Do You Need Anger Management Therapy?

You probably know someone who you feel needs help to manage their anger. Most people do. They look around, noting all those who act angry all the time or have frequent anger outbursts. But, sometimes, they fail to see that they too need a bit (or a lot) of help managing their own anger. What about you? Do you need anger management therapy?

Although it’s certainly true that many people who need assistance barely show any anger at all, are they really as happy and carefree as they seem to be? Or, are they internalizing the struggle they are having with anger? Those who suppress their anger need anger management therapy just as much, if not more.

Do you know an individual who’s having severe consequences due to anger? Maybe there is a person you know who appears to be all together. Still, they might be going through the storm alone because they are not expressing their angry feelings. The process of therapy for anger management is the first real step in the healing process of hurts, disappointments, rage, and other life controlling problems.

What is Anger Management Therapy?

Anger management therapy focuses on assisting a client in understanding their anger, pinpointing the root, and laying out healthy ways to deal with or cope with symptoms of anger.

Anger management therapy can take place within a group situation where there are many people who gather together and share their anger thoughts and feelings with others. Within a group situation, it’s hopeful to gain some considerable insight in regards to your individual anger through attentively listening to how the other members in the group express theirs.

Counseling for anger management or anger management group therapy is always open for everyone to join in. No criteria exist that must be met in order to receive help for anger problems. It’s a reality that anger tends to commonly exist in those who don’t express it outwardly and openly.

Those individuals would greatly benefit from therapy for anger management since they would find out how to identify and acknowledge exactly what they feel. They would also learn ways to share those feelings with others.

There is no rule that says you have to have lost control of your anger before you can get help. Management of anger is beneficial to those who are easily identifiable as being angry since their outburst is often a symptom stemming from another emotion which isn’t recognized yet. The expression they are currently exhibiting may also bring on even more complications and problems.

Therapy for managing anger can appear very different. It depends on who is participating. Whole families can be in therapy in which case, the whole family may react the same when it comes to being angry.

That warrants digging deeper to discover the norms of their family systems and what root issues might affect them all. Perhaps shouting and throwing things was passed down from generation to generation and it’s typical behavior in the unit. Or, maybe there was a lot of abuse which caused the explosions on a regular basis.

If it happens to be a couple who is in therapy and they are trying to figure out the best way to manage anger issues in the relationship, it is likely that the therapy will be centered on the patterns and responses they have toward each other. When children are part of counseling, however, a different variety of tools will most likely be implemented. These tools help children realize when they are upset and angry and other things concerning anger.

Group settings allow everyone a chance to listen to each other and then to reflect how their anger reveals itself when they’re interacting with other. The group is not controlled by anyone so it is truly a free flowing method that benefits all.

While group sessions may be challenging if an individual is just learning how to manage and identify their emotions of anger, but at the same time, it’s extremely rewarding too.

When Should I Seek Anger Management Therapy?

You may be experiencing a lot of suffering because of past or current hurts that could easily cause you to feel angry. Sometimes hurt comes out as anger. If this emotion seems to be getting more exaggerated, getting into therapy could be the best thing you’ve ever done.

Failure to recognize that the behaviors within your life are actually being controlled by and connected to anger and frustration is typical. The emotions can be detached so you don’t see the connection like feeling angry when sadness is really at the root. Anger management is able to help you get to the source so you can deal with it effectively and have peace.

Maybe you’re expressing the anger you feel in a conducive and healthy way but are worried about the judgment that others inflict on you when you are angry. Or, maybe you’re upset because you feel that you should not even feel angry. Everyone has their own opinion of what the presence of anger means and no two views are exactly the same.

There are those who honestly believe that anger is alright and they express their anger in ways that don’t hurt themselves or to others. Others are confused about anger, especially about it in a Christian light. They are concerned about how God views it.

The Scriptures show us what the Bible says about anger and how Christians are expected to handle it. In Ephesians 4:26, we are commissioned not to fall into sin because of anger and not to allow the sun to set while being angry still. Proverbs 14:29 teaches us to control our anger and not to act foolishly because of it.

Even when reading the passages, you may be wondering how they apply to your personal life. Seeking counsel may be very helpful if you are feeling confused. It will encourage you to dig down to the roots so that you better understand your anger and discover how it fits into your spiritual life.

The Scriptures tell us that God becomes angry at times. Looking at how He expresses His anger can help us know how to manage our own. In Deuteronomy 32:19, we’re told that God grew angry and drew back. That tells us he did not act on his angry feelings. We can see in Romans 9:22 that God is still very patient even when angry.

