Self-Control

How to Handle Anger – A Mindfulness Exercise from Thich Nhat Hanh

How to Handle Anger

Learning how to handle anger is a crucial skill not only for managing relationships with others, but for managing the relationship you have with yourself as well.  

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Anger is an unpleasant feeling.  It is like a blazing flame that burns up our self-control and causes us to say and do things that we regret later.  When someone is angry, we can see clearly that he or she is abiding in hell.  Anger and hatred are the materials from which hell is made.  A mind without anger is cool, fresh, and sane.  The absence of anger is the basis of real happiness, the basis of love and compassion.

When our anger is placed under the lamp of mindfulness, it immediately begins to lose some of its destructive nature.  We can say to ourselves, “Breathing in, I know that anger is in me.  Breathing out, I know that I am my anger.”  If we follow our breathing closely while we identify and mindfully observe our anger, it can no longer monopolize our consciousness.

Awareness can be called upon to be a companion for our anger.  Our awareness of our anger does not suppress it or drive it out.  It just looks after it.  This is a very important principle.  Mindfulness is not a judge.  It is more like an older sister looking after and comforting her younger sister in an affectionate and caring way.  We can concentrate on our breathing in order to maintain this mindfulness and know ourselves fully.

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“It takes courage, of course, to step out of the fray, as it takes courage to do anything that’s necessary, whether tending to a loved one on her deathbed or turning away from that sugarcoated doughnut. And with billions of our global neighbors in crying need, with so much in every life that has to be done, it can sound selfish to take a break or go off to a quiet place. But as soon as you do sit still, you find that it actually brings you closer to others, in both understanding and sympathy. As the meditative video artist Bill Viola notes, it’s the man who steps away from the world whose sleeve is wet with tears for it.” ~ Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness

Overcoming the Pain of Self-Discipline and How to Follow Your Plans, Not Your Emotions.

Follow Your Plans Not Your Emotions.

As humans, we are wired to seek pleasure and to avoid pain.

What’s, “pleasurable?”

Cookies; Nutella; and Netflix.

Soft couches; sleeping in; and social media.

What’s, “painful?”

Push-ups; Lettuce; and Cardio.

Reading books; rising early; and writing blogs.

When given the choice, instinctually speaking, we will choose cookies over push-ups.

Or Netflix over cardio.

Or social media over writing blogs.

Unless we learn learn the power of delaying gratification.

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“Don’t fight with yourself.  Then you have one less enemy.  How can you control anyone else if you can’t control yourself?” ~ Chow Hung-Yuen

 

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