Mindfulness is the practice of being totally absorbed in the present, physically, mentally, and spiritually. This state can be achieved through various activities, like meditation, yoga, or even washing the dishes. And while the point of being in the present is to stay calm, many have reported intense feelings of anger and hostility after a mindfulness session.
Here are 3 reasons why mindfulness can make you angry:
- Mindfulness causes your body to release pent-up stress.
- Mindfulness unearths aggressive emotions.
- Mindfulness purges hostility from the body.
Let’s cover in greater detail why mindfulness can make you angry before looking at what you can do about it.
1. Mindfulness Causes Your Body To Release Pent-Up Stress
All of us experience numerous stressful events throughout our lives. More importantly, we experience tiny, seemingly insignificant stressors in a single day.
Most of us believe these aren’t worth paying attention to. Even if we get angry in the moment, we tend to dismiss the feeling as something inconsequential.
Remember, emotion is energy in motion, and energy can only be transformed from one form to another. When we suppress our feelings in a moment, they haven’t disappeared. In fact, hostile emotions like anger and envy are stored in the body.
To understand this phenomenon better, observe cats and dogs. You’ll notice that when they get angry, their upper back arches upward, and their fur stands on end until the energy is either released through action or the passage of time.
While it isn’t equally evident in humans, anger creates energy in the upper back to initiate the fight response. Most of us suppress anger mentally, but this energy is stored as chronic tension in the upper back.
When we’re mindful through meditation or yoga, our bodies relax along with our minds. As that happens, this pent-up tension is released, and the emotion that caused it surfaces again.
This release is one of the main reasons why being mindful and relaxed can lead to feelings of anger and hostility.
2. Mindfulness Unearths Aggressive Emotions
The essence of mindfulness is allowing thoughts and feelings to surface so you can observe them non-judgmentally. When you’re mindful, you’re in a state of openness to the environment of your inner world.
In most instances, we’re either thinking or acting on our thoughts without compunction. Being in a state of mindfulness means removing these avenues of expression and allowing yourself to be as you are. When you’re in this mental space, suppressed emotions tend to bubble up quickly.
In traditional society, anger is seen as a negative trait, so we cover up our aggressive tendencies to blend into the crowd. However, when experiencing this inner world without judgment, this aggression doesn’t need to be covered up and can express itself freely.
That’s why meditation can sometimes lead to the discovery of hostile emotions that you didn’t know existed. And since there’s no need to suppress them when you’re in a mindful state, most people experience these emotions in their total splendor.
As mentioned earlier, energy doesn’t disappear; it either transforms or gets stored. The angry emotions tend to come to the surface when you create an environment for them to do so.
3. Mindfulness Purges Hostility From the Body
The point of practicing mindfulness is to observe our inner world and remove what doesn’t serve us any longer. Luckily, our bodies are experts at expelling unpleasant feelings from our being, and mindfulness is a tool to help us do the same.
When you meditate, practice yoga, or perform any other mindful activity, you’re inviting calmness and clarity into your life. Your body is already aware of the spaces that need to be freed of aggression before you can ask for tranquility.
Most times, your body hones into these feelings a lot quicker than the conscious mind can grasp. These negative emotions must then be purged from the body in order to make room for order and clarity. Sometimes, getting angry is the best way to release these feelings.
Eliciting feelings of anger is your body’s attempt at removing these emotions from within and bringing them to the surface where you can become conscious of them.
What To Do With This Anger
Feeling angry after a meditation session can be confusing, especially if you believe meditation is supposed to help you achieve tranquility and peace of mind.
However, bringing powerful emotions to the surface is a part of the mindfulness journey, and you can rest assured that you’re on the right path.
When you get angry after practicing any form of mindfulness, consider finding different ways of releasing this anger or using it for a productive purpose. This way, you can rid yourself of hostile emotions and clear out your inner space.
Here are a few things you can do when you feel anger after practicing mindfulness:
Understand It’s in the Past
The first step is to accept the hostile emotions that arise and acknowledge that these feelings were in the past and aren’t an accurate reflection of you right now.
Don’t fight what comes up; it’s simply a sign that you’re noticing the things that don’t serve you anymore and that you need to let go of.
Hit the Gym
Anger can be an excellent motivator when used intuitively. The extra energy coursing through your body can help push your body during an intense session at the gym. So consider coupling your mindfulness sessions with your workouts.
Attack a Project
As we’ve mentioned, anger can be a great driver. Using its energy for something productive instead of destructive is an effective method to purge the negativity associated with the emotion. If you’ve got a project to work on, consider using aggression as extra fuel to get it done.
Aggression is frowned upon as a negative, harmful emotion. However, it’s an integral part of the human experience, and there’s nothing we can do to avoid feeling angry sometimes.
Instead of worrying about it, consider accepting this feeling through mindful practices and work towards using it in a productive, wholesome way.