“Neurologists claim that every time you resist acting on your anger, you’re actually rewiring your brain to be calmer and more loving.” ~Unknown
One of the most impactful ways that mindfulness has changed my life is how I’m able to work with my feelings of anger.
Anyone who has met me in recent years would never know how anger used to run my life. I often wish that people who are just now meeting me could realize the transformation I’ve gone through from my past. If people could see how mindfulness has changed me from an angry, irritable person who hated the world to a fun-loving, happy-go-lucky guy, I think everyone would give mindfulness a try.
My mindfulness practice has allowed me to pay attention to what’s happening in my mind and body when anger is rising. I often call this the “volume knob” of anger, and I’ll dive a little more into that shortly.
First, I want to give you a glimpse into my past so you can have a better frame of reference of where I used to be and where I’m at now through a practice of mindfulness.
The Child of an Alcoholic
I grew up as a child of an alcoholic mother, and this gave me a host of issues while growing up, but the biggest one was anger.
I was extremely angry with my mom because I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t stop drinking for me. I thought that if she truly loved me, she’d be able to quit drinking for me, but she didn’t. My mom ended up getting sober when I was twenty years old, but it was twenty years too late, and I still had two decades of resentments toward her.
Aside from the anger I had toward my mother, I had anger toward the rest of the world.
Looking back on it, it seems completely insane (and it kind of was). It angered me growing up with kids who didn’t have to go through what I was going through in my home life. The kids I grew up with had great parents who made a decent amount of money and could buy them whatever they wanted. But it wasn’t just the material things; they actually had parents and family members who cared about them.
A Life Full of Anger
Being angry all the time was exhausting, but it was the only way I knew how to be. Because of this, I took my anger out on anyone who crossed paths with me.
Although I wasn’t someone who got into many physical altercations growing up, I had words that were venom. I hurt many people throughout my life by saying the most hurtful things I could think of, and then I felt extremely guilty about it. While I thought…