You have probably heard people raving about the benefits of meditation, from better health to better concentration. But there is another excellent benefit that most of us are in dire need of- the effect meditation has on anger, both in terms of it being a solution and also to prevent triggering anger bursts.
Think of your brain as the canvas that determines what colors are to be predominantly put on it. Can you put black paint on a black canvas? No, similarly an unhealthy brain filled with constant worrying and stress can never let the anger issues rest. Meditation helps to improve the mental health by affecting the brain in a positive way.
Some of the health benefits of meditation are:
- Less stress and anxiety
- Better concentration
- A calmer mind
- Reduces depression
- Strengthens and thickens the cortical wall of the brain, which in turn improves the ability to make better decision.
What happens in the brain when you are angry?
Have you noticed how your head feels heavier when you are angry? What really happens is that when your anger issues creep up, the amygdale part of the brain becomes over active and this makes the brain want to do something to deal with whatever or whoever is making you angry. Remember how you want to punch the guy in the face because you are just that seething at the very sight of him.
Secondly, the frontal lobe of the brain that is associated with reasoning gets blurred by the blood rush to the brain. You can’t see reasons or think about the consequences, you just ‘feel’ more and more of this negative feeling unless you consciously make a decision not to.
And this is where meditation can help. Talking from the preventive point of view, when you meditate and improve the overall health of the brain, you are in a way working towards creating a better and healthier canvas. This canvas does not get muddled and dominated by emotions when you are angry.
Meditation strengthens your power to reason over the power emotions have on you. In laymen terms, you are in control of your emotions and not vice-versa.
Regular meditation not only induces a sense of calm but it enables you to tap in this feeling of calm whenever you want, even at times when you are spitting mad. Anger is considered to be a ‘poison’ in Buddhism which can be easily combated by meditation- an integral part of Buddhist practice.
Okay as a preventive measure this might work, but can it work when you are actually caught up in the midst of the anger tide. Can you really just flip a switch and go from angry to calm and composed?
You can but it’s not as easy as flipping a switch. It is a series of steps that needs effort and practice.
The next time when you are angry, don’t run away from it. Face it. Start with thinking about the ‘feeling’ you feel when you are angry and not the cause behind the anger. So if someone said hurtful things to you, don’t reiterate on what they said but concentrate on how you feel and where exactly do you feel the most- your head throbs, your jaw tightens, lump in the chest. Just figure what your personal zone of anger is.
Now, take deep breaths, try to match the frequency of your breath with the feeling of anger so that with every breath you take you feel anger dissipating inside.
Once you are relatively calmer, focus on reasoning it out. ‘So the hurtful things they said does not make sense because I am not a backbiter’ or ‘Whatever they say speaks more about them than me, why should I bother’ when you say things that contradict this feeling, the anger surrounding it tends to weaken and give way to peace and calm.
Be patient, calm your amygdala! No seriously when you choose to be patient and not let your knuckles kiss the person’s cheek with a lot of passion, you will be rewarded not just by not getting legally charged but also because this strengthens your will power. If you decide to be patient, you will immediately feel some pressure being taken off your shoulders. Just focus on staying patient; and one very good way to do so is zone out of the situation and concentrate on happier things.
Meditation is an excellent way to deal with a lot of issues that can be controlled by mastering the mind, anger being one of them. Also, note that meditation is not just about sitting in solitude and staring at a blank space, there are a number of different ways to meditate, you can even listen you favorite music and meditate. In fact you can meditate even without ‘meditating’ by just staying in the present and letting go of the negatives.