How to control anger?


My biggest issue I am facing right now in my spiritual development is anger. I find householder life is often very stressful and leaves me so frustrated and angry. I try to handle situations in a calm and patient manner - like when my kids colour on walls or refuse to go to bed - but often I find that the longer I try to be calm the worse my outburst is later on. What is the best way to handle strong emotions like anger and frustration?

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  • Hi Jahnavi,

    May this message find you well.

    I'm a Mother too and I also experience these things. 

    I try to look at the situation from the Childs point of view or from his Fathers point of view.  The more I understand their situation, the more I can have compassion for them and that effortlessly disolves the anger.  Its a dreadful emotion full of suffering and I also struggle with it too.  I think many many Mothers do Jahnavi.  Life is very difficult for Mothers, so much suffering.  I would encourage any Woman not to have Children because of the level of suffering involved and because there are so many Children already in the world who are hungry and in poverty. 

    When the Anger comes, I try to welcome it in, as in, accept the suffering, it's very difficult but accepting it will take the edge off.  If its too much, I leave the room were the Child is. I go to the bathroom and have a loo break and take a breather.  I try to remember that we are all suffering and that the situation I am in is caused not just by myself or the child but also by my Child's Father and society.  I try to welcome and accept the Anger.  I have learned that by accepting my emotions, they dissolve and I gain strength.  I chant all day but not on beads. I chant doing housework, changing nappies, cooking, cleaning, while in the shower.  Sitting down with Japa beads is a luxury for Monks and Nuns.  I offer food, I pray as much as possible.  I remember that my Child is only a Toddler and has no idea what he's doing, I practice laughing at him. 

    I remind myself that every day something will go wrong, that's the material world we are in.  Every day something breaks, or falls, or gets torn, or blows away, or spills, or falls over.  Every day something goes wrong and I say to myself, yep! This is the material world and I try to laugh.  When my Toddler does something I practicing laughing instead, when I bang my head I practice laughing again.  Laughter is a great friend.

    Also, this is important, the Anger is our friend in terms of, it shows us were we are at spiritually.  It is our Spiritual Master.  The more compassion we have for ourself and others, the less it will appear.  When I feel angry at someone, I think about all the suffering they have went through and then it dissolves.  My home is my Temple, I chant with as much concentration as possible throughout the day while doing the work needed to care for the Child that lives with me.  When I walk from one room to another, I join my hands in prayer position and I chant while walking, concentrating as much as possible on the Mantra.  It's not about having beads in my hand, it's about the level of concentration in the Mind on the Mantra.  We also need to use our common sense.  A Mother isn't living the life of a Monk or Nun.  We need to look at the principles of our Krishna Consciousness process and harmonise them with our work as Mothers.  I send you all my love and remind you that Mothers all over the World are suffering alongside us Jahnavi, we are not alone, this is very very very common, in every house. 

    Finally, I have started to notice that the anger that arises in me is also because I don't want to accept my vulnerability and ask for help.  I don't like feeling vulerable, because then I feel afraid and the fear makes me angry.  Fear and Anger go together.  The anger is me fighting my own feeling of being vulerable.  As a Mother, I need protection, I need love, I need my Son's Father to care for me.  I need love and sometimes, I find that difficult to face and accept.  I find it difficult to feel vulerable.  I need someone to watch over me and care for me. I need love, kindness.  I need to be cared for.  So when Anger comes, I welcome it in, I try my best not to fight it, I say to it "Come on in Anger, come on in, I'm here". I talk to the anger ""I see you are suffering, I hear you, come on in my old friend, come on in, it's ok".  Only through kindess will it dissolve.  May this be of benefit to you and any other hard working, over-tired Mothers.  

  • Hare Krishna, 

    Strategies for Controlling Your Anger

    Everybody gets angry, but out-of-control rage isn't good for you or those around you. When you can't control your anger, you may get into fist-fights or drive recklessly, for example, endangering yourself and others.

    But anger also plays havoc with your own body. Research shows that anger can increase people's — especially men's — chances of developing coronary heart disease and having worse outcomes if they already have heart disease.1 Anger can also lead to stress-related problems, such as insomnia, digestive problems, and headaches.

    You can learn to control your anger, however. In one study for example, cognitive-behavioral therapy improved people's control of their anger and reduced their hostility, aggression, and depression.2 Here are some strategies you can use to simmer down. If you are in a relationship with a hot-tempered partner, you could both benefit from these techniques.


    Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help soothe angry feelings.

    Try these simple steps:

    • Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm. Breathing from your chest won't relax you, so picture your breath coming up from your "gut."
    • Slowly repeat a calming word or phrase, such as "relax" or "take it easy." Keep repeating it to yourself while breathing deeply.
    • Use imagery. Visualize a relaxing experience from your memory or your imagination.
    • Try non-strenuous, slow exercises. Yoga and similar activities can relax your muscles and calm you down.

    Practice these techniques daily. Eventually, you'll be able to use them automatically when you're in a tense situation.

    Cognitive Restructuring

    Simply put, cognitive restructuring means changing the way you think. When you're angry, your thinking can get overly dramatic. When something goes wrong, you might tell yourself, "Everything's ruined!" With cognitive restructuring, you replace those kinds of thoughts with more reasonable ones. You might tell yourself instead, "This is frustrating, but it's not the end of the world."

    Try these strategies:

    • Avoid words like "never" or "always" when talking about yourself or others. Statements like "This never works" or "You're always forgetting things" make you feel your anger is justified and there's no way to solve the problem. Such statements also alienate and humiliate people who might otherwise be willing to work with you on a solution.
    • Focus on goals. Say you have a friend who's constantly late when you get together. Don't go on the attack. Instead, think about what you want to accomplish. State the problem and then try to find a solution that works for both of you. If that doesn't work, take matters into your own hands. You might tell your friend to meet you half an hour earlier than you plan to arrive, so that he or she will get there when you do. Either way, the problem is solved — without damaging the friendship.
    • Use logic. Even when it's justified, anger can quickly become irrational. Remind yourself that the world is not out to get you and that you're just experiencing one of life's inevitable rough spots. Do this each time you start feeling angry, and you'll get a more balanced perspective.
    • Translate expectations into desires. Angry people tend to demand things, whether it's fairness, appreciation, agreement, or just the willingness to do things their way. We are all hurt, disappointed, and frustrated when we don't get what we want, but don't let disappointment turn into anger. Some people use anger as a way to avoid feeling hurt, but that doesn't make the hurt go away. Instead, become aware of your demanding nature and change your demands into requests. Saying you would like something is healthier than saying you must have it.


    Sometimes anger and frustration are the result of very real and inescapable problems in our lives. Anger can be a healthy, natural response to these difficulties. Some people have a cultural belief that every problem has a solution. That belief adds to their frustration when they find out that this isn't always true. If you can't find a solution, focus on how to handle and face the problem.

    Make a plan and check your progress along the way, using a guide to organizing or time management if needed. Give it your best, but don't punish yourself if you don't find an answer right away.

    Better Communication

    Angry people tend to jump to conclusions, however far-fetched. If you are in a heated discussion, slow down. Listen carefully to what the other person is saying. And take your time before answering. Instead of saying the first thing that comes into your head, think carefully about what you want to say.

    Think about what's behind your anger. Say you value your freedom, but your significant other wants more closeness. If he or she starts complaining, don't retaliate by painting you partner as a jailer.

    It's natural to get defensive when you're criticized, but don't fight back. Instead, listen to what's beneath the words. Perhaps the real message is that your partner feels neglected and unloved. It may take patient questioning, but don't let anger spin things out of control.


    Humor can help defuse rage in several ways.

    For one thing, it can help you get a more balanced perspective. When you find yourself thinking of a coworker as a single-cell life form, think what that would look like, picturing an amoeba sitting at a desk and talking on the phone. Or draw a picture. Doing so will take the edge off your fury or help defuse a tense situation.

    Humor can also help when you find yourself being unreasonable. If you find yourself thinking that things not going your way is an unbearable indignity you shouldn't have to tolerate, picture yourself as a god or goddess who always gets your way while others defer to you. The more detail you add, the more you'll realize how unreasonable you are and how unimportant the things you're angry about really are.

    There are two cautions in using humor. First, don't try to just "laugh off" your problems. Rather, use humor to help yourself face them more constructively. Second, don't use harsh, sarcastic humor. Such humor is just another form of aggression.

    What these techniques have in common is a refusal to take yourself too seriously.

    Environmental Change

    Sometimes it's your immediate circumstances that prompt angry feelings. Problems and responsibilities can weigh on you and make you angry at the trap you seem to have fallen into — and all the people and things that form that trap.

