Anger management: Know it to control it

Anger is one of the major causes resulting in stress and failure. Those who easily get angry often feel tired and terrible. It is so difficult for them to tame their anger. The inability to control anger usually leads to undesirable consequences. So, this has always been such a great concern that many people ask the question: “Are there any tips for anger management?”

Are there any tips for anger management?
Are there any tips for anger management?

 

More than 2,500 years ago, the Buddha—the Enlightened One, taught us many methods to control our mind and overcome challenges in life. About anger management, He also showed us some useful methods that help us not only to stop feeling angry but also to find peace of mind. 

What is anger?

Anger is a natural and common emotion that is experienced by everyone. It can be defined as a strong unpleasant feeling that occurs when you think someone is interrupting, looking down on you or doing something against your will. In Buddhism, anger can be understood as a state that comes from your inner mind. It may make you want to hurt others, thereby probably harbouring resentment. 

Two main causes of anger

As the world has developed at a greater pace, you always feel the urge to unceasingly try to achieve success, which simultaneously puts a lot of pressure on you. Therefore, it is easy to understand why people get angry more often. There are many reasons and philosophies explaining anger, but from the Buddhist point of view, there are two main causes which clarify the very essence of anger as follows:

First, we lack empathy with others. It is a truth that each of us has an ego. We tend to want everyone to approve, support and do what we request without caring what others think or whether our requests are appropriate. As long as what someone did is up to our expectations, we will be pleased. On the contrary, if someone did against our will, we would get angry immediately. Under some circumstances, we even no longer want to know the reasons and listen to the explanations. According to Buddhism, it is said that due to the lack of empathy with others, we do not want to listen and forgive them. In this way, we become even more selfish.

People cannot stop feeling angry without empathy
People cannot stop feeling angry without empathy

 

Second, we find it hard to control our mind. When it comes to anger, we always blame external factors for our problems but we hardly ever reflect on ourselves. As mentioned above, according to Buddhism, anger is derived from our mind. In the Dhammapada, the Buddha once taught: “Mind is the forerunner of states. Mind is chief; mind-made are they.” Our mind decides our thoughts, actions and speech. As a result, whether we are angry or happy depends on our mind. If we cannot control our mind well, we will not be able to calm down and then easily get angry when confronting unexpected situations such as failure, disrespect, etc. Also, increasing work pressure causes our anger. Besides, our mind also decides our empathy. We will have empathy with others if our mind is open and full of compassion. Hence, our mind is the main factor resulting in anger.

Bad consequences of lacking anger management

Anger is a state of mind that affects us in many ways. To be more detailed, we divide into two main points: health and life. 

Anger harms our mental health and causes some diseases. Those who are full of anger tend to have negative thoughts and be ready to drop. Alongside, some people always feel displeased and even want to hurt others. In a Dharma talk about how to put an end to anger, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh shared: “Anger makes us lose energy. It produces harmful hormones in our body, thus making us older and uglier.”  Moreover, such diseases as high blood pressure, heart attack or cancer also stem from anger to a certain extent.

Family conflicts resulting from a lack of anger management
Family conflicts resulting from a lack of anger management

 

Besides affecting everyone’s health, getting angry has serious effects on our lives, too. Everyone all strives to build up good relationships; however, it is anger that can damage them so quickly. When we cannot stop feeling angry and control our mind, we can have hurtful words to others. At the office, we may hurt our colleagues or our employees. In daily life, we can lose our friends and we even can break up our happy family. Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh taught that if a wife is always grumbling and frowning at her husband, it will create great tension in the family, which does not make it home and a peaceful place anymore. So, getting angry with others means that we are pushing them away. Furthermore, anger brings about the wrong decisions that are detrimental to our success. Hence, there are many consequences that we have to suffer just because of our anger. Are there any methods to tame our anger according to the Buddhist’s view?

03 effective tips for anger management

Let’s take a look at the 3 ways that we can do to keep anger under control.

#1 Practise meditation to tame your anger

Nowadays, meditation is a popular method that helps us control our mind as well as find peace of mind. Also, meditation is extremely beneficial in combating anger. In some Japanese companies, their staff often spend 15 minutes every morning practising meditation before starting a new working day to calm their mind. Practising meditation not only reduces stress and fatigue but also helps calm our mind and relieve anxiety and insecurity. Besides, meditation helps improve our concentration and emotion management.

Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh instructing on meditation
Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh instructing on meditation

 

Especially, according to Buddhism, meditation helps us see our mind, analyse the situation and then put an end to anger. In a Dharma talk about meditation in the Summer Retreat 2018 at Ba Vang Pagoda, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh shared: “If you have practised meditation, you will be aware of your mind of anger when you are angry with someone.  Otherwise, if you haven’t practised meditation before, you might get into a fight or have some vulgar words when getting angry. However, with meditation, you will recognise your angry mind and thus not be controlled by it.” For those reasons, an effective way for anger management is to practise meditation and control your mind.

Practising meditation – An effective way of anger management
Practising meditation – An effective way of anger management

 

#2 Practise the mind of compassion to stop feeling anger

Buddhism is the religion that advocates for the mind of compassion. The Buddha also taught His disciples to practise the mind of compassion which will help everyone empathise and forgive others. Being a Buddhist Monk for over 20 years, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh taught: We are angry at someone mainly because we do not understand them and we lack empathy with them. Therefore, we need to cultivate empathy with other people, which is called compassion and forgiveness in Buddhism. Be sympathetic, loving and forgiving!”

Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh doing charity in a mountainous area

Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh doing charity in a mountainous area

#3 Some tips for temporary anger management

In addition to the two ways above, these are two small tips you can practise when feeling angry:

  1. Breathe in and out deeply
  2. Go for a walk

Anger management is a process that everyone needs to learn to keep their temper. Comprehending the definition, causes and consequences of anger, we should practise meditation and the mind of compassion following the Buddha’s teachings through the lessons by Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh to live a healthy and enjoyable life. 

References:

  1. “The Dhammapada, v.01”, translated by Venerable NARADA, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 1963, 1971.
  2. “05 tips any wife should know for family happiness”, a Dharma talk in Hang Thuan ceremony, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh, 2019.
  3. “The youth explore the garden of the mind”, a Dharma talk in the monthly one-day retreat of Ba Vang Youth Club, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh, 2019.
  4. “Meditation and its benefits to schooling”, a Dharma talk in Summer Retreat 2018, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh, 2018.

Read more:

Keys to effective stress management

How to achieve mindfulness and awareness? – Ba Vang Talks: Special Episode 6

The importance of patient endurance in Buddhism practice

The Buddhist Way to Peace of Mind

Year-end charity programmes of Ba Vang Pagoda

 

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