Anger is described as hot. When we get angry, we boil up. Emotionally, we are raging, fuming, have a hot temper, and compare ourselves to a volcano. Hot emotional lava is gurgling inside of us and when it explodes, the fire in our proverbial belly will incinerate everything in our path. Physically, we get hot. We’re red hot with anger because our blood pressure rises. Our faces turn a shade of red or pink, we start perspiring and we might even start to shake. How do we talk about counteracting anger? We use terms like cooling off, cooling down, being cool, staying cool, remaining cool. All of the tools we use for managing our high intensity anger reduce the heat and fire of our anger to replace it with a state of being cool, calm, and collected. Meditation is one of those tools which cools us off, cools us down, and generally makes us a little more cool.
Anger is caused by stress. As an evolutionary response system, anger stimulates the stress response in the body in the production of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. The autonomic nervous system which controls heart rate is closely related to stress. Within the autonomic nervous system is the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. All of the experiences in life which might inspire anger directly inspire the sympathetic nervous system which includes the fight or flight response, which directs anger. In the face of fear, the primary underlying emotion to anger, the sympathetic nervous system activates. Meditation is scientifically proven to reduce activity in the sympathetic nervous system. We might not stop everything, sit down cross-legged, and meditate when we get angry. Simple meditative tools like deep breathing and tuning into the breath are enough to calm the sympathetic nervous system down.
Simultaneously, meditation increases activity in the parasympathetic nervous system which encourages the heart to slow down, the breath to regulate, blood pressure to normalize, and soothe the sympathetic activities. It is the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system where meditation makes you cool because your system starts to cool down.
The more you practice meditation, the cooler you get. Meditation increases the production of oxygen, sending healthy nutrients, energy, and circulation throughout the body. Ongoing, meditation becomes part of an overarching approach to life, acting as a cool foundation from which to breathe, center, and navigate anger.
Meditation is a proven practice for reducing cravings in addiction. Creating sustainable change, Tree House Recovery in Portland teaches men how to be free from addiction. For more information, call: (503) 850-2474