Seven Quick Tips for Con­trol­ling Anger

The Freeman - - KID STUFF - By An­drea Bo­nior, Ph.D.

Some peo­ple are prone to rage more of­ten than others, but anger is a feel­ing that many of us could use a bit of help in han­dling. The choices we make when an­gry can of­ten come back to haunt us, but the cy­cle can be hard to break. Anger has power – and there are healthy and un­healthy ways to deal with that power, from let­ting it con­trol you to wield­ing it in a way that spurs you on to some­thing pos­i­tive. Here’s how to con­trol your anger:

Pre­tend­ing you’re not an­gry – es­pe­cially while ex­hibit­ing nearly car­toon­ish phys­i­cal signs of anger – does no good for you, the tar­get of your anger, or your blood pres­sure. Many peo­ple think that to ac­knowl­edge anger is the same as act­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ately on it. That’s sim­ply not true, and the dif­fer­ence in those two con­cepts is huge. Ad­mit­ting that you are up­set, whether to your­self, or as calmly as pos­si­ble to the per­son you’re mad at can val­i­date your feel­ings. You can say, “I ad­mit I seem to be get­ting up­set here. I want to re­solve this and not do any­thing I’d re­gret, so I am go­ing to try to slow down.” It can help you feel more em­pow­ered to­wards work­ing on so­lu­tion, and it will also di­min­ish the bad feel­ing you have.

If you jot down some of your thoughts, you’ll gain some clar­ity as to how they’re serv­ing as the an­tecedents to your feel­ings. In the process, you can sort out why you’re up­set and what steps you can take work through the sit­u­a­tion. Per­haps most im­por­tant, putting your feel­ings into words can make them feel more like phys­i­cal things, and there­fore more man­age­able to get them out of your sys­tem.

Own It.

Break It Down.

Move It Out.

As phys­i­cal signs go, anger can look very sim­i­lar to other forms of up­heaval, like anx­i­ety or even ex­cite­ment. Calm­ing those phys­i­cal im­pulses, or giv­ing them some­place use­ful to go, can help you get your anger un­der con­trol. Slow down your breath­ing through sev­eral long, deep breaths. Loosen your mus­cles through clench­ing and un­clench­ing your fists and slowly do­ing a neck roll. If you can use that emo­tional up­heaval for good rather than for hit­ting some­one in the face, you’ll be bet­ter off. So chan­nel that rage into an ac­tiv­ity that can re­lease ten­sion: run­ning, kick­box­ing, danc­ing, jump­ing rope, or even just beat­ing your fists against your chest like a go­rilla. Scream­ing can also be help­ful if you are some­where iso­lated. Tears, too, can help let it out. In­stead of let­ting your frus­tra­tion burn you up, you can burn it off.

Find The Big Pic­ture.

If you’re still feel­ing steamed from that bad in­ter­ac­tion with your class­mate or that snarky tone from the kid at the play­ground, it might be time to make a list of the things you’re grate­ful for. Grat­i­tude med­i­ta­tions, or just sit­ting and fo­cus­ing on what’s right in your life, will make what you’re an­gry about seem more mole­hill than moun­tain. You might also want to con­sider what chal­lenges the per­son whom you think has wronged you is mak­ing him act that way to you. Try to em­pathize and men­tally give it to them – it can of­ten neu­tral­ize anger.

If there is a friend or loved one you trust, shar­ing your feel­ings with them can some­times be cathar­tic. But be aware that not ev­ery­one is equipped to hear dif­fi­cult feel­ings in a healthy, sup­port­ive way. Some might

Share – care­fully.

5. Be hon­est with your of­fender.

If you need time to ab­sorb the re­al­ity of what was said or done, ex­press this hon­estly to the one who hurt you. Yet you must not use time as a means of ma­nip­u­la­tion and pun­ish­ment.

