“Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.” (Ephesians 4:26)
Anger starts very early in life. It’s a seed that takes root from as early as a child being in his/her mother’s womb. It is displayed when a child is still young. For example, I have witnessed my grand daughter, at 9 months already throwing a tantrum whenever you take something away from her that she should not have.
I have also witnessed grown-ups too, who seemingly have not outgrown those childish tantrums, get into a rage and pose danger not just to themselves but to others around them.
When you have been mistreated or wronged by others, it is perfectly normal to feel angry. Feeling angry is not the problem, it is what you do while in that emotional state that makes the difference. You may be one who say well, ‘I have a short fuse and when people tick me off, I’ve just got to let them have it.’
What may surprise you though is that it is not entirely out of your control that you cannot master the art of managing anger. You can learn to control anger by practising these few anger control and management tips:
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
Tip #1: Find out what is behind your anger
It is possible that your environment as a child may have shaped your behavior into your adult life. If you watched members of your family scream, hit each other, throw things, not knowing any different, you might think that is the normal way to express anger. You may have been exposed to traumatic and stressful events thereby making you more vulnerable to emotions such as anger. One question you can also ask yourself is, ‘Am I really angry because I did not get my need/s met or am I embarrassed, hurt, ashamed, or insecure and is using anger as a cover up to these things?’
Some dynamics of anger
- We become more angry when we are stressed and body resources are down
- We are rarely ever angry for the reasons we think
- We are often angry when we didn’t get what we needed as a child.
- We often become angry when we see a trait in others we can’t stand in ourselves
- Underneath many current angers are old disappointments, traumas and triggers.
- Sometimes we get angry because we were hurt as a child.
- We get angry when a current event brings up an old unresolved situation from the past.
- We often feel strong emotion when a situation has a similar content, words or energy that we have felt before.
Anger is never expressed without physical warning signs and triggers and (i) controlling them means becoming aware of what they are. Here are a few:
a) Breathing faster, b) knots in your stomach, c) tension around your neck and shoulders, d) headaches, e) pounding heart, f) trouble concentrating, g) feeling the need to walk around, h) feeling clammy or flushed i) clenching your fist or your jaw
It would be helpful for you to (ii) focus on the positive rather on the things that makes you angry
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing..Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Thank about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
(iii) Avoid over generalizing, jumping to conclusions without having the facts, looking for needles in the hay sack (things to get upset about), and blaming.
(iv) Avoid people, places, and situations that bring out your worst.
Tip #3: Cooling down is a win-win
Here are ways you can cool down and have a win win pay-off:
- Take slow deep breaths – deep breathing exercise is a natural antidote for rising tension and anger
- Exercise – daily exercise helps to channel your energy in the right places, it increases your blood flow to parts of your body that normally would have gotten tensed up
- Slowly count to ten – while doing so you are giving your rational mind time to catch up with your feelings
- Pace yourself even while in the middle of a heated discussion.
- Stretch or roll your shoulders and massage the areas of tension
- Master the art of listening – give the other person time to speak without you interrupting.
Tip #4: When you have blown it, make it right quickly
Confess your faults to one another, let grace and peace replace anger and rage and never say, I told you so or you should have listened to me.’
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness ( 1 John 1:9) Most important of all continue to show love for each other for love covers a multitude of faults. (1 Peter 4:8)
Learning how to control your anger and to express it in appropriate ways that would help you to build better relationships, live happier and healthier lifestyle and achieve your goals, both in the long and short run.
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How has anger impacted your life and relationship? What has helped you to overcome? Please leave a comment and share your own experiences.