Breathing techniques for anger and other strong emotions can better help us understand and deal with our feelings but how can we practice this mindfully?
Everybody knows by now that human emotion is complex. The experience of anger is an intense feeling and emotion that can be channeled in a negative but also, contrary to popular belief, a positive way too. In a negative way it might show up as aggression but similarly, it can also show up as passion which can positively influence people’s lives. People who experience anger often can practice using their anger by channeling it in a positive way. Anger management is important and there are many ways to deal with anger.
Different type of anger:
According to BetterHelp, chronic anger is a constant state of being angry. It doesn’t come and go, and it affects your life in many ways. You must seek help if you feel like you’re always angry and practicing anger management is important.
This kind of anger is difficult to notice. People who have this kind of anger usually show it by being sarcastic, apathetic, and mean. They may also be bitter about things.
Aggressive anger is very obvious. People who show violent behavior are often advised to find out why they act violently. In the end, people with aggressive anger should learn how to control themselves and not let their anger get away from them.
Anger management is about controlling our anger not suppressing it. Suppressing or internalizing anger is harmful because it will fester and find a different maybe even more volatile outlet.
We need to realise that all our emotions are valid and we should not suppress any of them, whether they are perceived to be negative or positive. When we don’t allow ourselves to fully express our emotions we start to bottle them up and this can lead to the feelings of our emotions feeling stronger. The only way to rid ourselves of certain feelings is to allow them to happen and move through it.
With that being said there is an appropriate way of expression and there is an inappropriate way to express our emotions and this is especially true for intense emotions such as anger.
All emotions are valid but not all emotional outbursts are valid or necessary.
Creating awareness around our emotions helps us understand them and understanding them is important to deal with them in a healthy way.
Understanding why we are angry helps us learn how to manage our emotions. It is a necessary part of life, but it is also useful for dealing with other people and the way they might feel. Understanding our emotions leads to approaching life more empathetically.
Anger can be channeled anger into appropriate action and in a positive manner. Anger Management Techniques may be effective for some people or counseling may be useful for those who experience a lot of regular anger. When anger turns into rage then professional help is needed such as anger management classes. If you feel as though your anger is negatively impacting your life in any way (firstly well done for being aware of it), seeking help could be beneficial.
how to relieve extreme anger – meditation on anger
Anger management can include many different techniques and methods. From a mindfulness perspective, mindfulness meditation for anger is hugely beneficial.
Even more beneficial than meditation (and often more accessible) is practicing specific breathing techniques for anger such as deep or abdominal breathing.
Our natural breathing is often shallow – this does not serve our nervous system and can make us feel a certain sense of unease.
When you feel angry, you should try to breathe slower and deeper.
Why would a deep breathing exercise be helpful?
Strong emotions such as anger tend to increase our heart rate and breathing rate which leaves us feeling agitated. This type of breathing activates our stress response through our sympathetic nervous system which further increases our cortisol and adrenaline levels – with this change of neurotransmitters the stress in our emotional, mental and physical body increases.
Mindful breathing techniques, through slow, deep, and intentional breathing regulate our nervous system by activating our parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest response) and deactivating our fight-or-flight response.
Anger is fuelled by reactivity which can lead to irrational behaviors. Although it is a valid emotion that like any other emotion should be allowed to be felt rather than suppressed it can be expressed in a non-reactive way.
As breathing techniques are considered to be part of mindfulness practices, they can dilute our strong emotions such as anger, and bring us into a less reactive state. This is due to us being more aware of our bodies on a mental, physical as well as emotional plane.
Furthermore deep diaphragmatic breathing or “belly breathing” can lead to a decrease in blood pressure (breathing techniques for lowering blood pressure) – so it is not only beneficial to the health of our brains, lungs, and other organs (from increasing our lung capacity and blood oxygen levels) but it is also really beneficial for our cardiovascular health.
Another massive benefit of practicing breathing techniques for anger is its accessibility of it. Breathing can be practiced whenever and wherever you find yourself and it is specifically for those moments when you feel yourself getting angry and need to calm down.
So which different easy breathing techniques are there?
Top Prana breathing techniques to calm down – mindfulness breathing techniques for stress reduction
‘Prana’ is a Sanskrit word that means “vital life force or energy” this refers to breathing practices done in some eastern philosophies.
1. Mindfulness Box breathing exercise or Square breathing
Box Breathing is a technique used by the U.S. Navy SEALs and other military personnel. It is a type of yoga breathing that helps relax the body and mind.
This technique is called 4-4-4 breathing because you breathe for four counts in each breath.
You breathe in fully for four, hold your breath for four seconds, then exhale completely for four .Hold at the bottom of the exhale for four.
Benefits: This helps you relax and calm down by lowering stress and activating the parasympathetic nervous system. This leads to a feeling of a calm mind and body.
Although this is the term that it is most commonly known for we prefer to see it as circular breathing. The imagery of this allows for the breath to be seen in a constant state of flow rather than “stopping at each point.” To help you understand this we have created a box breathing gif!
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Box breathing is probably the most effective technique to calm down in a particularly heated or emotionally charged moment.
The counting of breaths forces our minds to divert our attention away from the visceral emotion we might be experiencing. it just takes a short moment to refocus our energy by experiencing the emotion from an observer’s point of view. Awareness and mindfulness provide us with this moment.
2. Pursed lip breathing techniques
Pursed lip breathing is a way of controlling your breathing by creating a small gap in the mouth (pursing the lips as you would for a kiss) rather than breathing through the nose. This restriction and breath control naturally allows us to breathe deeply into our bellies and activate a diaphragmatic type of breathing as we breathe against a resistance to “pull” air into our bodies. This pulling action provides for deeper breathing.
– Pursed lip breathing helps you breathe more efficiently in cold environments. It also reduces muscle tension.
– Purse lips help you control the amount of air that enters the lungs.
– Can help with anxiety and insomnia.
– Helps to focus and bring awareness to your body and mind through the attention of breath – it is also great to use alongside meditation.
– Helps for respiratory conditions such as asthma or sinusitis.
3. Ujayi breathing techniques
the Ujayi method is a method often used in yoga and meditation practices. This is also known as the oceanic breath.
It is done by creating a slight constriction in the back of the throat (think of fogging up a window with your breath while keeping your mouth closed).
Once again this is a type of breath control method of breathing that allows us to access “belly breathing techniques”. These deep, lengthened and slow breaths help us to find a calm state of being.
Benefits of box breathing:
– A natural way to improve lung function by allowing deeper breaths
– It increases oxygen in the blood, which helps with athletic performance
– Helps with focus and directing attention away from something that might be putting you in a reactive or overwhelmed state.
Guided mediation for anger management
If meditation is more your thing – follow along with this quick mediation for anger and stress.
Meditation for anger release
Alternatively, why not put some of these breathing techniques for relaxing discussed above to practice by doing it along with meditating.
Breathing techniques for calming down when you are feeling angry
To conclude, meditation for anger issues is really helpful but what might be even more helpful in times when we feel the need to express anger in a healthful manner is breathing techniques. Breathing techniques for stress relief and anger release help us to relax and when we are relaxed we tend to be less reactive. This allows us to express our emotions in a communicative and emotionally intelligent way.
Breathing techniques can be so useful as they can be practiced in the exact moment where we feel the anger rise up within us – they teach us how to regulate our emotions which leads us to a certain amount of awareness and understanding towards our own feelings, thoughts, and practice of empathy towards ourselves and others. It teaches us to quite literally step back, take a breather and re-evaluate our reactions. It teaches us compassion which can lead us to experience less anger in our everyday lives.