Anger is uncomfortable—but it’s also addictive! In tough situations, anger emerges as a defense mechanism, a tool to help you energize so you can handle whatever catalyzed the feeling. We convince ourselves again and again, whenever we get angry, that the inner fire of anger will help us deal with whatever or whoever injured us. Little do we know that we often injure ourselves even more deeply by allowing the toxicity to take over.
We can intervene in moments of anger, as we learn that letting anger control us is often the greatest enemy of all.
The good news is that we can intervene in moments of anger, as we learn that letting anger control us is often the greatest enemy of all. So the next time you are in a situation that sparks a reaction of anger, try out this practice of self-intervention.
A Practice to Turn from Anger to Love
- Recognize your anger as it arises. Suppressing anger just makes the feeling more intense and insurmountable.
- Consider whether there is anything concrete you can do or say to make the situation better (such as leaving the room where a heated conversation took place, or taking a walk to cool down).
- If there’s nothing you can do in the moment, keep your attention on the simple recognition of your anger. The simple gesture of directing your mind to managing the situation with mindfulness prevents you from tunnel vision. This is an act of self-care.
- If it feels impossible to tolerate the discomfort of your anger, try opening your perspective. Think of all the things you’re grateful for in the moment. This may help you change your perception of the situation at hand.
- Believe it or not, accepting ourselves—angry as we may be—is an act of compassion, of love. These moments will always come and go again and again. The greatest question, then, to ask is, how can I alchemize this anger into some act of love?