I get angry very quickly, at little things. How do I improve myself?
—Kana Yuhi, India
Anger is a habit of the mind and can be broken like any bad habit. Anger is a response when our ego (the soul identified with the body) does not get what it wants. Anger is frustrated desire. The more we respond to obstacles with anger, the more easily our anger is aroused. That pathway in the brain becomes stronger and stronger because we practice it over and over — and it is triggered by events that are more and more insignificant. This habit can just as easily be undone!
Decide now how you would like to respond to the next minor frustration. One suggestion would be to say and do nothing outwardly but mentally to chant ten Oms. Make them long and calming “ooooooohmmmmm.” See if your initial reaction doesn’t settle down quickly.
Another suggestion would be to say and do nothing outwardly but right away tune into and observe your breath as it moves through your nose. You can keep your eyes open as you do this which allows you to do this practice while in the presence of others. There will be a place in the nose where you feel the breath flow most clearly. Allow your breath to become slower and more in the belly rather than the upper chest. You can mentally say ‘I am’ as your breath flows in and ‘peace’ as the breath flows out. Do this for a minute or more until your reactivity settles down.
Another suggestion is to visualize a golden ball of healing, peaceful light embracing and calming you. Then extend that light to embrace the others in the situation. Continue allowing this light to expand within you and out to others until reactivity settles.
You may come up with many other techniques to interrupt the anger response. Once you start on this project you will find your anger becoming less and less easily triggered.
Mahatma Gandhi’s story is a famous one of breaking the anger habit. As a young man, he was very quick to anger at little things. He recognized it as a flaw in his character and set about changing his response to circumstances, embracing nonviolence also known as ahimsa. His response to obstacles became using his energy that in the past was directed into anger instead for good, seeking understanding of all sides, finding solutions, sharing love and respect for all.
Overcoming this habit will be empowering for you! You will realize that nothing is insurmountable when we attune to our highest consciousness and apply positive energy to the situation.