“Be angry, and yet do not sin;
do not let the sun go down on your anger”
The emotion of anger was designed for a purpose. Anger can help preserve life in the face of attack, or it may alert us to stand up against injustice. However, when anger is vented thoughtlessly, it can hurt and destroy relationships. If we choose to bottle up anger, it can lead to bitterness or depression. God’s word leads us to deal with anger immediately rather than letting it fester, or lead to a loss of control where it can become destructive.
Anger management issues are complex. In our previous article we discussed how to identify if this emotion is a problem. Then we characterized the type of attitude needed to deal with anger problems. Now, we can establish a practical strategy for management of these feelings.
“Don’t be like this guy”
Practical Strategies for Anger Management
“Good sense makes one slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook an offense”
- Predict Problem AreasMany of our behaviors will occur in patterns. We commonly call these, “habits.” The bad news is that habits can be difficult to break. Anger often falls into this category. The first step to breaking the cycle of dysfunctional anger is to recognize where it is most likely to occur. To increase awareness of your anger cycle, start to reflect on your recent history of anger outbursts. Simply start with the 5 W’s of anger: Who, What, When, Where and Why did this event occur? To take this prediction project to the next level, start an anger journal. For the next month, record when your anger outbursts occur. Start to reflect on the triggers and underlying causes. Soon, you will be able to better predict when you are most likely to experience loss of control.
- Prepare a Time OutWe are not trying to be child-like here, but this strategy really does work. Anger at the extreme involves a “flooding” of adrenaline and other hormones that lock us physically into a “fight or flight” reaction. Scientific studies show that in this state, there are severe limits on our ability to communicate and manage conflict effectively. When flooded, our bodies are designed to perform in survival mode. Research also shows that once this condition is triggered, we will remain in this state for a certain period of time. Take a time out, go to your corner, and wait until you are calm. Give yourself and others time to re-engage at relationship level, instead of being defensive or offensive.
- Develop Simple StrategiesHere is the place for some simple techniques. While you take a time out, also take your pulse. When you are “flooded” with anger, your pulse is elevated. Agree not to talk or act on your emotions until your heart has returned to a resting pulse level (Resting pulse rate is the number of times that your heart beats per minute when you are at complete rest).More simply, count backward from 50 while taking deep breaths. Just relax until you are ready to reflect on what just triggered you. By the time you are to 0, you will be in a lot better shape to deal with others.
- According to anger expert, Les Carter (2004), “one of the healthy functions of anger is preservation of legitimate convictions.” Resolution requires alternative ways to address important matters and issues with your loved ones. Don’t give up. Develop goals to address long standing problems that have fueled anger and kept you distant from others.Finally, cultivate patience. If you are truly dealing with an anger management issue, this is going to take time. Build spiritual support and accountability into your daily routine. Know that if you struggle with anger or bitterness, the Lord can heal. Seek Him today in prayer, find help in a local church, and reach out for Christian counseling.Christian Counseling Associates provides help for those who struggle with anger management issues. In our locations from Washington to Greensburg, Kittanning to South Park, and other locations near you, we have faithful experts available to help. If you or a loved one struggle with anger, call us today at 724-396-1510 or visit our website at ccawpa.com.Join us next week for a special announcement regarding our upcoming marriage weekend experience, “From This Day Forward 2016.” You won’t want to miss this great event!
Until next time…