How To Free Yourself From Angry Mental States – As Told By Buddha
By Kat Gal
Back in kindergarten, my teacher didn’t let me join the dancing circle with others. She said I was too small and clumsy. I was sad, of course. But I was also angry. And this anger stayed with me for years.
This is one of my earliest memories of anger, but certainly not the last. To tell you the truth, I used to have a hard time letting go of anger.
Cultivating anger was easy – I had a tendency towards angering quickly and letting it go seemed impossible. I harbored so much anger that it even made me sick at times; one of the underlying emotional reasons for my chronic headaches was even related to anger.
Once I released that particular emotion though, the headaches began to dissipate and over time, were gone altogether.
I bet you don’t have to dig too deep either to think of at least a few occasions when you were angry at someone or something – it’s a natural emotion and one that we’ve all experienced at some point.
It’s a natural reaction when you experience something you do not like, usually something that triggers a deep fear or a feeling of discomfort inside you. If you experience anger and are able to learn to move on with forgiveness, love and peace, despite the momentary frustration, it will help alleviate any unwanted side effects.
There is a difference between slight irritation and burning rage, occasional anger and constant anger and short-term and long-term ange.
Anger becomes a real problem if you experience it all the time. It can cause you strong distress and suffering that will only worsen the longer the persistent emotion festers.
Anger can affect your life, health and happiness in so many ways and on so many levels. It often leads to physical, emotional and social issues, including:
Buddhists regard the emotion of anger as a mental state that causes only suffering. This is not surprising as Buddha’s teachings usually revolve around the nature of suffering and how to bring to to an end.
You don’t want to suffer; no one does. But when you are angry, you are causing yourself and your body to do so.
How do you free yourself from anger? How can you create calmness, peace and positive emotions instead? How can you respond with love rather than rage?
This is the advice of Buddha. If you adopt and live these principles, the times you experience anger can becomes more positive in nature It all starts with you – your mind, your body and your heart.
#1. Find something good in the person or situation you are angry at.
This may not be easy at first. It will take some humility.
When you are angry at someone, you are filled with negativity. You start viewing the person and the situation from a distorted angle, using broken glasses; this can only feed the response that you DON’T wish to feel.
But, if you put on your heart-shaped, rose-colored glasses and search for something good in the person or the situation, it will be much easier to forgive, to forget, to move on and to love – even if the act or event is deemed utterly unforgivable. When you start seeing good, you stop seeing the enemy. You can start calming down and create positivity again.
#2. Think about what anger actually does to your mind, your body and your soul.
Remember all the negative consequences of anger that you just read about? Excessive anger is not good for you.
Think about the last time you were angry: how did you feel? I bet you were irritated, anxious, perhaps sad, but most certainly not calm and loving. How did you sleep that night? It’s safe to assume that you may not have had the best dreams.
Now ask yourself: do you want to feel bad and suffer from negative consequences of anger? Is it worth it? If not, just drop it. Respect yourself enough to drop your negative emotions and choose peace instead.
Visualization is a form of meditation.
According to Buddha’s teachings, you should visualize yourself as one with the Earth. Imagine the Earth, with its flowing rivers, blue sky and empty spaces. This oneness can create calm, peace and unity, places where anger and negativity do not belong.
As an alternative, you can visualize yourself in other peaceful situations. Visualize a sunset or a sunrise. Visualize yourself in nature – or better yet, get out in nature and lay on the grass while visualizing. Visualize yourself surrounded by the loving Universe, loving nature, loving animals and loving people. Anger can diminish quickly in this peaceful state. Bring this peaceful feeling with you into reality.
#4. Metta bhavana meditation
Meditation is awesome and can provide you with so many benefits. Meditation helps you to connect with yourself and the Universe. Meditation can be a form of relaxation. Meditation can be preventative medicine. Meditation can also be a natural remedy for many physical and emotional illnesses.
If you meditate based on Buddhist tradition, you will begin and end every meditation session with “metta bhavana,” which means “the cultivation of loving kindness.”
You begin this meditation by creating calmness in your body, collecting all your loving energy and goodwill. Then you start your meditation by thinking or even saying aloud: “May I be well. May I be happy. May I be at ease.” You may want to also visually picture yourself happy and radiantly healthy.
The meditation does not stop with you – you can extend your loving energy to others. Continue your meditation by thinking or saying, “May all beings be well. May all beings be happy. May all beings be at ease.” Extend your loving energy outside of you. Imagine yourself radiating loving energy to your loved ones. Imagine yourself radiating loving energy to those you’ve hurt or have been hurt by, those you’ve felt anger towards and those you may not like at times or at all.
Imagine yourself radiating loving energy to everyone and everything around you: humans (known and unknown), animals, plants, the Earth, the air and more. Visualize everyone and everything happy, healthy and safe.
By practicing this cultivation of goodwill, you should feel loving energy floating through you and all around you. It will be impossible for you to feel anger anymore when you are filled with love and peace instead.
Practice this meditation at least once a day, before and/or after your regular meditation routine or even just by itself. This practice can strengthen your reserves of goodness and begin the all-important work of altering your worldview, moving it into accordance with a deeper truth.
Now that you’ve read all this practical, yet loving wisdom from Buddha, stop for a moment. Imagine your life without anger. Imagine the world without anger. What would it be like? How would it feel?
Ponder on this for a bit. Feel free to share your thoughts below. We would also love to hear any personal tips you may have to help deal with and to release anger.
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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