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Five ways to take charge of your anger


“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses.” ― William Arthur Ward
I hear this a lot from youngsters around me: It's fine to rant, vent and lose one's temper. It's fashionable to be scornful and rude to everyone. It's great to vent. What's the big deal about getting angry? After all, if you cannot express what pisses you off, how can you call yourself human? [Also read: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]
Here's what I think: Anger is a projection of our own minds. It stems from layered fears and the need to dominate and differentiate yourself from others whose actions or reactions we want to control. It destroys us first before it goes out and delivers blows to others around. That is why spiritual seekers work constantly towards conquering anger and fear. The two are so deeply inter related. You have to conquer both and not just one of the two. 

Yet, from my experience, I can tell you one secret from the spiritual world: when spiritual seekers and masters lose their temper, there is no way to end it easily. The person they are angry with suffers considerably but they themselves lose all the merits of their sadhana with just one bout of anger. They have to start from ground zero and it isn't an easy climb at all.
Anger doesn't make you human. Compassion does 
If anger solved all the problems in the world, this world would have been a perfect place centuries ago. There is so much anger that is responsible for many dark, inhuman and violent acts that happen around us. When we sit back and analyze where this anger stems from, the root cause of it, you will feel amazed by the insights that it can bring us about what lies within us - dark, hidden and mysterious.
Anger is self-destructive, don't find out the hard way! 
Those who know me personally would tell you that I almost never lose my temper. A former Boss in the book publishing industry used to introduce me as "Serene Buddha" to prospective authors. Reason? No matter what tantrums authors throw, I would keep cool, turn around a hostile situation and leave them smiling by the end of our discussion. That's always been the story of my life and my interactions with others.
There are very very few occasions in my life when I have completely lost my temper. And on those few occasions, the anger ended up being very self-destructive than anything else. I once walked out of a job because I became so irrevocably angry about something that I saw as a blatant violation of what I strongly believe in. I sat at home for six months, without a paycheck, wondering whether it had been a mistake to give in to my anger, rare as that may be. But I also know myself better. I could not possibly stick onto a job just for just the paycheck, not if it violates the core values that I hold on to. So, was my anger justified at the time? I would like to think so from a spiritual perspective. But when you look at the practical side of being jobless without proper planning, it doesn't look too inviting, does it?

But do you get my point on anger being self-destructive?
One who cannot conquer anger is one who is controlled by a false sense of identification with the Physical Self. When anger takes hold of you, fight it as you would fight for your life. Don't let the mind master your actions. Be the mastermind. Take charge of your anger. [READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Angry? Try this!

On the occasions when I do lose my cool, here are somethings that work for me to keep it in my control:

1. Practice absolute silence. Stay away as far and as long as possible from whatever  ignited the anger till the mind is calm, still and able to reflect on the core issue more objectively. When the mind is still, when the thoughts are in your control, there is no scope for anger to rule you.

2. Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale so slowly that you can feel the breath enter and leave your body like a beautiful breeze. Do this for as long as you can and focus on the breath. Thoughts will slowly cease, your mind will become a shining, empty vessel and you may even wonder what made you angry in the first place.

3. Take a walk. Walk, run, skip but do any constructive physical activity that makes you thrash out your anger without hurting anyone.

4. Listen to soothing music.

5. Sip a glass of cool water, very very slowly. Concentrate on how it cools your heart, throat and frayed nerves. You will find yourself relaxing, the coolness ebbing away the heat of your anger.

I want to know your thoughts on anger. Have you noticed how you behave when you get angry and how do you tackle it in the aftermath? 

I'd love to hear from you. 

Ending this post on anger with a quote from Bree Despain, The Dark Divine
“Remember Grace, if you let anger into your heart, it will push out your ability to love.” 

♥♥  I thank you with all my heart for reading my post. I dedicate this post with love and gratitude to all of you who are working with sincerity to control anger and conflict. REQUEST: Please SHARE this article on your favorite social networks. Every share, like or tweet makes me reach out to more people in a positive way. I am grateful and I appreciate you for doing so. ♥♥

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Comments

Shilpa Garg said…
Very do-able and practical pointers to control anger! It is better to do these because after a while you regret the words and actions during an angry outburst!
Arun said…
I agree with your thoughts on anger. It is self destructive. From what I understand, anger is caused by unmet expectations or when you perceive that certain individuals are treating you in an unfair manner and your mind wants justice.

This is a very timely post as far as I'm concerned because I had a bout of anger just yesterday. Now I'm not a person with a short temper. I rarely get angry or rather I’m slow to anger. A lot of people who know me don’t even think that I am capable of getting angry!

On the rare occasions that I do get angry, my anger usually lasts for a long time, for hours. Yesterday was one such day. Something got to my nerves and it just blew my fuse. I felt like a raging bull ready to smash everything in its path. A lot of my suppressed anger and bottled up frustrations came out yesterday. It was a terrible experience.

For controlling anger, I'd like to mention a couple of points. I’ve tried these before and they were helpful (though not always):

1. Write it down:

Try and write about your angry outburst. While writing, just write down whatever comes to the mind. Don't edit or proofread the article while writing. After 20-30 minutes of writing, the anger level can come down.

I don’t really know the logic behind this, but I think you end up transferring some of the anger from your head into the laptop.

2) Try and get some sleep:

Sometimes all you need is a good sleep. You wake up feeling better. I guess this works on occasions when the root cause of your anger is exhaustion or an overworked mind.

Kudos for touching upon a very good topic and sorry about my lengthy comment.
Hi Shilpa, Yes, these are do-able and practical pointers. But the problem is that when we are very angry, we seldom have the ability to initiate any of these steps. But if more people did this more frequently, the world would be a better, happier and peaceful place for one self and others as well.
Impressed by two facts that you have stated here: One is the admission of anger. When we get angry and later cool down, we rarely admit even to others (let alone ourselves) that we totally lost our cool. So, I admire you for saying that openly here. I also admire that you have two simple and very effective suggestions to control anger. Thanks for sharing it here. And by the way, the more detailed your comments are, the greater the learning is for all of us who are exploring different ways to take charge of anger. Thank you Arun once again!
Neena Arora said…
Hi Swapna, it was lovely reading this and many other posts on this blog. I am surely going to recommend this blog to my friends for the excellent flow of writing and the wonderful topics chosen by you. Keep writing and continue the flow of excellent blog pieces. Luv Neena
Neena, thank you so much for recommending this blog to your friends. I try to touch upon topics that tend to interest me. Your encouragement means a lot to me. I look forward to your feedback too.
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Ajith said…
I dont think anger is only due to fear.
it may be the most common reason but the other factor that could cause anger is 1 ) excess energy in your system - sometime you do spiritual practise and you get soo much energy ,may be more than you can hold - then its like water trying to escape from a faucet.

2) Anger due to empathy -Some one hurt your friend or dear one Or you read news about cruelty to people


3) anger due to pain - Some one says or does bad to you or someone you love

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