Per­haps you have good rea­sons for be­ing hes­i­tant to rec­on­cile, but these must be ob­jec­tively stated. Some­times, for ex­am­ple, re­peated con­fes­sions and of­fenses of the same na­ture make it un­der­stand­ably hard for trust to be re­built. Clearly de­fine your rea­sons for doubt­ing your of­fender’s sin­cer­ity.

6. Be ob­jec­tive about your hes­i­tancy.

7. Be clear about the guide­lines for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

Es­tab­lish clear guide­lines for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. Re­quire­ments like resti­tu­tion can be clearly un­der­stood, and in­clude such fac­tors as main­tain­ing fi­nan­cial ac­count­abil­ity, hold­ing down a job, or seek­ing treat­ment for ad­dic­tions.

In Eph­e­sians 4:27 of the Bible, Paul warns about the pos­si­bil­ity of giv­ing Satan an op­por­tu­nity in our lives. Sig­nif­i­cantly, this warn­ing is given in the con­text of unchecked anger. A few verses later, he wrote: “Let all bit­ter­ness and wrath and anger and clamor and slan­der be put away from you, along with all mal­ice. And be kind to one an­other, ten­der-hearted, for­giv­ing each other, just as God in Christ also has for­given you…” Re­flect on these words and put them into prac­tice.

As the apos­tle Paul wrote: “No temp­ta­tion has over­taken you but such as is com­mon to man; and God is faith­ful, who will not al­low you to be tempted be­yond what you are able, but with the temp­ta­tion will pro­vide the way of es­cape also, that you may be able to en­dure it.” And to the Ro­mans, he wrote: “We know that God works all things to­gether for good for those who love him and are called ac­cord­ing to his pur­pose.” To quote once again from Ken Sande:

“When you are hav­ing a hard time for­giv­ing some­one, take time to note how God may be us­ing that of­fense for good. Is this an un­usual op­por­tu­nity to glo­rify God? How can you serve others and help them grow in their faith? What sins and weak­nesses of yours are be­ing ex­posed? What char­ac­ter qual­i­ties are you be­ing chal­lenged to ex­er­cise? When you per­ceive that the per­son who has wronged you is be­ing used as an in­stru­ment in God’s hand to help you ma­ture, serve others, and glo­rify him, it may be eas­ier for you to move ahead with for­give­ness.

Change of­ten re­quires time and ef­fort. Pe­ri­odic fail­ure by an of­fender does not al­ways in­di­cate an un­re­pen­tant heart. Be­hav­ior pat­terns of­ten run in deep chan­nels. They can place a pow­er­ful grip on a per­son’s life. A key in­di­ca­tor of change is the at­ti­tude of the of­fender. While you may pro­ceed with some cau­tion, be care­ful about de­mand­ing guar­an­tees from a per­son who has truly ex­pressed re­pen­tance. If they stum­ble, the process of loving con­fronta­tion, con­fes­sion, and for­give­ness may need to be re­peated. Set­backs and dis­ap­point­ments are of­ten part of the process of change. Don’t give up too eas­ily on the process of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. Strive for the goal of a fully re­stored re­la­tion­ship.

8. Be alert to evil schemes.

just not be good lis­ten­ers, and could just try to bot­tle up your emo­tions for you. Others might try to fan the flames, mak­ing you feel an­grier.

Act. If some­one ha­bit­u­ally does you wrong or makes you an­gry, you need to do what you can to plan steps to im­prove the sit­u­a­tion. You need to care­fully think up ways and how do them, al­ways with very im­por­tant sense of con­trol, to re­duce the of­fence and in­crease your peace.

Some­times things may seem to be re­solved on the sur­face, but the anger still lingers resid­u­ally, in the form of ir­ri­tabil­ity, in­som­nia, or even feel­ing de­pressed. Be­ing mind­ful of your thoughts and feel­ings, and what trig­gers them, can serve as an early warn­ing sys­tem for pre­clud­ing fu­ture con­flicts. It can also help you de­ter­mine if you need to talk to a pro­fes­sional about it.

9. Be mind­ful of God’s con­trol.

Be Watch­ful.

10. Be re­al­is­tic about the process.

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