Managing anger effectively is a surefire way to increase your emotional quotient (EQ). This, however, is not a cake walk. We often think of anger only in terms of saying something nasty or doing something violent but anger is not just at the level of word or action; it begins at the level of thoughts. So if we have to tackle anger, we have to remove it at all the three levels — thought, word and action. 5 ways to control anger:
1 Allow room for imperfection: We need to wake up and realise that the world is not obligated to work as per our script. There is uncertainty in the world and there is imperfection. The more we can accept the world and its people without a constant desire to change them, the lesser we get angry.
2Breathe!! It is fascinating to note that every emotion has a corresponding breath pattern. Have you noticed how you breathe when you are angry? Your breath becomes short and fast. Now, at the moment the emotion of anger is slowly beginning to rise up in you, just train yourself to take 10 deep breaths. You will instantly observe a change in the way you feel. This is a sure shot way of dealing with anger.
Anger is about something which has already happened, something in the past. You can’t be angry about the future. Our breath is always in the present moment. So the moment the awareness is taken to the breath, the mind comes in the present moment and chances of not getting carried away in the emotion of anger become very high.
3Do Yoga, meditation and exercise — every single day! You can’t start digging a well when your house is already on fire! So if you truly want to avoid getting into a situation where your anger gets the better of you, the approach has to be preventive. It’s said "Heyam Dukham Anagatam" which means that Yoga helps in preventing sorrow that is yet to come. From my personal experience, I know this is true. I used to be a very short tempered guy and thought my anger issues could never be fixed. But once I started meditating on an everyday basis, I realised how quickly my anger disappeared. Even if I did get angry, it lasted only a few minutes. Physical exercise/sports, too, help in channelising the negative energy into positive one.
4Watch your food. You are what you eat. Your emotions depend on what's inside your system. So if your diet is light, vegetarian and easily digestible food items, chances of not feeling extreme emotions are higher. Too much spice and sugar can aggravate anger.
5Watch your company: There is a huge impact of your company on the way you think and behave. This is no new news to us and yet we ignore this information. In the formative years of life, if we spend time around people who take pride in anger and violence, then unconsciously we start feeling these are acceptable behaviour patterns and we unknowingly imitate them too.
Now, let’s also keep in mind that there is a difference between getting angry and showing anger! Once in a while, we might need to ‘show’ anger. That’s all right. But feeling angry from within is only harmful for our own self.
Also, it is very important to not get angry at yourself for getting angry! Forgive yourself, learn and move on. Everyone gets angry, what matters is how long do you stay angry and how much it impacts you. If you draw a line on water, how long would it stay? Its ok to stay angry that long.
So how about taking a resolve — Today I commit to having an 'Anger-free day'
— The writer is a TEDx speaker and an international meditation teacher with AOL Foundation
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