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Yoga and Anger Management 

By Arun Goel

Almost all of us experience anger at some point or the other. Rather than get into a monologue of why anger occurs, I will try to touch upon why we should overcome it and how it can be done.

Why should anger be overcome?

Anger destroys the peace of mind: One constantly undergoes mental turmoil, uneasiness and frustration when anger is experienced. This disturbed mind is akin to a rudderless boat in a stormy ocean, being tossed around from place to place without it being able to focus on the task or destination ahead.

Anger is terrible for health: Besides symptoms of high blood pressure, ulceration etc., anger is invariably accompanied by stress, which is often referred to as the silent killer. The medical community is also coming around to the view that stress forms the basis of about 90% of all health disorders.

Anger causes hurt: Besides hurting the person whom it is targeted at (emotionally or physically), anger can boomerang causing an even deeper and longer lasting self-hurt in the form of repentance and remorse. Moreover, acts of anger invariably result in resentment and portray you as a highly egoistic person.

There may be many more 'incentives' to overcome anger but the above are enough to make you give a serious shot at tackling the problem.

Conventional remedies

Commonly preached remedies focus on the following ways of 'curing' anger :

Suppression: Quick-fix ways like "take a deep breath unto the count of 10" etc. come under this category. These, only provide a temporary respite (if at all). Honestly, these methods actually undermine our intelligence. As if to say, our mind is going to be taken in by some kind of breath control gimmick!

Expression: I was told that, in Japan, there is a concept of 'stress bars' where you can take out your anger, frustration and stress by throwing objects and redeeming your frustration through these physical acts. These 'pseudo' expressive techniques can seldom be successful, as they do not take into account the complexity of the mind.

Diversion: Involving yourself in an activity that keeps you away from the source of anger is often suggested as a way out. However, more likely than not, the 'ignored' anger will return with a greater vengeance in due course.

In fact, suppression and diversion can be compared to the indiscriminate filling of your grocery bag (the mind) with objects. Up to a point, it is fine; however, there will come a point, where the bag can hold no more and will 'snap' destroying the bag completely as well as everything around. Similarly, these are dangerous techniques that can result in irreparable damage to your brain.

The way out

Various spiritual leaders and faiths such as Buddhism, show us a way out. Significantly, yoga teachings provide similar solutions and also show the way to make these solutions a part of our personality.

The first step at anger management is - do not resist and do not ignore the cause of anger. Experience it fully.

What do we mean? It implies that one should develop an attitude of an observer or a witness. Learn to change your role from being the subject to becoming a bystander. See how the anger is operating. See what it is doing to your mind and how. When faced by an anger causing action, immediately get into the mode of exploring and rationalizing:
Why am I getting irritated?
What kind of thought pattern is forming in my mind as a consequence of this action?
Why is it that I am feeling like this?

Continue to go deeper and deeper with the "whys" and "more whys".

When you start doing this, two things start happening:

You start seeing the deeper 'subconscious' elements that form the foundation of your conscious mind. It is these elements that shape your personality without you even realizing it. Just like you can see the bottom of the pond in all its beauty only when the waters are still, similarly, you start seeing the deeper elements in your mind and understanding them better.

Once you reach these elements, you resolve the deepest of neuroses and complexities of the mind. These automatically remove the cause of anger. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how you are no longer provoked by the automatic triggers of the past.

Without fighting your anger, you start training your mind to develop a witness-like attitude. This observer attitude results in the anger dissipating.

You start seeing some wonderful perspectives. You start appreciating that it is not necessarily the desire of the person to hurt you - getting angry is YOUR response. You realize that a person is seeing the situation from his point of view to the best of his intellectual and emotional capability - he may not be quite 'capable enough' to appreciate your point of view. This is only natural - because individuals are built in different ways. After all, aren't you showing similar traits when you are getting angry!

Developing this observer attitude is NOT difficult. Yoga also has some very powerful tools in the form of "antar mouna" meditation techniques that help you cultivate this attitude. Moreover, as you start reaping the wonderful fruits of such an attitude, such a behavioral pattern only gets reinforced.

Over time, with such an attitude, you will see that not only do you get angry less often, but also each brush with an unpleasant situation provides a remarkable opportunity to know your subconscious mind in a better way. Every such insight brings you one step closer to the supreme goal - that is, Enlightenment (perpetual Bliss).

All the best,
Arun Goel

Courtesy: Health and Yoga, a popular website that helps you find natural solutions for complete health and detoxification. Discover health and beauty…. Naturally!!

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