When I started meditating I had a real anger in me, and I would take this out on my first wife. Two weeks after I started meditating, this anger lifted.
David Lynch, Film Director
Do you find it difficult to rein in your anger?
What is anger?
Fundamentally it is a perceived incitement by someone or something that is dealt with in such a way that we are pushed towards total loss of control.
“People feel angry when they sense that they or someone they care about has been offended, when they are certain about the nature and cause of the angering event, when they are certain someone else is responsible, and when they feel they can still influence the situation or cope with it” – International Handbook on Anger.
Where does it come from?
For hundreds of thousands of years, one of our primary concerns was to save ourselves from danger, and evolution dictated that we had an incredibly responsive fight or flight response to help us do this. This is critical when we need it to overcome life or death, but otherwise, the elevated heart rates to stimulate blood flow in our muscles, the flood of adrenaline and noradrenaline through our systems cause our bodies and minds to become overwhelmed. Because of the overtly stimulating nature of modern existence, we find that we unwittingly perceive many everyday challenges as threats to our existence, and this invokes our inborn aggressive tendencies. This causes us to need to vent, and that vent is anger.
How does anger affect us?
There are direct correlations between anger, unsustainably elevated heart rates and high blood pressure, as well as an overactive nervous system, even when at rest.
Without a healthy strategy to cope with this, we cannot avoid taking out our frustration on those around us; typically a loved one, subordinate, or both. Deep down we realise that we have responded more aggressively than is justified, even if it has helped us to relieve some of the pressure.
Is it at least effective?
At a physical level, getting angry can be a useful form of short-term release. Unfortunately, we can also be less trusting of people and their motives, less likely to give praise and more inclined to blame negative outcomes on people’s flaws rather than the influencing circumstances.
Because angry people are inclined to make risky and hasty decisions “in order to get things done” in the mistaken belief that there is a benefit in their anger, things tend to go wrong making them angrier with themselves and those around them, unless, of course, they can find a whipping boy. Even Sun Tzu, the great artist of war, was adamant that decisions should always be cool-headed if we are to succeed.
Anger leads to poor health – not only a high risk of a cardiovascular event, but it increases our mortality rate as a whole, affecting our immune systems and leaving us wide open to all types of diseases. If our health is compromised, we are no longer effective.
Anger may cause us to lose not only the respect of others but also friends and loved ones. It’s this unfortunate outcome that leads many people to seek anger management help, often too late to save their relationships.
Can I train myself to be less angry?
A person who has a tendency towards anger cannot be expected to consciously control it as the unconscious reactions are just too powerful. This makes conscious means, such as therapy, really difficult as the anger response is totally involuntary.
Anger repression is even more damaging to our health than unadulterated venting. What we need is a technique for anger management that can enable us to veer away from the point of no return, and effectively deal with the neurological and physiological imbalances and patterns which support the reaction.
Anger management help through Vedic meditation
Vedic meditation provides effective anger management help by calming the nervous system to a level not normally achieved, even in sleep. This precipitates the rebalance of all the body systems and the calming of the over-active “fight or flight” response.
We become more able to distinguish between non-threatening and threatening situations as a result of our improved cognitive processes and perceptual capabilities. We find that we are less threatened by life and as a result, we become less hostile.
Our blood pressure starts to fall within normal levels, our heart rate steadies and we feel less edgy. We find that we feel able to look beyond our hurts and are less affronted and insulted by life due to the normalising of the steroid hormones which have been in over-drive for so long.
This kind of anger management help will enable us to build more refined patterns of behaviour, enabling us to tread more lightly through life. Our personal and working relationships will improve as a direct result of our greater empathy, compassion, awareness, and understanding, and we will become more trusting as a result of being able to read situations and people with much more clarity.
At the start of meditating in the Vedic way, we will find it a great strategy for calming ourselves if stressed, but significantly we soon find ourselves moving beyond this and are no longer subject to the buildup of pressure.
I've been doing this for three weeks and I'm not getting fixated on things that make me cross!! I'm a much less angry person and I'm loving it!