We touched on some of the benefits of mindfulness in the previous section. Here, we go even deeper into the reasons why it is important to cultivate this skill in your own life. Essentially, it all boils down to the following statement:
The present moment – this moment – is all we have.
We are powerless to act in the past or the future. We can plan for the future or ruminate on the past, but all of this happens in the present. Given that you are wanting to make a change in your life and better manage your anger, you must recognise that your power to do this lies in the present.
It follows then that learning to be in the present is an important part of your journey. People who have problems with anger are often swept away by their emotions. Mindfulness can teach you to insert a pause between feeling an overwhelming emotion, such as anger, and taking action. This pause can help prevent you from responding in the kind of reactive ways that have caused you so much pain and regret up until now. In other words, being mindful enables you to make skillful choices rather than resorting to unhealthy and impulsive behaviours.
Mindfulness also encourages a non-judgmental stance and allows us to let go of things that have happened in the past. When you live mindfully, you must only deal with pain of the present, rather than the pain of the present, past, and future all at once. This often allows people to better manage their emotions. After all, carrying around less pain means you have more space to deal with whatever shows up in your life from moment to moment. As a result, you are less likely to feel pushed around, angered, and controlled by your emotions.
You’ve probably noticed, when you’re feeling angry, that your judgement becomes clouded and you’re unable to think clearly. Some people describe this experience as ‘seeing red’, in other words, your thoughts and senses become overpowered by your extreme emotional state. Mindfulness will give you the skills to ‘anchor’ yourself in this emotional storm, so that you can weigh up all the information and choose a course of action that feels right for you. Mindfulness also allows us to enjoy the positives and engage more meaningfully in life.
Before moving on, we encourage you to take a moment to think about where your mind spends most of its time – past, present, or future? What could be some benefits of bringing your mind into the present more often?