Work Happier by Freeing Yourself from Anger

by Judy Wiggins

Anger can feel like a given. Someone cuts you off in traffic; your spouse leaves toothpaste in the sink; your colleague dumps a big project on you when you’re already swamped with the work you’ve got. Then there are bigger things like upsetting world events, politicians taking widespread actions that negatively impact your life, personal relationship troubles, or the untimely death of a loved one. It’s all too easy to let life’s more stressful moments spill over from frustration or sadness into downright anger, especially when these moments seemingly conspire to stack up in front of us all at once! But what if it didn’t have to be this way? What if there were a simple method we could use to let go of anger whenever it arises? There is, and here’s how I discovered it.

I started my career as a licensed social worker in Chicago, IL. At that time, I worked with children with special needs; this often included children who had no language and who exhibited severe behavioral problems. We all want to bring our very best to our work, both for the practical reasons of excelling in our careers and for more personal reasons related to our own well-being and enjoyment of the job — and for those of us who work in professions where we care for others, a third element of bringing one’s best for other people comes strongly into play.

As I look back at that time in my career, I can tell you that I was very stressed. My extremely challenging role supporting these kids was taking more from me than I was able to easily replenish within myself on a given day. On top of that, I also served as Co-President of the Special Education Cooperative’s teachers’ union. I was always busy, always needed, and often overwhelmed.

Then one day while browsing through a local bookstore, I came across a title that really grabbed my attention: “Midnights with the Mystic: A Little Guide to Freedom and Bliss,” by Cheryl Simone. The book detailed Cheryl’s conversations with yogi, mystic, and visionary Sadhguru. Freedom and bliss sounded like just what I needed, so I bought the book and read it ravenously the moment I got home.

What opened up for me that day was a new insight into my own ability to experience joy in my life and my work. There was a path forward and a life of calm joyfulness felt within reach. When I heard shortly thereafter that I could experience Sadhguru’s coursework in person, I jumped at the opportunity.

Let Anger Fall Away

I took Sadhguru’s Inner Engineering class in July of 2009, and here’s why that matters: The next time you find yourself wondering if it is truly possible to let the angers and frustrations of your day fall away so you can have more joy in your work and life, remember that the answer is YES.

Numerous studies have shown that yoga and meditation are beneficial to overall health and well-being, and I discovered this for myself firsthand. I took the course and committed to the daily yoga and meditation practices Sadhguru suggests (about 20 minutes a day), and I have been able to shed my anger and tap more deeply into joy and compassion.

I have since moved to Florida, where I now work as an Intensive Trauma Specialist for children aged 18 and under. Without a practice that grounds me in my innate joyfulness and allows me to let go of the anger, sadness, and frustration I encounter, I would not be able to do my job with the same effectiveness. It’s not that I don’t get angry any more — I do! But now, I can recognize that anger, take appropriate positive action to resolve the issue at hand, and then let the anger go.

People and situations that once could upset me for weeks and months no longer have power over me. Emotional upsets slide away so quickly now, and perhaps the most significant change that has happened over time is the deepened sense of love, empathy, and compassion I feel for human beings.

Sadhguru’s 3 Tips for Letting Go of Anger

Sadhguru’s methods for letting go of anger have truly transformed my life and my challenging career. Here are some of his most poignant insights. Explore what’s possible in your own life for dropping anger in favor of joy and inner peacefulness. You may be surprised at just how simple a life free from the burden of anger can be.

Question: How does one conquer one’s negative emotions and anger?

1. Don’t try to conquer anger: “Why do you want to conquer them? You would want to conquer something that you value, isn’t it? Do you want to conquer something that you do not value? Why would you take the trouble of conquering something that is of no value to you? If you want to conquer something, would you go and conquer a wasteland or would you want to go and conquer a rich land? A rich land. If you are a king, what would you want to conquer? A rich kingdom, not a wasteland. You don’t want to conquer a desert. So, why do you want to conquer something that you do not want? So, first drop the idea of conquering.”

2. Anger is impermanent: “So, anger is not in constant existence. That which is not in existence, trying to control or conquer that, will just be a wasteful and hallucinatory effort.”

3. Why be unpleasant?: “Sometimes your mind turns unpleasant. One form of unpleasantness is called anger. Or in other words, sometimes you turn unpleasant. One form of your unpleasantness is referred to as anger; other forms of unpleasantness are called by many other different names. We will just take anger as an example. Why would anybody make himself unpleasant? There is sufficient unpleasantness in the world. Where is the need for you to make yourself unpleasant? Right now, you are in a kind of childishness where if situations around you are unpleasant, you will also become unpleasant. But tell me, is there any intelligence in this? Especially when the situations around you are unpleasant, is it not all the more important that you be very pleasant within yourself?”

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