Can meditation make us MORE irritable and angry? Yes! It may even be likely it does that.
Let’s look at whats happening, why it happens, and what to do about it.
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You’ve finished meditating, you’re in your happy place, you’re blissed out, it’s awesome. Then you do something else, something as simple as making tea, or you interact with someone else and you end up getting super-annoyed with situation.
It can be a really simple thing that puts you through the roof. For instance, why did someone put the herbal tea bags in the area with the regular caffeine tea bags? It’s a disaster, life is ruined, how can I possibly continue to live in this house where chaos rules over simple order? Where the law of the jungle reigns supreme over simple domestic organization.
What’s happening here?
Meditation is breaking down our defensive walls, all the things we build up inside of us mentally and emotionally to protect us and to keep us from having to deal with hard things.
This can be a necessary and good thing. We need those walls to keep going in life. We should not judge them and we should definitely not see them as a negative in our life.
These emotional and mental protections should only come down when we’re ready to face what’s on the other side.
But once they do start coming down, what’s on the other side can be hard to deal with – past disappointments or pains, current frustrations, future problems we’ve ignored because we can’t really do anything about them. Al of this can be right in our face.
And it’s not pleasant.
That’s why we shouldn’t dive too deep into meditation unless were ready to face things.
Meditation doesn’t create anger; it reveals the existing anger within us.
So take it slowly at first, building up your meditation while you build up your coping skills.
Why it’s happening
The reason you might get extra annoyed after meditation is because you’re coming from a wonderful light space to a heavy, mundane, disorganized, world – also known as normal life.
We want this bliss feeling last forever, we don’t want worldly things have to disrupt it but it’s going to happen and we need to learn to deal with it.
Let’s take the example of a winter coat. When we go outside in the winter a coat protects us from the snow and cold and the bitter chilled wind. When we come home, we take off the coat.
Meditation is often portrayed as a coming home. Of being within your true self, inside where it’s warm and protected.
Once were inside the house in the winter, we remove the coat and get comfy and cozy.
Now imagine being warm and snuggly and immediately heading outside into a winter storm in your pajamas and socks. It’s not going to be pleasant. You need to prepare yourself first. Put the winter coat back on first. So it is with meditation.
What to do about it
How can we avoid getting annoyed or angry after meditation?
Don’t do something normal right after meditation.
Have some sort of ritual like saying something kooky like, “Lord, grant me the strength to face the horrors of daily life with some grace.”
Do this with lightness, with humour, with recognition that the world is imperfect and at times annoying as hell. Not even mentioning the times it’s full of heartache, tragedy and injustice.
All we’re trying to do is navigate through this with some grace, some peace of mind, some strength and courage to making things better for ourselves and everyone else.
It’s hard work, it’s not always successful but we’re trying to do the best we can and we’re using meditation to do it with courage and grace.
If you can have some sort of transition from meditation time to regular time – great – do that. Prepare yourself for the hardness of the world.
Facing the world right away
If you can’t, and you have to face the world right away, then know ahead of time that you’re going to be annoyed. That’s what I do.
If I’m entering the kitchen with a post meditation bliss feeling, I know there’s going to be something in there that’s going to bug me. Since I know this, I’m going just watch this annoyance and not let it overwhelm me, not let it overpower me, not act on it. I’m just going to say, ah – there it is, my post meditation stress.
Don’t meditate too long or too deeply
But isn’t the point of meditation to go deeply into my inner being where I discover a wondrous connection to all of existence and experience infinite and eternal bliss?
Yes, but only on holidays and retreats.
Rest of the time, you’re trying to use meditation to help you get through the grind of workdays and worldly responsibilities.
If meditation is making you irritable, that’s not helpful. You should meditate less or differently. Just enough to calm you but not so much to pull you out of the world.
Do something active after mediation
Exercise, brisk walk, do some house cleaning. Get yourself out of the relaxed bliss state and into a normal activity state. This way there’s continuity of activity. You’re not going from inactive to immediately active, you’re building up to it.
This doesn’t always have to be physical activity, you can do something mentally active and challenging. Sometimes I’ll play a three minute chess game online after meditation. It get’s my mind going and produces an intensity and an andrenaline rush. I can feel myself heightened mentally and emotionally. And then I stop and move on and continue with the rest of my day.
Maybe don’t meditate
And always – if meditation is making you consistently angry or disturbed, maybe don’t meditate and do some other activity that’s relaxing or enjoyable. You can listen to music or do some gardening, cooking, yoga or exercise. You can even call or visit a friend who you know is going to cheer you up and fill you with lightness.
All of these are equally as good as mediation depending on the situation.