Anger is an emotion that forces us to look deeper within ourselves and examine our relationship to the world. In many ways, it is a perfect reflection of the idea that we have a choice when it comes to how we respond and react to events and people in our lives.
That choice, if a positive one, can benefit our own peace of mind and higher consciousness, along with improving our relationships. If we can develop a new way of recognizing anger, listening to it, feeling it, and letting it go, we will have achieved a path to joyfulness. Anger’s reach can be so destructive, whether in our personal interactions, or as manifest in depression, illness or violence. When anger becomes an emotion that flows through you, without fear, and then is released, your heart will open to the extraordinary potential of a truly happy life.
What Were You Taught About Anger?
Depending on how your parents taught you to handle this energy, you become either angry or depressed. If your parents were patient and forgiving, they probably let you throw temper tantrums and then sent you to your room to finish them. They tolerated your anger, so you learned to direct the energy outward. If your parents were not tolerant of your anger, telling you that they’d “give you something to cry about,” they reinforced a coping mechanism in you – the suppression of anger.
You may never have had a chance to even feel your anger, let alone process it. Well, like many people, your parents might have abused you, criticized you, and/or taught you all sorts of bad lessons. You are angry and depressed because you think you got a raw deal. You think that life isn’t fair, so you suffer. You feel angry because you think your life doesn’t make sense. Here is the truth – you hurt because you love/loved your parents and you think they didn’t care. This is true whether it is your parents, God, yourself, or someone else. In order to move on and heal, all you have to do is admit to yourself that you really do love yourself, your parents, or that someone else. You need to get over the fact people don’t act the way you want them to. Once you know what is out of your hands, you can take care of yourself. The love, attention, and support you feel is lacking from the outside world must come from inside. Without that, you are vulnerable to anger and depression, due to external expectations defining who you are.
What is Underneath Your Anger?
You can deal with anger and depression by surrendering to it, and realizing that everything is a lesson. You must recognize that you are not the Doer – controlling everything. You are only here to experience life. The disappointment you feel in not getting what you want can be healed, quite simply, by wanting what you get. Success is defined as getting what you want but true happiness, that has nothing to do with things or other people, is “wanting what you get.” What is underneath your anger? Is it fear that your parents or God don’t love you? Are you angry or depressed because something happened in the past that disappointed or hurt you? Understand that it was the Universe experiencing that occurrence, not just you. There is a higher force that absorbs and processes these incidents. When you understand that the events that made you so angry or depressed did not happen to you, that it was the Universe and its powers at work, then the energy of resistance fades away and all that is left is love.
When you have setbacks, you don’t have to walk further down the path of frustration. You can stop for a moment and say, “Hang on a moment.” You have to pause when you are in emotional or physical pain. Go within and experience your Divine nature. Life is a bit like a pendulum. At one end of the arc of the pendulum is unhappiness. At the other end is happiness. Isn’t that what life is like, a pendulum swinging back and forth? If you become attached to certain outcomes, and try to avoid any strife or pain, the pendulum sticks at the end of unhappiness. If you understand that pleasure is the space between two pains and pain is the space between two pleasures, you will understand that the pendulum swings back and forth. We will feel anger and unhappiness in the course of our lives, but the goal is to not stay there for very long.
If you trust that happiness always follows unhappiness, you will move through your life with grace and the detachment that leads to joy.
The Power Of Your Voice
Anger is an opportunity to go deeper into ourselves. If we are afraid of these feelings, no matter how uncomfortable it is to sit with them, they will only rise again, misunderstood and toxic to our health, happiness and the energy we put out into the world. The duality of anger also reflects in forgiveness. On the other side of anger, healing can come in the form of what we bestow on others. Holding on to anger and refusing to forgive turns inward, in a destructive way, and keeps us from growing. If we work through a process of listening to anger, accepting it and letting it go, we can then address the source of the anger with love and compassion.
Anger can be a powerful motivator to find your truth. Once you find your voice you then have to put the right words into a sequence because it’s not only about finding a voice, it’s then being able to express yourself with dignity, with poise, with peace, with truth, with love, with non-violence.
Tips for Dealing With Anger
What are your triggers for anger? The next time you feel anger surface, stop and observe how you got there. Are there situations and dynamics that you can avoid? What are the incidences – and reactions – that happen time and again?
When we can’t derail anger, adrenaline runs into the bloodstream and causes the body to stiffen. We might stand up as the spine straightens in order to defend ourselves, as in the fight or flight mode. At the base of your spine there’s a little package of energy that shoots up into your nervous system. When this happens, you think you need to defend yourself when, in reality, you don’t. Anger fools and deludes us. The next time you find anger surging, try this:
- Lie down.
- Drink water slowly.
- Put something cold on your temples.
- Breath deeply as you will notice your breathing has become shallow or might even have stopped.
- Leave the environment, if possible.
- Try to laugh at your actions.
You need to work on letting go of anger as if your happiness depends on it, because it does! The 6 actions outlined above don’t need to be done all at once, just one or two at a time. The anger will subside quickly.
If you wish to go deeper, and get rid of the root of the anger altogether, I suggest taking classes with a meditation teacher. Find someone who has had intense training and has achieved inner and outer peace in his or her own lives. You will learn how to release endorphins into your blood stream to counteract the adrenaline that is gushing into your blood.
Breathing Through Anger
There are many effective breathing exercises we can utilize to alleviate anger, combatting it when it arises. Our bodies react to anger, triggering very real and distracting sensations. The mind cannot think clearly when anger is present, and the body feels vulnerable. Proper breathing helps to balance us. It is a source of calmness and happiness. Problems, both psychological and physical, result from not breathing properly. This is often overlooked. Fear, anger, depression, and negative emotions can begin with, or be intensified by, improper breathing. Try this one:
- Using the thumb of your left hand, press where the V of the index finger and thumb meet on the right hand.
- Press gently and hold for 10 deep breaths.
- Then closing your left nostril, breathe into the right nostril 3 times and out 3 times to a count of 10.
- Repeat with the other nostril.
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