Over the course of years as a healthcare professional I have noticed that people seem to be angrier than in times past. I don’t know if it has to do with the abundance of stress that society is faced with on a daily basis or if we have just become angrier people. In Ayurveda, anger is associated with the element of fire and people of the Pitta Dosha tend to have more challenges with keeping the fire within them from sprouting into an angry rage.
Anger is an enchanting and complex emotion. It is the type of emotion that can spring forth from what appears to be nowhere. What seems like a sense of calm can in an instant become like a raging volcano when a trigger is activated and before you know it, the volcano has erupted like Mount Saint Helens. However you might be the type of person that has a slow burn style of anger that simmers and bubbles beneath the surface, only erupting in tiny bursts.
Anger is a fiery emotion. Even when it’s cold it requires a lot of energy. When we pay attention to how it feels in our body, we might notice a knot in our stomach, a clenched jaw or fist, tightness in our chest, shallowness in our breath and an increase in our heart rate. We may notice that the state of anger can strongly taint our thoughts and how we interpret the world in conjunction with our emotional element.
Deep within the anger, we may be storing feelings of rejection or inadequacy that causes us to see threats and injustices where no real threat exists. It helps to uncover and uproot these feelings and deeply held false views. At the same time, anger can have beneath it a wise and powerful protectiveness that can lead us to believe that we are enforcing a sense of justice in the face of someone wronging us. In fact, anger is so powerful that it can ruin any situation. If it is allowed to lurk inside us it becomes more spicy and intense and will make us sick. It is one of the most ugly and yet most powerful emotions that exist. It has astronomical power.
Rich, complex and powerful, anger benefits from contemplative time and reflection, which in turn can teach us a lot about what is truly going on beneath our outbursts. If you are prone to angry outburst or can’t seem to get a grip on the fire raging within, I suggest you follow this little exercise to help you get back on the cool track and calm the fire within. I call this exercise “Cooling the Flames.”
- When you notice yourself feeling angry and aggressive, turn your attention and awareness to how you are feeling. Where are you feeling the anger within your body? What is happening at that moment in time?
- Now take a few long, slow deep breaths allowing your abdominal area to fully expand and contract, taking 3-4 seconds to do this with each breath. Listen for your thoughts without adding to the inner dialogue, or trying to silence your thoughts. When you are offended, you’re usually holding onto a rigid definition of yourself. What are your thoughts saying to you?
- Now come back to observing how the anger is manifesting itself within your body and breath coolness into that part of your body. Observe what the anger may be trying to teach you at this moment. Is it self -compassion? Forgiveness? Or something else?
- Now affirm something that you want in the present moment that will calm the anger such as “ May I find the resources to understand and transform my anger,” or “May peace and calmness be restored within me now.”
Once you have completed the exercise, take another slow, long deep breath extending the breath to 5 seconds to seal off the volcano. Although it may take a little practice for you to get used to using this technique, keep at it because eventually you will notice, see and feel the tremendous benefits of utilizing the “Cooling of the Flames” technique. You will gain a greater sense of control and be able to align yourself with your natural, balanced and peaceful state.
When you are ready you can take the “Cooling of the Flames” to a deeper level by learning how to awaken bliss within you and your life. (www.awakeningbliss.com)
I welcome your comments below.
Wishing peace to your mind, wellness to your body and tranquility to your spirit!
Rochel Marie Lawson, RN,AHP,CMS
The Queen of Feeling Fabulous
Host of “Blissful Living”
Author of : “Intro to Holistic Health, Ayurveda Style”
Co Author of: “Answering The Call, ” “Rapid Change For Heart Centered Women” and “The Live Sassy Formula”