Mindfulness Activity #82
You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger (Buddha)
Good Morning. Today’s mindfulness practice is focused on anger. Many people are feeling a lot of anger these days. Anger is justified. It makes sense. Nevertheless, we might need to address anger in order to keep it from damaging us—in order to keep us from getting stuck in hopelessness, despair, or self-destructive behaviors that help us avoid fully connecting with anger.
Sitting with anger and acknowledging anger releases the person feeling the anger from suffering. Being stuck in anger for long periods of time creates suffering. Prolonged anger affects the body in the same way that fear does. It depletes the immune system. It is part of the body’s response to trauma. Recent research appears to support the hypothesis that at least some of the adverse health outcomes experienced by people of color are directly attributable to the effects of racism and its emotional consequences.
Understand that acknowledging and accepting anger is not the same thing as being okay with the thing that has made you angry. It is simply connecting to the experience of being angry. When one connects physically, emotionally, and thoughtfully to anger, anger is transformed. Accepting anger allows tension to be released and increases our capacity to respond. It helps us to feel less helpless in the face of things that are upsetting.
So for today’s practice, begin by settling in and calling to mind the last time you felt anger, or something that makes you so angry that the feeling just sticks with you. Breathe deeply and just notice the thoughts and body sensations that arise. Now, you may choose to click to the following link for a guided mindfulness practice (8.5 minutes) or if you know the half-smile practice, you can practice breathing and half-smiling while angry (my favorite practice for anger).
Later on today, try to identify any times you notice the same physical sensation of anger you felt at the start of this practice. Whenever you feel those sensations, or when you notice judgmental thoughts, gently acknowledge the feeling and the fact that the feeling is justified. Then, take a breath and let the feeling pass.
I wish you a peaceful day!