One of the questions I encounter the most is how to control anger, especially when other people keep doing things that trigger it.

Managing anger is another area where actively applying the principals of meditation is at least as important as actively meditating.

The first step to anger management is to understand where the anger is coming from.

What we normally call “thinking” involves choosing how to interpret what we experience, and then choosing how to react to our own interpretation. We’re constantly making these two choices over and over again.

Because we only ever react to our own interpretations, nobody else can really trigger our anger. We trigger it ourselves as a reaction to our interpretation.

The “triggers” are there because becoming angry has become an auto-pilot mental habit under some circumstances. The good news is that we can change our habitual mental patterns by recognizing them for what they are and not acting on them. For instance, as you find yourself becoming angry remind yourself that it’s just happening because of a mental habit. It takes some time and practice, but your growing self-understanding will replace the anger triggers. At first, you’ll probably just notice after you’ve become angry. If you keep at it, in time you’ll notice when you’re still in the interpretation process and be able to choose not to jump straight into being angry.

Of course, I recommend a meditation program that helps you harness your awareness to more easily notice your mental patterns, but it’s not absolutely necessary as long as you’re diligent in reminding yourself why you are angry…that it’s just your current auto-pilot mental habit which can be changed.

Be aware,
Todd

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