Photo: Courtesy of Ed and Deb Shapiro
Meditation is very important here because it invites you not only to witness anger, but also to get to know and make friends with yourself. It gives you a midpoint between expressing anger and repressing it, a place where you can voice your feelings with awareness and acceptance. It also gives you the ability to see your feelings and not be swept away by them, even to see anger before it affects you.
Meditation is not a cure-all—it is not going to make all your difficulties go away or suddenly transform your weaknesses into strengths, but it does enable you to rest in an inclusive acceptance of who you are. This does not make you perfect, simply more fully human.
Cooling Anger Meditation
Before you start this practice and the heat of anger is still with you, breathe into your anger: Breathe in deeply, and with each out-breath, release and blow out your feelings. Then, to calm and resolve your feelings, do the following:
Sit comfortably, take a deep breath and let it go. Focus your attention on your breathing and, more specifically, on where you are breathing. During heated exchanges, we usually breathe very shallow and rapid breaths, high in the upper part of the chest. By calming your breathing, you will also calm your nerves, blood pressure and emotions.
Now bring your breathing down into your mid-chest area, which means breathing more deeply and slowly. Do this for a few minutes, then try to move your breathing even farther down, so you are taking even deeper and longer breaths into your belly. Stay here for a few minutes, as your whole being cools down.
When you are fully chilled, bring your breathing back up to the chest area, and see if you can breathe naturally there, without having to go higher into your upper chest.
Don't Even Pick It Up
In our relationship, we have added a few more ways to work with anger. We are all familiar with the phrase "Let it go," but this can be difficult when it comes to anger, even though holding on just causes further pain and grief. Through awareness, you have learned to let go as it arises. Once something has been expressed and fully acknowledged, immediately move on.
But our favorite is not to even pick it up in the first place! Thank goodness for meditation!
Ed and Deb Shapiro are the authors of Be The Change, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World. They are featured weekly contributors to Oprah.com, HuffingtonPost.com and Care2.com. Ed and Deb write Sprint's The Daily CHILLOUT inspirational text messages. They have three meditation CDs: Metta: Loving Kindness and Forgiveness, Samadhi: Breath Awareness and Insight and Yoga Nidra: Inner Conscious Relaxation. Deb is also the author of the best-selling book Your Body Speaks Your Mind, winner of the 2007 Visionary Book Award.
Keep Reading More from Ed and Deb Shapiro:
Why meditation can strengthen the bond between you and your partner
Get a self-esteem boost!
Calm your mind with meditation