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Can Anger Be Controlled?

How to rise above anger - By Anandmurti Gurumaa

Reading time: 3 minutes

A big misconception is that anger can be 'controlled'. However, that's far from the truth. Anger is like a fireball; it is bound to burn once out.

Suppose you have got an urge to cough. Can you stop it? Similarly, when anger comes, it comes with all its might and doesn't stop midway. Akin to a raging typhoon, before you could even try to 'control' things, the strong currents have already swept you away- far and wide.

Thus, we need to work on preemptive measures that prevent anger from arising in the first place. Simply put, anger management has to be done before the anger manifests.

But how can we do that? What is the way to prepare oneself for an anger-free mind?

Well, there are a few yogic techniques that, with consistent practice, can help you get to the state where those sudden bouts of burning rage begin to lose ground- albeit slowly.

Deep Breathing
The first way is to diligently follow a morning and evening regimen where you sit silently for 20-30 minutes with the spine erect. While seated comfortably, continue to breathe deeply. Inhale a long breath, slow and gentle; exhale a long breath, slow and gentle. Try to make the inhalation and exhalation of equal length. Thus, if you inhale to a count of 5, exhale to a count of 5. If your mind is particularly agitated or restless, exhale through the mouth while inhaling through the nose. Breathing should be gentle and smooth such that the breath doesn't make any sound while breathing in and out.

It's a pretty simple exercise. There is nothing technical here, and not at all difficult to follow. But you know what? This simple exercise is going to feel challenging in the beginning. Why? Because the mind is habituated to running amok. It will keep straying from the breath practice. The key lies in continuing the practice- even when you feel like quitting.

Just watch the breath going in and out without getting lost in thoughts. As you start witnessing the breath, you will notice that it will gradually deepen, and the racing mind will start slowing down.

When you are in extreme anger, your nervous system is under stress. As a result, your blood pressure shoots up and your respiration rate surges. Anger makes your breathing shallow and fast. It upsets the body's metabolic activities, and the rush of adrenaline and cortisol adversely affects your bodily systems.

The one who fumes with rage always creates more trouble for himself. Remember, at least for your own sake, stop getting angry. Breath observation is a key to that. When your breathing is deep and slow, it is difficult for anger to arise. Experiment for yourself and see the results.

OM Chanting
Another way of attaining a calm and composed mind is to practice 'OM' chanting while sitting cross-legged comfortably. Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, do a long chant of OM.

Keep your eyes closed and your spine erect, keeping all your focus on the breath. Observe when it travels to the chest, followed by the stomach. Notice the expansion and contraction of the chest-stomach region with the effect of the incoming and outgoing breath.

When you chant OM, its resounding vibrations calm your neurons. A study on this was conducted at a leading University in the U.S.A. As the subject chanted OM, an EEG was taken. The graph revealed that when the practice continued for more than 20 mins, OM vibrations favourably affected the brain's cognitive, emotional and speech areas. A beneficial effect was also seen on the pulse rate and blood pressure.

Anger is like burning coal that seethes one's own mind. So, why would we want to harm ourselves? By following these simple morning and evening practices, not only will the habit of fretting and fuming slowly wane away, but the concentration levels of the mind will also begin to improve. In time, the positive effects will manifest in the body, and the mind will become tranquil. And a peaceful mind is best equipped to deal with the ups and downs of life.


Anandmurti Gurumaa

An awakened being and a contemporary spiritual master, Anandmurti Gurumaa continues to guide thousands of people worldwide on the path of yoga.