that 32% of people say a close relative or friend has anger-management issues.
When we struggle to control our frustration, we often experience health problems.
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.
Anger can cause:
- High blood pressure
- Skin disorders
- Substance abuse.
- Eating disorders
- Digestion problems
- Immune system dysfunction
- Eating disorders
- Loss of self-esteem
Benefits of Meditation for Anger
There are many benefits of meditation for anger. And there are many different types of meditation for anger.
Of course, meditation isn’t the only solution, there are also relaxation techniques, cognitive behavioural therapy, 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 into calmness. To see this for yourself, try these meditations for inner peace.
It’s about acceptance
When we use meditation for anger, we learn to accept negative emotions, like frustration, as a healthy way of life. When you look at your feelings through the lens of mindfulness, you realise that anger is just an energy. And so, it isn’t anger itself that is the problem. Rather, the problem is the way we react to anger.
Many people try to ignore anger or fight against it. And this does not help. We should never try to repress our emotions. Instead, we should be non-judgmentally aware of our emotions, and we should learn to experience emotions without reacting to them.
The reason we are so affected by anger is because of the effect anger has on the brain.
Anger affects the prefrontal cortex and amygdala. When this happens, we enter the “fight or flight” mode. We also get a surge of adrenaline that can lead to reactive behaviour. However, meditation reduces the activity of the amygdala and strengthens the prefrontal cortex. And in turn, this helps you to relax and to control angry outbursts.
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
Buddhist meditations are about quietly observing the mind. For instance, with methods like Vipassana, we learn to be aware of the true nature of the mind.
Meditation helps with mood 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.
Buddhist meditation for anger [script]:
- 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, remaining fingers lightly stretched outwards).
- Close your eyes and breathe through your nose with your mouth lightly closed. Place your tongue lightly on your hard palette.
- Observe your breath moving through your body. Aim to take 108 breaths in total by the end of this meditation for anger relief.
- Notice how feelings of irritability and frustration pass through your mind. Observe these psychological phenomena mindfully. Don’t attach 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]. We must observe the true nature of the mind.
- Remind yourself that your feelings are normal and that they will pass. Remind yourself that even anger has a purpose. For instance, there is the Recalibration Theory of Anger. This theory states that anger motivates us to make changes in life. [source: American Psychological Association]. Therefore, anger can be healthy.
- Once you feel relaxed and no longer angry or frustrated, notice the feeling of inner peace. Meditate on it. 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.
An alternative to traditional Buddhist meditation for anger is to listen to relaxing music.
It can be hard to meditate when angry. Moodiness motivates us to act rather than to sit mindfully and observe the breath.
That’s why it’s smart is to listen to some relaxing music. Just put your headphones on and unwind.
Meditation 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, can help regulate mood swings.
3: Guided Meditation for Anger Control
Beginners often struggle to focus. Especially when angry. Hence, many people prefer easy meditations. For instance, we can use a guided meditation for anger control. Although it should be noted that research, including that from Harvard Medical School, proves that using a 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 chosen the one I believe is the best meditation for anger control. It is by Michael Sealey.
4: Vipassana Meditation to Control Anger
A traditional Buddhist meditation for anger is Vipassana. This is an intermediate-level method used for insight.
When I say insight what I really mean is an understanding of 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].
In other words, anger happens inside, not outside.
Insight (Vipassana) helps us to understand the nature of anger.
In Vipassana, we focus on the breath and label thoughts and emotions as they occur.
Why is this reason this is one of the best meditations for anger and frustration? Because it helps you to realise that your thoughts and feelings are simply mental phenomena. Therefore, you needn’t be affected by them. This gives you a better perspective from which you can start to work with anger for therapy.
Negative emotions are compounded by ignorance and a lack of understanding.
Ignorance leads to moodiness. When we do not understand our emotions, we are more affected by them. The natural remedy for this is to educate yourself about the workings of your mind.
You can use Vipassana meditation for anger and frustration to learn to turn an aggressive reactive mindset into a composed and enlightened one.
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 relationships with other people. If someone does something wrong, 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. Hence why Loving-Kindness helps. It is a Buddhist exercise used to cultivate feelings of love and compassion. It is beneficial whether you are angry at other people or angry at yourself.
I believe this is the best anger meditation script. A heart of compassion makes it much easier to achieve emotional regulation.
Again, refer to our main menu to learn this technique.
Zen methods such as Zazen are excellent ways of focusing the mind and tuning-out sensory information. This helps because sensory information often causes anger.
Zen is performed sitting facing a wall with your eyes half-closed. You 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 wonderful thing about using mindfulness meditation for anger and frustration is that it trains you to accept aggressive emotions without 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.”
When we are mindless, we are lost in thoughts and emotions.
Mindfulness meditation helps with anger because it teaches us to focus on the present moment and to accept reality.
I recommend looking into the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course created by Jon Kabat Zinn.
Tips for being mindful of anger
- Understand that angriness is a feeling created by yourself. Sure, certain external events can produce irritation. However, the ultimate feeling, anger, is created within. It comes from insecurities, worries, unconscious judgements, resentment, fears, and beliefs. When using meditation for anger, recognise that you yourself create your emotions. The best way to control your 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.
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