When was the last time you were angry?
- Was it when you were sitting in a hot traffic jam?
- When a loved one did or said something that struck a nerve?
- Or when watching a news story or program on television?
Think about the last time that something made you mad. And then think about how that impacted the rest of your day.
It’s easy for a moment of anger to turn into an irritant that lasts well after the initial trigger that made us mad is over.
For example, if you get abruptly cut off in traffic by an inconsiderate driver, it’s easy to feel agitated for the rest of your drive, and even when you get to your destination.
Chances are, you’ll tell others about the incident too, revisiting the angry moment. And before you know it, you’re thinking more about a five second incident than everything else that previously had precedence in your day.
This is why managing anger is a useful tool for everyone. Because whether it’s a small infraction or a big riff that can splinter relationships, keeping madness in check can go a long way in improving our overall wellbeing.
Meditation helps reduce anger in a myriad of different ways. For one thing, it allows us to focus on things that are important. And pay less attention to distractions that are relatively inconsequential.
Because of this, instead of getting irritated that someone at the office took the last cup of coffee, or that the kids made a mess in the living room, the moment passes, and our minds work to find a resolution instead of dwelling on the problem.
Also, meditation also enhances our compassion, which mitigates anger and annoyance on an all-encompassing level.
Everyone has that one person in their life – whether it’s a co-worker, an in-law, or someone they have to deal with on a regular basis – that has a higher than normal tendency to get under their skin.
It can be intentional or unintentional, and moderately aggravating or infuriating, but this person exists. And can be hard to avoid.
Meditation reduces our judgmental tendencies and enhances our ability to see things from different perspectives.
So instead of immediately taking offense or getting mad, we naturally process: what a person is thinking
- What a person is thinking
- What their motivations could be
- Other factors that take the sting out of their words or actions
Finally, meditation reduces anxiety, which is undeniably linked to anger. When we’re stressed and anxious, our tempers are shorter, and little things that don’t normally bug us can suddenly be blown way out of proportion.
It’s an intrinsic way of releasing stress. Also of unconsciously diverting our attention away from the worries at hand onto something else – a distraction from our stress and fears.
By alleviating the cause of anger, such as stress and anxiety, we naturally have less to be angry about. Instead, we can focus on the people and things that make us happier.
A rude act or frustrating situation can easily get the better of us. But with meditation, we have a natural defense system to defuse and extinguish anger before it even arises.
Having a professional teacher on your side will go a long way in getting you started. Once you’re on the path, you’ll be amazed at how far meditation will take you.