Self-Help Advice That Works
What to Try: Recognize anger (instead of what's making you angry).
"Let's say a rush of intense anger overtakes you," writes meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg. Normally, as she explains in Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace, we think about the person or thing that made us mad (for example, "They did this, so I'm going to do that and my vengeful act will destroy them!") or we beat ourselves up (for example, "I'm such a terrible person, I'm so awful. I can't believe I'm so angry. I've been in therapy for 10 years. How could I still be angry?") But what if you could take human beings out of the equation? What if the first thing you said was, "Oh...this is anger." Identifying the feeling allows you to look at the anger (not you or the other person) and, as Salzberg writes, this decreases its power to take over our minds since we stop being busy reacting. What we notice, she adds, is that anger is not just one thing; it is made up of moments of sadness, moments of fear, moments of frustration, moments of panic. Understanding that it is many different things also allows for many different ways to end it.