The mindfulness approach to anger management is a holistic one, grounded in the the concept of mindfulness meditation, which has many practical approaches for treating depression, relieving the symptoms of ADHD, deepening meditation, and many others.
As such, mindfulness meditation is a terrific alternative anger management technique for parents, adults, or anyone having a difficult time controlling their stress and emotions.
According to Ronald Alexander, PhD, he has seen first hand evidence of the benefits of mindfulness within his own therapy practice, successfully helping adults manage depression, procrastination, mood swings, and anger.
He explains the basic steps to achieving mindfulness in this article at Huffington Post.
5 steps to a mindfulness approach to anger management
Mindfulness helps create the capacity to not only calm and sooth but increases the ability to focus. It offers two important benefits that help reduce restlessness. One is heightened concentration, allowing you to be more productive. Another is physiological changes, namely, a decrease in skin temperature and increase in oxygenation of the brain, a decrease in lactic acid (which causes fatigue) and cortisol (a stress hormone). With less fatigue and stress, you become less distracted and more efficient in using and managing your time. Through mindfulness you feel less anxiety and stress, and instead experience more “one-pointedness of mind.” In Zen this means being in a state of complete focus or heightened concentration and totally aware of the present moment. The more frequent someone practices mindfulness the more they enter the zone of single-minded focus and become less plagued by the monkey mind.
If you’re restless or find it difficult to focus, try meditating after a physical activity. Start out slowly with only about three to five minutes a day and gradually build upward toward 20 minutes once or twice per day. Aim for meditating at the same time in a quiet and serene place, where distractions are minimal. In my book, “Wise Mind, Open Mind” I describe in detail how to mindfully meditate, but for now here are five easy steps to get you started.
Step 1. Get into a comfortable posture and place your hands in a relaxing and energizing mudra (hand position). You can sit in a chair or cross-legged on the floor. Keep your spine straight, and tuck in your chin slightly to keep your vertebrae aligned properly. The most popular hand position is to touch the thumb and first finger to each other, and then hold your palms up, with your other fingers relaxed and straight, and rest the backs of your hands on your thighs.
Step 2: Focus your eyes. With your eyes closed, focus them on one spot, ideally toward the tip of your nose or on your “third eye” (the chakra, or energy point in the middle of the forehead).
Step 3: Pay attention to your breathing. With your eyes focused on one spot, breathe in with awareness of your lungs and your diaphragm. As you inhale, say to yourself, “In.” Exhale from your lungs and then your abdomen, saying to yourself, “Out.” Do this each time you breathe.
Step 4: Be aware. As you focus your awareness on your breath in and out, you’re likely to experience many mental distractions. Rather than judge yourself and become discouraged simply observe any disruptive thoughts, feelings or sensations and set them aside. The purpose of this exercise is to train the mind to be still and focused. Another suggestion is to listen to a meditation CD to help you stay centered. For instance, click on the link to download and experiment with two sample meditations from my CDs Wise Mind, Open Heart and Mindful Meditations for Creative Transformation.
Step 5: Slowly come back into ordinary consciousness. Once you start to feel restless bring yourself back by rubbing the palms of your hands together. Inhale and exhale deeply, open your eyes and stretch. As you practice this technique you’ll start to be able to sit for longer periods, but be patient with yourself.
As Ronald Alexander points out, meditation and mindfulness can play a vital role in helping your manage your stress and emotions, which are two common triggers to your feeling angry. A mindfulness approach to anger management is a sensible one.
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