Meditation is known to bring calmness and mindfulness to a person. But does meditation help with anger as well? Does it help quell the emotions that come with anger? Let’s find out.
Life can be hard sometimes, and we all deal with it in our way. However, many of us leave our natural state of abundance and love and allow emotions of anger and frustration to take over.
While this is a prevalent issue in today’s world, it can be detrimental to our mental health. So, we need to find a natural solution to let go of all the unresolved issues that lead us to anger and frustration.
A new study published by the Consciousness and Cognition Journal suggests that even one meditation session can significantly reduce the body’s response to anger and frustration.
Meditation is, thus, an essential and recommended mindful practice for those who experience anger and rage quite often in their lives. Several studies have proven that meditation reduces anger, and we shall learn more about the same in this article.
Anger can also be considered as a natural or typical response to a possible threat (when the brain perceives it so) since it results in the release of adrenaline, heartbeat increasing, and tightening of muscles, amongst other things.
While some anger is natural and in fact, healthy, raging anger which causes violent behavior and therefore physical harm to people and objects around you is unhealthy.
Several causes lead to raging anger. Mostly, it is unresolved issues in the body that results in problematic anger. However, every individual reacts to different things differently. Even so, several common factors can be considered common causes of anger, and the same are listed below:
- Alcoholism or substance abuse
- Financial struggles
- Disrespect or humiliation
- Situations where one feels powerless
- Depression or anxiety
- In a few cases, it can be genetic as well
Symptoms of unhealthy anger
Anger can be quite harmful to a person’s physical body, and this is the reason why you should always be aware of the symptoms of unhealthy anger –
- Digestion problems
- Crying for no apparent reason
- Lashing out at people verbally
- Physically abusing someone
- Craving nicotine, alcohol, and other substances
- Stomach ache
Effects of anger on your body
It is no rocket science that anger or any negative emotion can harm our bodies. While healthy anger is a good thing to release negative emotions from your body, learning when problematic anger is crossing is essential.
You know it is time to take professional help when anger becomes a constant state of your being. It is essential to learn about how anger affects your body, and below are some of how this emotion can negatively impact you.
- It can cause chronic diseases such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, etc.
- You can have regular headaches due to anger
- You can have skin-related conditions like acne, pimples, etc. due to anger issues
- Individuals have high-functioning anxiety because of unresolved anger issues
- One can suffer from insomnia due to anger issues
- Unresolved anger can lead to high irritability, lack of focus, and other mental problems.
- You may find it challenging to work through your day-to-day activities or run your chores.
- You will not feel aligned in your emotional body.
Thus, it is vital to take care of your emotional body and see a specialist if needed.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is an ancient Indian practice that is part of yoga. Since time immemorial, sages have practiced it to harness their energy and use it mindfully and intentionally.
Thus, meditation is a practice where one uses tools of mindfulness and awareness to achieve mental calm, emotional smoothness and stability, and increased focus.
Meditation is the most natural and proven method to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in individuals – this also means that meditative practices can lead to a significant reduction in anger.
Meditation and anger
Neuroscience explains that, unfortunately, our brain is hard-wired to focus more on negativity. This means that we are naturally inclined to hold on to harmful or unpleasant experiences rather than positive ones.
We often forget the reality of our emotions when even the smallest of things leave us triggered. We can get angry in an instant of emotion. While it is not our fault for all the wrongs done to us, it is undoubtedly our responsibility to forgive and heal it all.
This is where meditation steps in.
It teaches us that we can respond to everything without reacting to it at all. With regular meditation, we can become so aware of our body and mind that we can reach the depth or root cause of every negative emotion and release it from there.
Does meditation bottle up feelings?
Many people feel that meditation is one way to bottle up emotions or suppress them when the reality is far opposite. Meditation is a practice that, when done consistently, shows us the pathways to allow us to feel the anger before we release it. In this way, the negative feeling doesn’t stay inside your body and releases itself naturally once you have felt it enough.
It also relaxes your body and calms your brain, which alone helps make you feel better about your body. When released in your body due to deep relaxation, the feel-good hormones lead to clarity and better brain and body functioning.
Meditation and intentional deep breathing also help us cool off quickly whenever triggered or enraged. Meditation truly helps us come back to a state of calm, and it quickly brings down the heart rate and keeps our vibrational frequency high.
The Physiology of Anger
When a person is angry, he is in flight or fight mode, which instantly arouses them to react in agitation instead of responding. Our sympathetic nervous system is aroused during this time, creating a pattern where our brain looks out for problems or harmful actions.
Once the problem is spotted, it registers in the amygdala and creates a chain reaction affecting the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands.
