In many spiritual traditions anger is seen as negative, something to release. It has a negative connotation and it is seen as lacking spirituality. Psychology perceives getting in touch with your anger as essential to releasing it and dealing with previous or current injuries. Using a combination of mindfuness, compassion, and present moment attention can assist you in shifting your relationship with anger.
Anger is a powerful emotion. When you are angry your heartrate increases, you have more access to breath, and can activate your voice and body with heightened power and strength. You feel more powerful. This is an essential component of the fight, flight, or freeze sensory guidance system built within our spirit, mind, and body network. Anger triggers a reaction and increases your ability to move, take action, and shift out of a dangerous situation. This does create an increased sense of internal power; it also allows you to act in ways that are inconsistent with mindfulness, compassion, and loving kindness. Both components are true.
The most effective way to eradicate anger as desired in many spiritual traditions, or release your angry behavior is to use it as a guide back to center, back to balance. Anger can be a powerful teacher about yourself, your needs, your boundaries, and your misalignments. Breath can be an effective way to increase your attention into the present moment when anger presents itself.
This network of connections between the feeling of anger and your capacity to act is essential for survival. Our interconnected system is designed to be able to utilize the shift in energy to survive. The more common issue is not one of survival though, it is an act that may need to be taken to reset, or rebalance for an increased experience of thriving.
1. Think of anger as the alarm that is set off when a boundary is crossed in your spirtual, emotional, phyiscal network.
2. The alarm is tripped to alert you that a boundary has been crossed.
3. Anger is best dealt with in a manner smilar to your home alarm system – the alarm gets tripped (the feeling of anger) and then you turn off the alarm (identify you are angry, and then let it go, release it).
4. Next, use your heightened neutral cognitive and physical skills to ascertain what boundary was crossed (look underneath the anger for the misalignment).
5. Then you respond to that boundary crossing in a way consistent with the problem. Ie: you may decide to change how you are transitioning, you may look at how you are relating, you may even consider reforming a relationship, activity, or work situation.
In each of these examples the anger identifies a lack of balance that is in some way interpreted as an injury to you – through present moment, mindful attention you can see/feel underneath the anger to determine which misalignment needs to be righted.
If you keep the alarm blarring (remain in the angry state) then it is significantly more difficult to ascertain the problem because of the nagging negativity and irritability of the blaring alarm. This can be like a habit of anger reactions that keep you in a loop of negative patterns that are disruptive, disconnected, and unbalanced.
Anger can be utilized as a powerful teacher. Through its guidance you may discover important missing pieces in your integrated self. It can provide salient advice when you are willing to focus your mindful, compassionate, present moment attention onto your feeling of anger, its trigger and the threads of connections between these.
It is a paradigm shift to befriend your anger and perceive it as a sage guide. Think of this as a way to utilize the idea of an inversion in yoga to shift the entire mechanism and send fresh new energy into all the areas of your spirit, mind, and body system.
Re-framing anger, and using it as a way to cue you to a problem, is an effective way to reduce and erradicate anger from your reaction patterning, so that you may find ways to be whole, and loving in each step in your life.