There are many different meditations 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 emotions [READ: controlling your emotions by meditating].
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.
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 meditation scripts below to learn to manage anger in an enlightened way.
5 Types Of Meditation For Anger Management
For complete scripts to these meditations, refer to our main menu.
1: Nine Round Breathing
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 techniques for controlling frustration and similar emotions is that it calms the mind and stimulates the Parasynthetic 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).
An alternative to traditional Buddhist meditations 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. 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 Meditations 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.
Youtube has thousands of guided meditations for anger. 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.
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 understand for how and why emotions occur.
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 management 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.
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.
5: Loving Kindness
Another excellent Buddhist meditation for anger is Buddhist 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.
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 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.
More Tips For Reducing Anger With Meditation
I hope you will put serious effort into the exercises above. After all, you deserve peace and happiness. And the exercises above are very beneficial.
To get the most out of those techniques , use these tips.
- 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. 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 a product of the mind. That’s why the only way to stop being angry is to control the mind. And that’s what mindfulness is; it’s 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. 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 coals on the snow.
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 about how mad they get
- 20% say it 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, but they also cause health problems.
Some of the health issues associated with anger include:
- High blood pressure
- Skin disorders
- Substance abuse.
- Eating disorders
- Digestion problems
- Immune system dysfunctioning
- Eating disorders
- Loss of self-esteem
Buddhism on Meditation and Anger Management
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.
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 moodiness
Ignorance is the root cause of all suffering, including negative emotions like moodiness and irritability. By removing ignorance, we gain control of emotions
To remove anger (and all suffering) we must remove ourselves from ignorance. We must learn to detach ourselves from ideas of good and evil, right and wrong. We must learn to let go of painful emotions. And this is where we start using meditation for anger because it stops ignorance.
Ignorance, anger and acceptance are inexorably linked:
- To stop anger, stop ignorance.
- To stop ignorance, accept things as they are.
One thing that can help with both of these is forgiveness. [READ: Meditation For Forgiveness]
How mindfulness stops moodiness
As TinyBuddha says, “When you accept things as they are, you find inner peace. And the anger stops.”
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 help 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 work paid us 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 mind thinks should be and what is.
To curb our frustration, we must accept reality as it is. And the key to doing that is by being mindful.
The meditations for anger management that we looked at above 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.
More anger management tips
#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 mind.
Whether it’s anger caused by other people, at work, or a different kind, you are the one creating it.
Here 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 simply isn’t following suit.
So the first and most straightforward 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 operates in your mind.
When you use meditations 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 notions. Roll with the punches.
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, while their situation might be annoying, it isn’t that bad.
3: Recognise the Underlying Cause
The reason we are not always able to accepted reality is that it conflicts with a deeper part of ourselves.
For instance, let’s say you’re the boss of a company and an employee is doing something to anger you. At this time you will probably think to yourself something like “I’m the boss, I don’t need to deal with this s***” or “It’s 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.
Our own internal beliefs cause much of our frustration. The problem is, those beliefs are so ingrained in the psyche that they can be hard even to see, let alone change.
3b: Discovering the Secret
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 that you are taking a little step outside of your head and then look down and ask “Why do I 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 genuinely revealing.
Examples of turning angry thoughts into happy ones
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 to be happy!
4: Learn from it
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. 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 (for example, 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 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 employee’s more human sides, I will improve my relationship with them….” Then a few weeks later. “Wow. I’m enjoying spending time with my employees since I lightened up, and they like it to.
Always remember: Your temper 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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New Study Shows Brief Meditation Can Reduce Anger, Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/urban-survival/201602/new-study-shows-brief-meditation-can-reduce-anger
[The Impact of Mindfulness Meditation on Anger] , Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of TsukubaMisa 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