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Calming Your Angry Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You from Anger and Bring Peace to Your Life

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Anger is a natural emotion—and a part of what makes us human. But when you lose control of your anger, it can get in the way of meaningful relationships, successful careers, and ultimately, feelings of happiness and enjoyment. In this highly anticipated book, renowned mindfulness expert and author of Calming Your Anxious Mind Jeff Brantley offers a breakthrough approach usi Anger is a natural emotion—and a part of what makes us human. But when you lose control of your anger, it can get in the way of meaningful relationships, successful careers, and ultimately, feelings of happiness and enjoyment. In this highly anticipated book, renowned mindfulness expert and author of Calming Your Anxious Mind Jeff Brantley offers a breakthrough approach using mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and compassion practices to help you better handle the anger, fear, and hostile emotions that can wreak havoc at home, work, and in relationships. In addition, you will also learn important self-awareness skills to help you stop overreacting and improve communication with others. While other self-help books focus on traditional anger management, Brantley offers solutions that give you personal control over the experience of anger in your life. Inside, you’ll discover the three major meditative approaches to soothing anger: stabilizing mind and body through concentrating your attention mindfully; using compassionate attention and reflection to disarm the energy of your anger; and learning to use wise understanding about the impermanent and “conditioned” nature of your angry reactions in order to diminish your vulnerability to anger’s power. If you have difficulty with anger, you may be quick to blame others or act in aggressive ways. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking can often leave you feeling alone, alienated, and unhappy. If you are ready to make real, lasting changes, this book can provide you with the skills needed to manage and and transform your anger so that you can live a happier, healthier life.


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Anger is a natural emotion—and a part of what makes us human. But when you lose control of your anger, it can get in the way of meaningful relationships, successful careers, and ultimately, feelings of happiness and enjoyment. In this highly anticipated book, renowned mindfulness expert and author of Calming Your Anxious Mind Jeff Brantley offers a breakthrough approach usi Anger is a natural emotion—and a part of what makes us human. But when you lose control of your anger, it can get in the way of meaningful relationships, successful careers, and ultimately, feelings of happiness and enjoyment. In this highly anticipated book, renowned mindfulness expert and author of Calming Your Anxious Mind Jeff Brantley offers a breakthrough approach using mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and compassion practices to help you better handle the anger, fear, and hostile emotions that can wreak havoc at home, work, and in relationships. In addition, you will also learn important self-awareness skills to help you stop overreacting and improve communication with others. While other self-help books focus on traditional anger management, Brantley offers solutions that give you personal control over the experience of anger in your life. Inside, you’ll discover the three major meditative approaches to soothing anger: stabilizing mind and body through concentrating your attention mindfully; using compassionate attention and reflection to disarm the energy of your anger; and learning to use wise understanding about the impermanent and “conditioned” nature of your angry reactions in order to diminish your vulnerability to anger’s power. If you have difficulty with anger, you may be quick to blame others or act in aggressive ways. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking can often leave you feeling alone, alienated, and unhappy. If you are ready to make real, lasting changes, this book can provide you with the skills needed to manage and and transform your anger so that you can live a happier, healthier life.

30 review for Calming Your Angry Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You from Anger and Bring Peace to Your Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Adriyana Grotseva