When reacting instead of responding becomes a pattern, it leads to the production and circulation of stress hormones, known as cortisol and other neurotransmitters. At the same time, a balanced amount of cortisol is needed by the body to function and is thus, good for your health.
However, when produced and released more than required, they lead to excessive absorption of calcium by neurons that makes them overfire and thus, die.
The hippocampus and prefrontal cortex are parts of the brain responsible for high and quality thinking, emotional regulation, and other essential functions. These parts are pretty vulnerable to getting calcium overload that affects their ability to function correctly and, thus, cannot make balanced judgments or decisions based on reason.
How does meditation reduce anger?
When a person meditates regularly, the practice disrupts and destroys this pattern. It rewires the brain from a fight-or-flight reaction to an emotionally-regulated response to an otherwise enraging situation.
When we meditate, it quietens the activity in the amygdala, which closes the pathway to reaction due to stress or anxiety. The quieting of the amygdala leads to a reduction in the production of cortisol and other stress-causing neurotransmitters.
When you continue meditating for a considerably long time, your brain continues to transform, grow, and change positively. Neuroplasticity allows it to become aware of your responses and become aware of your habits and patterns more and more.
In this way, you can change your brain’s inherent ability to grow beyond time and space and make changes that say yes to calmness and no to anger no matter what.
Below are some of the changes that you experience when you practice meditation regularly –
- Focus on the positive outcomes rather than finding negative in every situation
- Respond rather than react
- Promoting a sense of accepting things as they are
- Become aware of your brain and body
- Notice your thought patterns and change them as and when needed
- Ability to cope with stress positively
- Broaden our minds and release self-defeating thoughts by replacing them with high-quality thinking
Does the Science Support Meditation?
There have been several studies that have proven that meditation has the power to change your brain! A new study observed that a single meditation session could reduce anger significantly, even if the person hasn’t meditated before.
In this study, researchers examined 15 new and 12 experienced meditators and measured their blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and other physical traits to check their anger.
The new meditators showed signs of problematic anger with high heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure.
However, within 20 minutes of meditating, the physical signs of anger reduced, and they felt more relaxed. Thus, it proves that meditation, whether done for the long term or short term, positively influences the brain and brings down anger in the most natural way.
A study published in 2018 in the journal Psychiatry Review revealed that individuals with generalized anxiety disorder showed a significant reduction in stress after participating in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program.
With so much evidence supporting meditation and its ability to reduce anger and other unwanted emotions, it is for best to give it a try. It’s free but invaluable.
How to meditate to reduce anger?
You can try the following steps to begin your meditation practice to release old energy and reduce anger –
- Sit in a comfortable position in a spacious room.
- It is helping you choose a sacred corner to meditate on every day.
- Set a solid intention to work through your anger and find calm before you meditate
- Close your eyes
- Rest your hands on your knees
- If you wish, come to shunya mudra.
- Become aware of your breath
- Now, breathe slowly but deeply.
- Once you are done breathing normally, switch to deep inhalation from your nostrils and complete exhalation from your nostrils or your mouth, whichever is comfortable.
- Allow your thoughts to come and go.
- Do not analyze your thoughts. Just breathe through them all.
- If thoughts interrupt your breathing cycle, get up, drink water and get back to meditation
- Try to count your inhalation and exhalation – this way, you will be able to keep your awareness of your breath.
- Do this for about half an hour at least
Anger meditation tips for beginners
First of all, if you are having difficulty sitting during the practice, know that it is absolutely normal, and we all have been through this stage – that’s because living with our current state has become so comfortable that our ego refuses to step above it.
We have researched and compiled a small list of anger meditation tips for beginners so that next time you have difficulty in meditating, you can try one or all of these.
- The voice of someone guiding you through the process is quite helpful. Thus, you can opt for a guided meditation before going deep into it.
- You can use calm and soothing music for your meditation practice. There are several apps available to help you with the same.
- Go for group meditations. The energy created during these meditations affects you positively and tricks your brain into thinking that you are not alone. It deepens the meditation as well.
- Don’t fight the anger when it comes up. Let it come to you, invite the feeling with love. When love is there, every other negative emotion or feeling is dissolved.
- Keep essential oils or scented candles with you when meditating. It reduces the stress or feelings of anxiety. The minute you feel uncomfortable, smell it deeply and then get back to your practice.
There is truly nothing better than the consistent practice of meditation to let go of all old and stuck energy and welcome the new and refreshing vibrations into your body. It might take weeks or months to release the pent-up anger and unresolved issues, but remember that everything is in the past.
Your brain doesn’t know your reality – so, give it a better, in fact, great one – give it the reality you want, and to have this, you will have to let go of anger by embracing meditation.
We hope this article has helped you to take the first step in a journey of mindfulness and meditation. Do let us know if there is any other information that you need in order to proceed on this path.
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