How can I be more mindful when I’m angry?
Everyone gets angry and that's okay. How we experience anger and what we do when we're angry is something you can explore with mindfulness meditation.
You can use mindfulness meditation to practice mental noting which can be helpful to recognize and acknowledge anger - or any other emotions that come up. Even just to know, "this is anger," when it happens is a big step. Once you see anger happening, you can also get curious and aware of your mental attitude about the anger. It's not so much about getting rid of the anger as checking it out with interest.
One important thing to be aware of when feeling tough emotions like anger is identification with the emotion and the story behind it. Meditation can help you explore ways to have the emotional experience and feel the physical sensations of it without fueling it and getting more distressed. For example with anger, try giving some gentle awareness to sensations like tension in the chest, a slight clenching of the fists or heat in the face, and other things that come with anger. Watching what's actually happening to your body in the here and now is usually more useful than running with the story in your head about what was said and done.
If the anger is frequent and intense, the classical antidote is to cultivate kindness and compassion so perhaps Sharon Salzberg's Ten Percent Happier course 10% Nicer could be useful — especially focusing on self-compassion. Oren Sofer’s course Emotions also has strategies for working with anger. And in the Singles section of the app you might try any of the following.
- Rage Relief | Jeff Warren
- Anger | Oren Jay Sofer
- A Skillful Response | Sharon Salzberg
- Feeling Anger | Sharon Salzberg
- Difficult Emotions with R.A.I.N. | Sharon Salzberg
- Transforming Anger | Jess Morey
It's a great idea to check these out, find some that work for you right now, and practice them regularly so you've go the 'muscle' built and the skill ready when anger or other strong emotions come up.