    The book mainly discusses what anger is and the different causes of it and how mindfully to approach them. That anger is not you but is temporary condition that depends/ is composed of different feelings, like a cloud needing different conditions in order to appear. The book offers variety of short and long meditation practices, addressing different areas related to anger, mainly approaching it with kindness and compassion not only toward others but also toward oneself. Some main points I liked The book mainly discusses what anger is and the different causes of it and how mindfully to approach them. That anger is not you but is temporary condition that depends/ is composed of different feelings, like a cloud needing different conditions in order to appear. The book offers variety of short and long meditation practices, addressing different areas related to anger, mainly approaching it with kindness and compassion not only toward others but also toward oneself. Some main points I liked from the book: Mindfulness is being present and noticing what is happening now, without judgement. Not getting lost in thoughts about fixing or changing anything. It is like mirror that reflects what is in front of it. The habit energy of familiar mind patterns (like scorne, criticism, frustration, anger) are very strong so such associated feelings are more easily fired in the brain. So it can quickly invoke deeply held beliefs, inner stories, memories and hijack you and drive you into unexpected behaviors. “Tell me what you pay attention to, and I will tell you who you are.” Jose Ortega Igasit. Meditation - practice of paying attention in a particular way for a particular purpose. Attention is the means of establishing ourselves in the present moment. Awareness develops a consciousness that is light, unburdened, sensitive and clear. Provides inner environment that is intuitive and still. Non-judging - learn how to notice the patterns of judging and letting them go. It can be enough simply to notice when the judging thoughts are there. Eg somebody doesn’t deliver what they promised, missed the deadline. When judgement and angry thoughts arise in your mind, simply notice and let them be. Use mindfulness practice to calm and steady yourself. Why the missed deadline upset you so much? Can you find out why the deadline was missed without criticizing the person? Maybe something happened. Pausing to notice when you have judgmental thoughts broadens your choices beyond anger and criticism for responding to the situation or person. Non-striving - the habit energy of doing, fixing or changing how things are. Let go of this habit seeking change, truly relaxing into this moment and allowing whatever happened in this moment to be the way it is. At least for the time of the meditation. Patience is the ability to remain calm and present to the difficulty that has arisen in this moment. Even if it is inside you - in your heart, mind or body. Patience requires connection with your own inner core. It requires great effort not to respond to anger with anger. The problems most people have with anger is that it arises so quickly you don’t see it coming. Before you know it, the heat of anger or rage is already burning in and around you and you are already driven to act verbally or physically by that burning energy usually in ways that are harmful either immediately or over time. Most of the people don’t know the consequences chronic anger has on physical and emotional health and that it comes at high price if you fail to recognize or manage it. The perception of an event mainly determines the emotional response and enhance the psycho-physiological consequences. Anger is a cognitive response associated with personal appraisal and interpretation. The key to understanding and managing your anger seems to lie in recognizing when a state of bodily arousal is present, what is your perception of a situation and knowing something about the thoughts and inner narrative that you generate about that perception. Depending on the meaning you assign and the thoughts that follow, your unfolding experience of anger either heats up or cools down. Anger appears as an arising emotion - it arises from some event or stimulus. But what happens from there depends on large part from the chaining of thoughts that follows the arising. Anger is thoughts + sensations. The chaining of thoughts - creating and adding more and more to the original arising emotion of anger, actually feeds the feelings of anger and your internal upset probably long after the angry event occurred. If you instead just find understanding or positive excuse/ compassion for them (eg maybe something bad happened causing their bad behavior) and go back to what you were doing before it happened, no chaining of thoughts occurs. And then there is no ongoing fuel for your inner fire of anger. Learn to uncouple the thought train that carries anger on and on, beyond the initial arising angry moment. If you pause to observe you might find that it is your own runaway thought train that feeds your angry feeling and sustain the animosity you feel toward another person much more than what they actually said or did. Usually what we call anger is an expression of animosity toward someone. If anger that arises repeatedly and intensely in your life that is a problem, it is very likely that it is fueled and maintained within deeper hurts, fears and beliefs. Usually beneath anger is fear and beneath fear - fixed belief. Anger arises in reaction to something happening and your perception of it. There are sensations in your body (heart races, muscle tense, etc) and thoughts in your mind. The price of anger. Physical price - adrenaline and cortisol (increase heart rate, blood pressure and sugar, which can cause a heart attack). Anger effects your blood pressure not only if you express it but also if you suppress it. Keeping it in actually increases more the blood pressure. The stress reaction also effects the digestive system. Anger leads to acid secretion into your stomach, which can lead to gastritis. The emotional price - makes you feel more helpless, alone, less satisfied with their lives and relationships. Chronically hostile people feel more often isolation, less support from family, less trust from close relationships, low self-esteem, loneliness, engage in more self-destructive behavior. Negative bias - we humans are wired selectively to remember the signs and signals associated with dangerous situations much more easily than we remember the pleasant and good things that happen to us. Learned feelings of helplessness (eg having no control of a situation) are easy to gain but hard to undo. People would do more to avoid losing something than they will to gain something of a similar worth. Learning something bad about someone carries more weight than good info about that person. When you notice the present negativity, ask yourself is it only a memory or is there actually something threatening me in this moment? We can’t avoid painful and difficult experiences in our lives. It is the meaning that we assign to them that determines the power, role and intensity that those negative moments will have in our lives. Ways to approach anger mindfully based on meditation practices: 1) stopping and seeing, strengthening attention (which enables you to stop absorption or overidentification with your anger). Begin with stopping and seeing what is happening in this angry moment in your mind and body. 2) activating energy of kindness and compassion. Tune in to your body sensations and instead of beating yourself for the way you feel and wish yourself well, to take care of you and be at peace and relaxed. 