Move From Anger to Equanimity in 10 Steps

In Mindfulness, Self-Care, Stress Reduction Articles by MaryAnn

Is it possible to maintain composure and tranquility when everything around you is chaotic? Equanimity is the opposite of what most of us experience each day. It’s the ability to remain calm and composed at all times.

Add peace and composure to your life:

All emotions begin with a thought. This is in contrast to what many people believe. It’s common to believe that something terrible happens first, and then we feel bad. But we can remember past experiences and feel bad. We can look forward to the future and feel excited.

Recognize that your thoughts create your emotional states.

Maintain an awareness of your thoughts. Keep track of what you’re thinking. You’re not your thoughts. You’re the thing that notices what you’re thinking. When you begin to have negative thoughts, it’s essential to recognize that fact. Avoid allowing your emotions to build. Notice that you’re thinking negatively.

Examine your thoughts without being judgmental. This is noticing your thoughts but on a deeper level. Develop a curiosity about your thoughts and thinking patterns. Ask yourself why you’re having this thought. Be amused by how your mind works.

Focus on your breathing. There’s nothing mystical about the breath. But it has several helpful characteristics:

Your breath is always with you.

Breathing is one of the few bodily functions that you can control.

The way you breathe impacts your physiology.

Breathing is current and real. You can focus on it—your mind in the present moment and dealing with reality.

Focusing on your breath will prevent your mind from running wild. It will calm your emotions and your body.

Let go. It’s that simple. You don’t have to allow yourself to become upset. Just take a deep breath, let it out, and let go of the negative feelings and energy inside of you. Relax.

Practice. If the sight of your ex sends you into a rage, imagine seeing them without this rage. Run through the process in the comfort and privacy of your home. The more you practice, the easier it will be to take back control of your emotions.

Strong emotions are very distracting. It’s not reasonable to believe you can control yourself in the most challenging situations, but practice will help you maintain equanimity most of the time.

Focus on solutions. Getting upset doesn’t create the best mental state for finding solutions. And equanimity doesn’t mean being happy and satisfied with leaving dog poop on the carpet. Deal with the situation appropriately, but avoid experiencing the emotions that impede your ability to function optimally. Working on a solution is much more effective than worrying.

Meditate daily. If you’re following these steps, you’re already meditating. Focus on your breath, notice your thoughts, and bring your attention back to your breath. Let go of any negative emotions. Most meditative practices follow this general format.

Be mindful. Keep your thoughts centered on your current activity or your environment. If you’re having a conversation, stay focused on the other person. With 100% mindfulness, equanimity is all but guaranteed.

Notice how good you feel. That’s the feeling you want to maintain when you’re feeling calm and centered, attempt to preserve it, when you start to drift away from that state, attempt to bring yourself back.

Maintaining a state of equanimity is very challenging. You’ll find that your success will come most easily in mildly irritating situations, like waiting in line. As your skill grows, you can conquer more challenging problems. If you’re actively living your life, total equanimity is an incredible challenge. But even a little will significantly benefit your life.