Anger destroys our peace of mind and causes trouble. It also hampers our ability to function properly. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
At the beginning of the quote, it talks about how anger destroys our peace of mind. I don’t know about you, but when I’m angry, my peace of mind goes away quickly. These two are, in my opinion and experience, antagonist emotions.
And while it is possible to get into trouble when in other emotional states, if one is angry, it seems to be far easier to accomplish. Anger and trouble are often seen walking together. It’s an unpleasant combination. If you haven’t been there, trust me, you don’t want them to visit you.
That brings us to the close of the quote. Anger and our ability to function properly. As humans we function on logical and emotional levels. Anger messes with our logic, and completely twists our emotions. That’s a one-two punch to proper function, right?
Why is working on remaining calm when angry important?
To me, this is an easy question to answer. If you cannot retain at least a little calm when angered, you risk bringing all the types of issues discussed in the prior paragraphs down on you. And that doesn’t sound like much fun.
Consider the consequences of allowing anger to overcome your ability to function properly. What could happen, or what has happened in your life in situations like that? Is that somewhere you want to go again? I know that I am in no hurry to do any of that again, myself.
For my experience, and that of many people I have known or read about, calm seems to be the root of the best techniques. From meditation, to counting to ten, and so many others, you are trying to separate yourself from the anger and gain a sense of calm.
Where can I apply this in my life?
That would depend on how often, and how intensely, you get angry. It happens, we’re all human. Life can get to us from time to time, and sometimes anger beats calm, and takes over. That is not much fun, because I’ve been there and done that before.
And I would imagine that you have as well. Calm can be very difficult to achieve when the fires of anger are trying to break free. Yet if you can hold on to even the smallest bit of calm, you can help manage the anger and push it back.
But like anything else in life, it takes practice. That said, I wouldn’t go around trying to get angry, just so you can practice. But life gives us plenty of opportunities to test ourselves. How often do you get a little bit angry?
Whether we use annoyed, miffed, grumpy, or some other word, it happens to us far more often than we think. The question is how do we handle the little angers? Do we defuse them, or do we allow them to continue to grow? What might the consequences be for allowing them to grow?
There are so many ways in which anger can help things go wrong in our lives. We could choose the wrong words and hurt someone. We could take an action we normally would find abhorrent. All because anger is interfering with our ability to function properly, right?
But how does working on our ability to remain calm change that? Again, working from the premise that anger and calm are antagonists, if you can increase one, you decrease the other.
If you could fill yourself with anger or fill yourself with calm, which would you pick? For me, that’s an easy choice, and I imagine you would come to the same conclusion as well.
All that is left is to practice. Anything that can cut off anger off from the source is a good thing. In this case, time and distance are our helpers. Anytime you feel anger starting to rise, ask yourself what you can do to move away from the source, or to gain some time to regain your calm.
There are other ways, as well. Feel free to use what works for you. Even if you don’t believe it is directly increasing your level of calm, if it reduces your level of anger, your level of calm will improve. And with practice, you will get better, meaning regaining calm will become easier. And that’s a good thing.
And, as an added benefit, calm helps to crowd out other unproductive emotions, such as panic and nervousness. It may sound like a late night commercial, but I believe it to be true. If you take a moment and think of times when you have been calm and times you have not, you will see that even in your experience, it is true.
So, what will you do the next time you feel anger welling up within you? It might be better to consider this question now, before anger hampers your ability to function properly…