3) being informed by the wisdom and understanding that comes from your own mindfulness practice. Take a wise view of what anger actually is. By seeing clearly what anger is and how it functions you are better equipped to let that wisdom inform how you respond when the intense unpleasantness of angry emotion storm all over you. Anger is built on judging thoughts that often are not true. Knowing these, you won’t allow the judging thoughts to grab you with the same power nor you will be so caught up in believing or acting upon them. Approaching your anger skillfully - there are 3 main mindfulness skills: intention, focusing your attention and non-judging attitude. Intention is the way your mind directs your brain and body to act (nothing that you wish for, happens without some intention proceeding it). Neuroplasticity - your brain builds connections and strengthens its circuits when you use it in one way and weakens those when you stop using it in another. If you keep repeating an anger filled story to yourself about someone you think has hurt you, that story will get louder and louder until the very sight of that person would likely evoke the story and an angry, stress-filled reaction in you. In contrast if you mindfully notice when the story is sounding in your mind and if you don’t get caught up in it or steam and sulk about it, over time it will lose its heat and when you see that person, you will likely not be so stressed out. View of anger - anger is not you but a temporary condition that depends on many other conditions (like a rainbow or cloud depend on other conditions in order to appear). Anger doesn’t come from out there but arises when stimulus or situation that you meet triggers set of conditions that live within you (eg beliefs, fears, perceptions and physical reactions) and by growing more accurate awareness of anger and its causes, you can broaden and build your resources for choosing to respond to angry feelings with this strength that arises from understanding, compassion and knowing how to care for any pain that angry feelings mask. Top-down mechanisms: thoughts and perceptions impacting the body. Show understanding and give some excuse of the rude or angry reaction of the other person instead of getting angry at them in return (eg they are really stressed out and don’t mean anything by it and I can probably help out if I keep quiet, leave them alone or offer to help). Bottom-up mechanisms: the body to impact the cognitive dimension of our being (mind). Starts with the tension in your body and knowing how to ease and relax it (muscle soften and breathing slows - relaxation response). Notice when you are in a storm of anger, focus your attention to your body and observe the sensations of breathing or moving. Seeing anger as temporary condition - anger, like all emotions, is not a permanent condition. Simply remembering in the heat of anger, that this is not permanent, will support you in calming your angry mind. You are not your anger and it is temporary and not you. Be present, relax and simply notice what is happening (sensations in your body or sounds around you). Pause and notice when a situation is intense or when you feel irritable, angry or upset in some way. Put your attention on a specific focus like a sound, body or breathing sensations. Forgiveness is the end of resentment. Resentment is the sense of hurt or indignation (feeling anger or scorn at someone/ something that is deemed unjust) arises from feeling injured or offended. Carrying hurt can be the breeding ground of resentment. The resentment carried this way can spark anger even many years after the initial hurt. You can offer forgiveness in 3 directions: to those who harmed you, ask forgiveness from those you have harmed and offer forgiveness to yourself (those could have happened intentional or unintentional). Forgiveness can only be offered - this offer is an expression of the intention to relies any resentment or indignation that you hold toward another or yourself. The condition we call anger is made up of non-anger elements. Find out the different conditions that cause the cloud of anger to appear in you. Getting to know these conditions better, will help you decouple, deidentify and escape from any angry feeling that otherwise can hijack you so easily. Stop fueling your anger. Identify and take away some of the conditions fueling and sustaining your anger (blame, lack of self-awareness). Usually we blame somebody else or situation. But if we wait on somebody else or situation to change before we aren’t so angry anymore, how long would it take? Blaming somebody else takes away our power and control - we have limited control over others or situations. Blame can be a form of resistance to our own pain or to the way the world appears to us, can be often unconscious. Pain is inevitable but the suffering we experience (how we make the pain worse) depends on our own resistance when pain arises. Drop your resistance to anger and its fuel (be mindful about them and concentrate on what it is happening - name the thoughts, eg doubt, fear, hostility, and say yes). Don’t view these hindrances as enemy but simply as a set of causes and conditions, worthy of your curiosity and attention. By placing mindful attention directly to the hindrance and observing it as an object of your meditation, the hindrance changes from hindering to being instructive to you. Reflect on what you have learned about the hindrances and let that learning inform you in times of meditation and beyond. Don’t treat them as enemies but as teachers who bring lessons about the true nature of life. Hindrances sometimes work together - sleepiness or desire lead into doubt, restlessness or aversion for example. Name the hindrance when it is present (these 5 mental states: doubt, sense-desire, ill-will, aversion/ lethargy/ dullness/ sleepiness, restlessness) and see how with greater awareness you can remove them as obstacles to the natural freedom of the mind. Where does restlessness live in your body? What happens in your thoughts when restlessness is here? Acknowledge doubt when it comes - it is only combination of worried thoughts and sensations in your body. Bring closer attention to thoughts and sensations. Like most emotions, angry feelings are deep habits of mind and body, and it is usually not realistic to expect them disappear quickly. Shift your attention away from the outcome and focus on your experience at the moment - the focus for your mindful and compassionate attention. When you are caught up in a storm of anger, you can try a couple of things in order to escape from it: a) recognise and name what is happening. b) use mindfulness practice - mindful breathing or walking to stop and disentangle from the streams of angry thoughts and sensations in mind and body, remember anger is temporary and made of non-anger elements. Anger is not you. c) use meditation practices based in kindness and compassion to stay present, keep anger in focus and manage any upset. Don’t beat yourself up - it is natural to feel angry at times. d) shift your focus from escaping the storm of anger into understanding it. Shift your attitude to a kind curiosity about the anger that is here and about any reactions that you notice in yourself, you give yourself more space and opportunity for understanding. When we react with negativity to negativity we prolong the chain of negativity, eg if somebody bumps into us and we lash at them or instead we decide to bump somebody else (maybe even harder depends on the accumulated feelings) so they can feel our pain - but how different would both our universes be, if we don’t react outwardly and aggressively or keep it within us. How many accidental b

