The 1-Minute Meditation Your Anger Doesn’t Want You to Know

businessman meditating at deskThe best practice for healthy anger management involves proactive behaviors. One of the most prevalent reasons people struggle with appropriately expressing anger is because steps aren’t taken before the anger rises to mitigate the intensity of the emotional expression. Toward that end, I offer a quick, simple, meditative practice you can use throughout your day to help increase mindfulness, a healthy mind-body connection, and to expand your toolbox for interacting effectively with your emotions.

This one-minute meditation is grounded in body awareness. We interact with this world through our five senses. Constantly being inundated with stimuli, our brains must tune out tons of information just to process (relatively) cleanly and not blow a gasket. Unfortunately, what often gets tuned out are the sensations our bodies experience: hot, cold, hungry, tired. Ignoring these sensational messages can exacerbate bad moods, increase our irritability, and keep us disconnected from our emotional inputs. Sounds like a lovely recipe for an angry, emotional meltdown, doesn’t it?

What we can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell becomes the foundation for the beliefs we create about ourselves in this world. We taste chocolate and, amid our pleasure, learn to judge chocolate as an amazing addition to this world. Conversely, we hear a lawn mower going at 7 a.m. on a Saturday and feel upset, learning to judge this sound harshly. Learning to connect to our senses without immediately adding judgment not only proves relaxing, but gives us a much-needed break from the constant stream of our thoughts.

The one-minute meditation is deceptively simple:

  1. Pick three sensations (it doesn’t matter which three).
  2. Focus on your first sensation, noticing it without comment.
  3. Every 20 seconds, switch to the next sensation you have chosen.
  4. Rinse and repeat as desired.

Although this meditation practice is simple in practice, it’s quite difficult to master. The reason? Our constantly loud, critical minds. If you’ve attempted this practice, you may have noticed just how difficult it was to stay focused on a sensation without adding thoughts of some sort.

When you notice that you’ve slipped into thinking and away from listening to sounds of typing or the taste of coffee in your mouth, quietly say, “Not right now, I’m focusing.” Said calmly and gently, it reminds you of your intention without starting a fight with yourself about what you “should” be doing.

My suggestion is to do this practice every hour or so. Although I’m not against a formal meditation practice that may be a half hour or more in one sitting, what I’ve learned is that many people leave their meditative space and lose all mindfulness during their daily travails. A one-minute meditation throughout the day keeps you mindful and connected to the task at hand: you stay connected to your body, feel your feelings without unwittingly unleashing them, and increase your sense of calm contentment.

So what does this practice have to do with anger management? As I’ve stressed before, you don’t have to manage anger that isn’t there. Staying connected to our bodies on a consistent, intimate basis increases our well-being and comfort. Also, this connection allows us to notice emotion arising much sooner in the process. Dealing with mild irritation is vastly easier than attempting to manage blind rage. That which we are aware of in ourselves becomes useful information rather than a wave to dodge.

© Copyright 2015 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Joshua Nash, LPC-S, therapist in Austin, Texas

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Sheba

    Sheba

    February 5th, 2015 at 11:36 AM

    So to be healthy it takes some work at practicing that health! This is what I am always trying to tell my husband but he doesn’t wish to listen to me. To him everything that goes wrong is always the fault of someone else and the way he allows it to affect him? also the fault of another person.

  • Valerie

    Valerie

    February 5th, 2015 at 1:15 PM

    Any thoughts on whether this could help with sleep issues??

  • Catherine

    Catherine

    February 6th, 2015 at 5:31 AM

    Helpful article. A good entry point to anger management for people who think they have no time.

  • popper

    popper

    February 6th, 2015 at 12:51 PM

    Some very good tips to diffuse that sort of ‘blind rage’ referenced in the article, and which I’m a regular participant. These may very well be just the tools I’ve been looking for!! Thanks so much.

  • Sarai

    Sarai

    February 6th, 2015 at 1:08 PM

    I hope that I can give this a try although I am not sure that all of the useless mind chatter that I typically have going on will ever be quiet long enough for me to do it and get something positive out of it. I know that I need to do this expressly for this purpose, just as a way to focus on the important things rather than all of the hazy stuff that clouds my judgement but sometimes it becomes difficult to differentiate between what is good and useful and the things that should be discarded.

  • Joshua

    Joshua

    February 6th, 2015 at 2:13 PM

    This process IS good for sleep. And for anger management, and for increasing body awareness, and for…

    The point is to turn this “technique” into a daily lived experience. If you wait until the “right moment” or for a noisy mind to quiet first, you’ll never get around to doing it.

  • Valerie

    Valerie

    February 8th, 2015 at 4:22 AM

    Thanks Joshua! I see what you are saying, and I agree after reading through this again that this is not a one prog attack, it is something that could be beneficial in multiple facets of life.

  • Lee

    Lee

    February 9th, 2015 at 10:20 AM

    So easy to see how most of us want to take that role that we have no control over how angry we become, wehn that is exactly the opposite of what is happening.

    In fact we all play a pretty large part in how much we allow this anger to infiltrate our lives and become a part of us… so much so that we don’t even recognize who we are anymore.

    I will no longer let these feelings overpower me and have so much control over the way that I live my life.

  • Mork

    Mork

    June 30th, 2017 at 10:26 AM

    Hi there..I just read the 1 minute meditation article..it’s strange..ever since I had a “kundalini awakening” experience the strongest sensation I can feel is the chakra sensation in the roof of my mouth..occasionally it moves to my forehead and the top of my head.

    I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ptsd ..but I’m high functioning..it’s selected areas of my life that allow me to transcend the traits of my condition…but when I can’t express myself..my condition seems to return with vengeance..I’m using mindfulness and medication to handle it…I found your article interesting for this reason..i truly dont understand the “chakra sensations” and the hum that I hear…I’ve also had visions of the anima, shadow, mandala, senex etc etc..would greatly appreciate your feedback as.most of your articles resonate deeply with me..

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