4. See Your Mind: Meditation
Meditation and mindfulness practices can be extremely beneficial in combating anger. Many people might see meditation as a waste of time – why spend 20 minutes sitting on a cushion when we can be making the most of our day, right? Others think that meditation is a nice escape from real-life, where we can spend time away from the children/emails/husband/wife.
But meditation is so much more – it’s preparation for real-life. It’s no good if we meditate on compassion every morning, but as soon as we get to work, we shout at our employees and complain about our colleagues.
Meditation familiarizes our mind with positive thoughts – patience, love, compassion – and it’s something that we can do anywhere, anytime. If we spend half an hour of our morning commute listening to our favorite tunes, the least we can do is spend ten minutes of that time generating thoughts of loving-kindness for others – something that’s effective at reducing anger and making us into a person that others want to be around.
5. Bow Down: Learn from Your Enemy
Buddhism often teaches us to do precisely the opposite of what we’d normally do. When we’re angry with someone, our urge is get revenge. The result? We’re left just as, if not more, miserable than before. It seems counterintuitive, but doing the opposite gives the opposite result: the path to happiness.
It sounds crazy, but think about taking your object of anger as your teacher. If we want to become better – that is, more patient, more loving, kinder, happier people – then we need to practice. We all know that it takes time and effort to become a world-class football player or violinist, so why would it be any different with our mental exercises? If we’re always surrounded by people who do and agree with everything we want, we’ll never have any challenges.
In this way, the person we’re angry with becomes extremely precious, giving us the opportunity to really practice patience. This immediately stems the rising tide of angry feelings, because it changes our perspective from what they’ve done to us, to what they’re doing for us.