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. This was a very helpful and informative book. I have used some of the exercises already with my son, who has anger issues. I would recommend this to someone who has an anger problem.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David

    straightforward discussion of how mindfulness meditation or loving-kindness meditation might help you chillax if you have a problem controlling anger. Lots of references to positive psychology research, brain studies of meditators, etc. Some brief anecdotes/vignettes of people using the recommended practices. Probably could have used more of those to break up the routine of (a) highly abstract discussion of wise approaches to problems and (b) highly concrete descriptions of meditation practices t straightforward discussion of how mindfulness meditation or loving-kindness meditation might help you chillax if you have a problem controlling anger. Lots of references to positive psychology research, brain studies of meditators, etc. Some brief anecdotes/vignettes of people using the recommended practices. Probably could have used more of those to break up the routine of (a) highly abstract discussion of wise approaches to problems and (b) highly concrete descriptions of meditation practices to try. Not normally a big fan of FAQ format in a book as opposed to website ("hey, self, could you recommend something for me to do when my mind wanders away from focusing on my breathing?" "Sure, glad you asked...."), but the one chapter raising and responding to difficulties people report in putting it into practice was actually quite good. Most of it is actually generically applicable mindfulness advice rather than all that targeted to anger. I see that he has other books on reducing anxiety, starting your day with mindfulness, etc. I'd be very surprised if they turned out to be much different, so probably any one will do.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jo-Ann Murphy

    I was very happy to receive this book from the Goodreads giveaways. This is a really fabulous book. It discusses the role of the brain and other factors that contribute to anger. It emphasizes the fact that you are not doing anything wrong if your experience with the exercises is different. Finally, the book gives you exercises to practice for whatever amount of time you can spare to help calm the mind and raise awareness of the factors that feed the anger and the effect that anger has on other pe I was very happy to receive this book from the Goodreads giveaways. This is a really fabulous book. It discusses the role of the brain and other factors that contribute to anger. It emphasizes the fact that you are not doing anything wrong if your experience with the exercises is different. Finally, the book gives you exercises to practice for whatever amount of time you can spare to help calm the mind and raise awareness of the factors that feed the anger and the effect that anger has on other people. This book gives you a plan and strategies to help improve your life by dealing with the anger in constructive ways. It is very well done.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    Some good ideas are contained within this book. The ideas in this book will only work for you if you are ready to accept them. The arguments within did not do enough to have a strong enough impact. As much as there is about angry there is an equal amount of information about meditation (if not more). I guess I wanted a little more out of this book. I have tried to incorporate some of the ideas in my daily life because I was open to the idea of mindfulness before reading the book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    (Mellifluous Grant)

    Very insiteful book. Discusses practicing forgiveness, and responding versus reacting. About exhibiting insiteful behavior, finding the reasoning behind your anger and fears and embracing them. will def be looking into this methodology further.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

    I won a copy of this from GoodReads. This is a very good book to read if you need to improve how you handle your anger. The book provides tools to come out in a more constructive manner.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    Very helpful and informative. The suggested exercises were not too challenging but very thought-provoking.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alecia Murphy

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  11. 5 out of 5

    kelly

  12. 4 out of 5

    Krista Long

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tabby Kat

  14. 4 out of 5

    Eric

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

  16. 4 out of 5

    Candace

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Keneipp

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sara Smith

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  20. 5 out of 5

    Denise Nguyen

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pieshine

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan Boucher

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Palacios

  25. 5 out of 5

    L_D_Allan

  26. 5 out of 5

    Raymond E.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Julie Feher

  28. 4 out of 5

    Todd

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ihsan Ali

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey H Herskovitz

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