“If your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom?”
I knew I needed to change. That’s when I decided to become a “Zen Mama”.
What’s the motivation to stop being angry? It’s one of the best ways to happiness for you and the people in your life.
• Anger puts others on the defense.
• It shames and humiliates them.
• It can lead to anxiety.
• Anger can give you health problems.
• Anger causes guilt.
Anger is a form of suffering because the angry individual suffers as well as his or her victims. The word anger itself comes from the Latin term “to strangle”. Anger is like a poison. Patience is the most important antidote for anger. We all have ways to access patience. For some it’s counting to 100. For others, it’s leaving the situation for a moment. To feel anger is to be human. Nobody is perfect. You will find yourself a little happier if you wait a short time to say something that you might regret later.
Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk, puts this perfectly:
“When you express your anger you think that you are getting anger out of your system, but that’s not true,” he said. “When you express your anger, either verbally or with physical violence, you are feeding the seed of anger, and it becomes stronger in you. Only understanding and compassion can neutralize anger.”
Now we all get angry and there are different degrees of anger. I’m not going to ask you not to get angry. I’m going to ask you to change your habits so that neither you nor the person you are getting angry at is burned.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
Here are some ways to bring compassion and understanding into your life and help you to change your reaction. These are small steps that will lead you toward calm:
1. Try surprising someone by not getting angry at what you normally get angry about.
2. Try stopping yourself just before you get mad.
3. See two sides of the story.
4. Hug the child/loved one you’re angry at.
5. When angry with a person, think of why you like them.
6. If you’re angry, put your hand over your heart.
7. Make a gratitude list of all the good things in your life. Look at this when the anger is bubbling.
8. Write a list of ways to solve this anger without an explosion.
9. Take time in silence, without reliving the issue that is making you mad.
10. Change negative thinking/talk to positive.
11. Listen to music you love. It will bring you to a very happy place.
12. Send people love even if they don’t deserve it. That’s when they need it most!
13. Give yourself “angry time” (10-15 minutes) and then go on to something productive.
14. Breathe deeply when the anger creeps in.
15. When you wake up, remind yourself that each day is a clean slate to start fresh. Think good thoughts.
16. See what you can change as a challenge, a fun adventure rather than a burden.
17. Exercise. Get moving whether it’s walking or weights, you’ll always feel better.
18. Eat delicious healthy food as a little treats. (but do not binge on some junk that will make you feel guilty later).
19. Read positive quotes.
20. Take a walk in nature. Watch sunsets (or sunrises if you’re an early bird). Contemplate the stars. It’s harder to be angry while in nature.
21. Do talk about your feelings after the anger has subsided.
ONE LAST THING: Trust that everything is happening the way it is supposed to. You just may not know why yet.
Now that I’ve let go of getting angry for the past 6 years, I hardly ever feel it inside. At first I just acted like a Zen Mama and then I actually became one. That’s not to say I haven’t felt angry at times when I first started but I have changed my reaction. And after a few years, I found that I just didn’t even feel angry inside any more. What a relief for me and the people in my life!
You can stop, too. Just decide to try and you’re 1/2 way there! If you have any other ways that work for keeping anger at bay, please share in the comments below.