    Take road rage, for example. If driving makes you furious, research suggests,  you're putting yourself and others at risk.3 Angry drivers are more aggressive, take more chances, and report more accidents and near-misses than their more relaxed counterparts. If your commute leaves you frustrated or enraged, perhaps you could find a less congested or more scenic route. Or investigate alternative options, such as taking a bus or train. Finding alternatives can ease your anger, making the road safer for everyone.

    Try these other tips for easing up:

    • Give yourself a break. Make sure to schedule some personal time during especially stressful parts of the day. You might have a rule that the first 15 minutes after coming home from work will be quiet time, for example. With this brief respite, you'll feel better prepared to handle demands from your kids without blowing up.
    • Consider the timing. If you and your spouse tend to fight at night, perhaps it's because you're tired, distracted, or just accustomed to fighting then. Try changing the times when you talk about important matters so these talks don't turn into arguments.
    • Avoid what you can. If you get furious when you walk by your child's messy room, shut the door. Don't make yourself look at what infuriates you. And don't tell yourself your child should clean up so you won't have to be angry. That's not the point: The point is to keep yourself calm.

    How a Psychologist Can Help

    If you continue to feel overwhelmed, consult with a psychologist or other licensed mental health professional who can help you learn how to control your anger. He or she can help you identify problem areas and then develop an action plan for changing them.

    Practicing psychologists use a variety of evidence-based treatments — most commonly therapy — to help people improve their lives. Psychologists, who have doctoral degrees, receive one of the highest levels of education of any health care professionals. On average, they spend seven years in education and training following their undergraduate degrees.

    Article Sources

    1. Chida, Y., & Steptoe, A. (2009). "The association of anger and hostility with future coronary heart disease: A meta-analytic review of prospective evidence." Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 53 (11): 936-946.
    2. McCloskey, M.S., Noblett, K.L., & et al. (2008). "Cognitive-behavioral therapy for intermittent explosive disorder: A pilot randomized clinical trial." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76 (5): 876-876.
    3. Deffenbacher, J.L. (2009). "Angry drivers: Characteristics and clinical interventions." Revista Mexicana de Psicología, 26 (1): 5-16.

    Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya 

    krsnaraja melvin

  • Volunteer

    Hare Krishna Mataji, please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada

    I asked this (general) question to a dear senior devotee friend of mine - Badrinarayan Prabhu (now Badrinarayan Swami). I asked this about 4 years ago - so when I was around 17 years old

    Me: I still have another question in mind. I often hear in lectures that material desire can be avoided by associating it to Krishna. For example, if I go shopping and see some fruit. Instead of thinking, "this fruit looks very nice. Let me buy it so I can enjoy the sweetness," I could associate it to Krishna by saying that "my Krishna would enjoy this sweet fruit." 
    But what happens in the case of anger? How can one control their anger?I heard that chanting the holy name of Krishna will help keep one's cool, but I tried this when I just lost my cool, and while it did work in the long run (maybe a few minutes or so), I could feel that anger in me, and it really makes me sick. So am I correct in believing that chanting the holy name during times of anger to calm one's self down in an acquired habit over time? This leads to my final question - how does one avoid anger all together. What I mean is, is there any other solution in conjunction with chanting the mahamantra. 
    Badrinarayan Prabhu:
    As for managing anger, we have to recognize that we have been conditioned for so many lifetimes. We cannot shake that off so easily. Becoming free from these things does not happen over night. It is a gradual and long term process. But we can have confidence that we are moving in the right direction. Srila Prabhupada gives the example that when you are very hungry and you sit down at the table to take your meal. Upon the first bite you are not fully satisfied but you are feeling some relief and know that if you keep siting at the table and continue to eat you will in due course become fully satisfied. We already feel some relief and strength by chanting (although we may not be successful in controlling our senses every time). As we continue to advance in spiritual life, we will come to that point of complete freedom from anger.
    Krishna says in the Gita 2.70
    “A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires—that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still—can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.”
    The point is that the rivers continue to flow into the ocean but the ocean is steady. We will have our moments of agitation. This world can be a troubling and stressful place. So the flash point, the moments of agitation will continue to appear. But with strong Krishna consciousness, we will have the ability to control our impulses, consider the situation philosophically and thus stay on a higher, Krishna conscious plan. But this comes over time and with practice, not immediately.
    The pure manifestation of anger is in defense of Krishna and His devotees and His things (if someone attacks the temple etc.) That is a different type of anger, not due to our false ego being upset or our plan for sense gratification being disturbed.
    Also, when we meet remind me to tell you the story of the cobra who became a disciple of Narada Muni and Srila Prabhupada manifesting anger in training his disciple Satsvarupa Maharaja when the Dallas Deities were painted. These narrations are too much to type in for e-mail.
    Thank you for your thoughtful questions.
    Your servant,
    Badrinarayan dasa

    It doesn't directly answer your question, but I do hope it helps a tiny bit. 

