Recognising anger and managing it effectively
Emotion: What’s anger? How does one manage this emotion? As naturally in men as this emotion sits, the questions are serious. They are vital to understand oneself. They are vital to relate oneself with others.
His Eminence Gyalwa Dokhampa Jigme Pema Nyinjadh and the referral hospital’s psychiatrist Dr Chencho Dorji shared their perspectives about anger and how to manage it at the Royal Thimphu College yesterday.
Gyalwa Dokhampa Rinpoche said that by nature people are positive, but one becomes negative by habit and one can only manage anger by recognising it.
“Anger doesn’t solve anything, the emotion itself doesn’t protect you but it instead makes you lose your smartness. Anger if recognised becomes a wisdom and if it is not recognised then it becomes a negative emotion,” Rinpoche said. “If you recognise anger and leave it as it is, then it doesn’t become a negative emotion but it becomes beyond negative. If you leave an emotion in its own nature, it is beyond any sort of labelling or dualism but by our own grasping, the emotion becomes as anger – it’s given an identity and is labelled as anger.”
Where does anger come from?
Rinpoche said that a person gets angry when he doesn’t get what he wants. Anger is born of desire.
“Desire comes from a very fanatic belief that what we want is absolutely right. Everyone is fanatic in different ways because of one’s concept about what others need and what makes others happy. When this desire is not fulfilled or when someone does the opposite of what we expect, we end up being angry,” Rinpoche said. “Similarly, desire comes from fanaticism. We are fanatic about many things and we are fanatic about desire, when that desire doesn’t get fulfilled we end up becoming angry.”
Dr Chencho Dorji said that it’s also important to identify the triggers that cause anger. “Anger can be caused by many factors and it can lead to a fight or flight response. Through mindfulness, we can recognise whether it is real or presumed threat to your livelihood. We should also know how to respond and react to anger in the right way.”
Dr Chencho Dorji shared tips about how to control anger such as releasing anger through physical exercises such as jogging or gym, leaving the stressful situation for a moment, expressing your anger in a more positive way, practising relaxation through meditation and finally to seek counselling if anger gets beyond your control.
Rinpoche added that it is irritation at small things in life that feeds anger so one must learn not to get irritated easily. “Before controlling big anger, we must also learn how to control smaller anger like getting irritated easily at small things or situations in life.”
Rinpoche shared three steps of meditation to deal with anger. First step was to realise the nature of impermanence. There is nothing to be upset because everything is impermanent. If you can understand this and tame anger, then you are a hero. “The second step is compassion – putting yourself in other’s shoe – understand how imperfect everyone is. When anger arises, look at it, be aware of it and leave it as it is. By our concept, emotions become good or bad. The last step is to understand that everyone is equal and all is in samsara.”