If we threw a rapid fire question at you and asked you to quickly name 5 emotions, we are willing to bet that ‘Anger’ would feature as one of them. That is because anger, along with happiness is one the most frequently felt emotions in every living day. And we feel it intensely. For example, you could be angry at being stuck in traffic for too long, or feel extremely annoyed with an irritating colleague, or feel your blood boil at being deliberately left out. Anger is as inevitable as happiness.
But how you project that anger is what can make the difference between a moment of learning and a moment of regret. The next time you are fighting with yourself to keep your temper in control, remind yourself that an angry moment is an opportunity. In that moment, you can choose to take a breath, mentally detach from the source of your anger, and find a way to let your anger flow away. This may be easier said than done, but we can share some easy-to-do mindfulness techniques where you can learn how to mindfully channelize that anger till you feel your sense of equilibrium return.
- See It, Breathe It – One of the most effective ways to control anger is to first acknowledge it. Instead of letting it control you, ‘see it’ as nothing more than a small part of the spectrum of emotions you experience in a day. Once you do this, you take away its power, and can then redirect your mind into letting it go. ‘Breathe it’ means breathing through your anger. Take three to five deep breaths, and pay attention to how your anger loses its intensity with every breath. Remember that anger does not resolve problems, rather it can muddle your vision to find a resolution. So, see it, and breathe through it, and come out with your anger spent, and your perspective restored.
- Think Back – If you’re feeling angry now, chances are you have felt anger before. When you are confronted with this feeling, take a pause from whatever you are doing, and think back to the last time you were angry. How did you act then? Did expressing your anger make you feel better? Or did letting it go get you a better result? For most of you, your past experiences may reflect that ‘letting go’ of your anger helped you change the way you reacted to a situation. Remind yourself that when you don’t let your anger win, you can control the situation better, and avoid damaging relationships.
- Check Your Coping Mechanisms – Anger is not always a solitary visitor. Misery loves company, and anger almost always tags along with fear or sorrow. Acknowledging the rest of the emotions you are feeling when you are angry can help you deal with your anger better. For example, sometimes we feel so sad that we get angry, and other times we feel scared and lash out to protect ourselves. These are coping mechanisms. Recognizing such mechanisms through the ‘See it – Breathe it’ , or even the ‘Think Back’ techniques will help you see that they are just deflecting your anger but offering no resolution or peace. Just the exercise of recognizing these coping mechanisms will release the grasp of anger. Then it will get easier to change course, centre yourself and find calm in the midst of your emotional chaos.
- Talk It Out – This technique requires some bit of practice. Start viewing anger as a logical problem. It is something that is making you feel bad, and the only way to not feel that way is to address it and take away its power over you. When you are feeling angry, take a moment to call a friend or confidante, and let them know what has upset you and how it is making you feel but remember to not have anger guiding your conversation. You will notice that even by saying you are angry will help ease some of the burden that comes with the emotion, and all you did was have a conversation with someone you love and trust.
- Ask Yourself – The last mindful technique we want to share with you has to do with introspection. While you do not need anyone else telling you how to feel, it is important that you ask yourself some important questions. “Why am I feeling this way?” “Will losing my temper help this situation or worsen it?” “Is there a better way to respond to something that is making me angry?” In answering these questions out loud for yourself, you will be able to realign your mind, and bring your focus back to the problem, rather than the emotion you feel towards it.
Keeping these mindful techniques on speed dial can help you navigate the more challenging moments in life. Mark Twain once said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured”. Your anger will hurt you more than it will hurt anyone else, and for that reason it is an emotion that needs to be handled very carefully and mindfully.