  • Hare Krishna,

    Controlling hunger is very hard to do. Just like anger. To remove hunger the stomach has to be fed. To control anger the mind has to be uploaded with good thoughts. If the mind wants money, the owner should be given immediately money lest it would go into tantrum. Tantrum is not good because the mind can will its owner to do something bad. Maybe harm, rob or kill the person who refuse to give him money. So, the owner of the mind should train it to be sober and not to get mad if it did not get what it wanted. The spirit-soul, the owner of the mind does not need money. So, why should it let his mind want money? Because he wants to buy an expensive dress, new car etc?

    Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya

    krsnaraja melvin
  • Bg 5.27-28 — Shutting out all external sense objects, keeping the eyes and vision concentrated between the two eyebrows, suspending the inward and outward breaths within the nostrils, and thus controlling the mind, senses and intelligence, the transcendentalist aiming at liberation becomes free from desire, fear and anger. One who is always in this state is certainly liberated.

  • Volunteer

    I personally like to depend on Krishna for everything, even controlling anger.

    Solution is doing Sankirtan. Sit with your kids and sing Hare Krishna Kirtan.

    Depend on the Holy Names of Lord Shri Krishna.

    Japa is lot harder to do. 90% of the practicing devotees do offensive inattentive Japa. 

    Kirtan singing can be done with less difficulty in terms of distractions and therefore more effective in our purificatory process.

    Try always to do with feeling and emotion as Prabhupad wanted us to do. Inattentive japa, done just to keep the count and rushing to finish quota and therefore, when interrupted will make one angry.

    Mataji, get used to it. At least, your kids are letting  you do some Japa. Instead of getting angry, be thankful, because, in the spiritual world, when you are taking care of little Krishna, you will not get any time to do Japa or anything for that matter. Because Krishna wont let you. Unless of course he is out stealing butter :))

  • Volunteer

    Chapter 2: Contents of the Gītā Summarized

    TEXT 62
    dhyayato visayan pumsah sangas tesupajayate sangat sanjayate kamah kamat krodho 'bhijayate


    dhyayataḥ—while contemplating; viṣayān—sense objects; puṁsaḥ—of the person; saṅgaḥ—attachment; teṣu—in the sense objects; upajāyate—develops;saṅgāt—attachment; sañjāyate—develops; kāmaḥ—desire; kāmāt—from desire;krodhaḥ—anger; abhijāyate—becomes manifest.


    While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.
  • Thank you everyone for your responses.

    I try to chant as much as possible, but often ends up causing me stress when my children constantly interrupt. Chanting on beads is impossible unless they are asleep - and usually when they sleep I need to sleep or do chores. I simply don't have time to sit and do japa on beads. I am trying to chant more...

    • Volunteer

      Its a great idea to take a nap when the kid takes a nap. However, set an alarm to sleep only 20 minutes. No more. Not even 25.

      This will give a lot of energy and time to do your japa, while they continue to sleep longer.

      In the 20 minute cycle you hit REM sleep state and anything beyond that will make you tired.

      If you can do that 2 to 3 times a day, it will give you 3 to 4.5 extra hours of attentive chanting time. I know it doesnt make sense, until you actually try it. It will take about 4 days of bodily adjustment, and wont be so productive in the beginning.

      Please let me know how it turned out, if you do try it. Hare Krishna

    • Volunteer

      Hare Krsna,
      My obeisances to all devotees, guru and gauranga.

      I had/have the same challenge at home because my wife isnt very supportive when i sit down for chanting. So, I decided to sacrifice my sleep for chanting. I wake up early and do most of my rounds. I use my break times at work to complete the remaining rounds. This way i get time to spend with the kids, do whatever chores one is expected to do.

      I agree, its not easy to stay KC for a grahasta but Krsna sees the effort. Have a chat with Krsna and place your desire that you want to chant His names. He knows your circumstances, He will make arrangements for you mataji.

      Please do at least one round..

      Chant and be happy.

      Srila prabhupada ki jai..

      Hare krsna

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