How to Conquer Anger
and Stress through Meditation
Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
Anger and stress have become unwanted, permanent characters in the play of life. Here are some practical ways in which we can conquer them.
We often find that we are faced with situations that make us angry and stressed. Whether at home with family and friends, at work with coworkers, on the road during our commute, or going about our daily chores, stress and anger have become a part of our narrative today. Below are some practical ways in which we can conquer anger and reduce stress.
When we are faced with a situation that causes anger or stress:
1. Step away from the situation
We should remove ourselves from the stimulus that is causing us to become angry and find a place where we can quietly meditate. This will give us a break, so we can slow down our heart rate and brain waves to a calmer state. Then, from this calmer state, we can return with equipoise to deal with the situation more peacefully.
2. Listen first
When we return to the stressful situation after meditating, we should try to talk things over in a calm manner. Before we share our own thoughts, let’s try to listen carefully to what the other person has to say and see if there is any truth to it. If so, we should take responsibility and apologize for anything that we may have said or done to hurt them, and resolve to refrain from repeating the action. After the other person has felt heard, they may be more open to hearing our perspective.
Then, we can calmly share our point of view so they can understand us as we have tried to understand them. Together, we can discuss ways toward a win-win solution or reach a compromise. In this manner, we can use peaceful conflict resolution to solve the challenge at hand without resorting to anger and violence.
3. Get to the Source
Often, when we closely examine the source of our anger, we might be surprised to find that ego has a part to play in it. Anger comes about when life doesn’t go our way. If we can step back from the situation and find ways to make things work out in a way that is mutually beneficial to all parties, we will find that everyone can be happy and that we will have contributed to making the environment more peaceful.
4. Become an Ambassador of Peace
Anger and stress arise from how we respond to situations around us. Here are some ways in which we can work on ourselves on a regular basis, so that we become ambassadors of peace and calm in the face of life’s challenges.
5. Regular Meditation Practice
Through daily meditation, leading a calm and peaceful life becomes a habit. Over time, a habit turns into nature. Day by day, we transform ourselves into peaceful, nonviolent, and calm people and these qualities radiate to those around us. The ripple effect of our calmness and equipoise spreads and it will not be long before we have a peaceful family, community, and world. After all, peace begins with each of us.
6. Love All
As we experience the Light within us through meditation, we also awaken to the realization that the same Light shines in all. This helps us realize that at the level of the soul, all humanity is one. We begin to develop love for all and treat others kindly. As we become more loving and calm, we eliminate much of our stress and anger, and replace it with love and tolerance for all, making our own lives and that of others more peaceful.
7. Service to Humanity
Serving others selflessly can help reduces stress. When we are a contributing member of a community, we become calmer and happier, which reduces tension and stress. When we put others first, it helps take our attention away from our own problems, thereby reducing stress. By being of service to others, we create a joyful life for ourselves and make life better for others.
8. Adopt a Vegetarian Diet
New research is showing the value of a vegetarian diet. By eating plant-based foods, we also can reduce our risk of many diseases. Illness and disease can produce their own stress not on only our body, our families, our work, but also on our finances. If we can remain healthy through healthy eating such as adopting a vegetarian diet, we can also reduce stress.
When we focus on examining our thoughts, we need to evaluate what aspects of ourselves we want to cleanse. We need to understand what is cluttering our minds and hearts and keeping us from opening up to God’s love.
The secret to desires is that it is not the object we desire. It is the mind’s tendency to always be in a state of desire. It leads us into attachment to things of this world. It distracts us from the true purpose of our human life.
We can avoid much of the stress, anxiety, and tension that faces us at the mental level by learning the technique of meditation. Meditation is a way to relieve stress at the mental level and help us have a healthy mind. A healthy mind means that we can deal with the challenges of life in a calm, composed way without it causing us to feel upset, depressed, anxious, fearful, or threatened.
The next time we think things are going badly and that God is not listening to us, we should sit back, take a deep breath, and relax. We should give God a chance to let things happen, and observe patiently. We will find when all is said and done that God worked things out for the best in the end.
How does anger arise? Does it only affect us at the emotional level or do we do physical harm to ourselves when we give in to anger? How can we break free from its grip and what are the benefits of doing so?
If each of us, individually, learned how to meditate, and applied it to help us through our day-to-day challenges, we would find ourselves calmer and more effective in what we do.