Anger Management for Children

It is difficult for children who suffer from anger issues to display enough symptoms to meet the requirements for a mental health defined disorder that would place them in anger management counseling. Those who do may end up being diagnosed with an adjustment disorder, conduct disorder, or a similar category.

It’s imperative to have several family sessions so the family unit can learn healthy ways to respond to the child’s anger and to be helpful rather than harmful so as to support the child and not the problem. Being on the same page is priceless

Therapy isn’t just for children who’ve been formally diagnosed with anger related problems who can reap the benefits of counseling for anger management, but also, those who’ve experienced a significant loss or who have been in foster care or even those who may be angry about events they’ve been through, like their parents getting divorced. Medical illnesses can also be a root of anger. There are many hurtful or difficult situations which can be the deep-rooted reason a child reacts in anger.

It’s important to note that anger management counseling certainly does not have to spiral out of control before a child can experience counseling. Prevention can be attained by addressing behavioral issues before they reach the boiling point. Many problems can be avoided when you take this preventative approach.

Treatment for Anger Issues

Now you may be curious as to what you might get out of therapy for anger management. There are techniques that are implemented before anger is experienced and some that are used after you feel angry. These things will help you prepare in advance for all different situations and scenarios. The more you know, the more you can avoid being caught off guard.

Understanding the things that cause you to feel angry is vital when it comes to working through anger problems. Whether it’s traffic that angers you, the tone of voice people use or being taken for granted, pinpointing the source or sources is important to finding a solution.

In the midst of your irritation, you might not be able to find a workable solution but if you take a step back and process your feelings and your anger, you can put a plan in place. That is yet another anger management technique learned in therapy.

Another method for managing your anger is to discover how to ask questions that clarify the situation. Poor communication tends to escalate anger. Clarification can change everything in many cases. Because anger is often spun from misunderstandings, it’s wise to ask someone that you may have misunderstood for a bit of clarity.

Coping skills are imperative when it comes to managing anger, such as talking to a friend, enjoying music, painting or drawing, playing video games, and even writing. The object is to find something that distracts you from the anger you are feeling long enough to focus on the issue in a clear headed way. The idea is not to ignore the anger but to take enough time to cope with it instead of act on it. It’s all about finding healthy ways to manage anger.

Expressing anger tends to be a thing that individuals do or don’t do on a regular basis. There are times that expressing anger in the open leads to huge consequences like being arrested or losing a relationship. Learning effective ways to deal with and express anger can be difficult but constructive.

Counseling is an excellent way to help manage your anger. It is a spot that’s safe and you can start learning techniques that will help you deal with anger in a positive and good way. Counseling is also quite conducive for children. They are encouraged to take such creative actions as drawing pictures to get in touch with feelings of anger. Adults can even do the same. They can write down the words so it’s not necessary to hunt for them. Writing a letter is a good example of this type of therapy.

These techniques are just a few of the many tools available through counseling. If you or someone you know struggles with anger, reach out today and get the help you are longing for. Our counselors are here to walk with you on your journey to be free from anger once and for all.

Photos:
“Argument”, Courtesy of Vera Arsic, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Campfire”, Courtesy of Volha Krayeva, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Shirtless Boy”, Courtesy of Vance Osterhout, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Overlook”, Courtesy of Mc7000, Pixabay.com, CC0 License

What Does the Bible Say About Anger?

Have you ever wondered, “What does the Bible say about anger?” If so, this article is for you.

Anger is an emotion that everyone experiences, but it’s also an emotion that is viewed quite negatively. There seems to be a consensus in society that anger is straight up wrong but this is a misguided perception. To classify anger as inherently wrong is like saying that everyone who struggles with anger issues is “bad” or even “evil.”

That’s just not the case. Most people don’t get out of bed and “decide” to get angry for no reason. Anger is an emotion, and like all emotions, it’s usually provoked by something.

So, what does the Bible say about anger? The Bible talks about two kinds of anger: righteous anger and unrighteous anger. It’s important to remember that God expresses anger in the Bible and if anger is an emotion that God expresses, then it’s impossible for it to be evil.

God’s anger is in response to injustice, which makes it righteous anger. Christians can also become righteously angry about injustices. God’s anger is justified because it’s a demonstration of His love and the pain that He experiences when His children are hurting themselves and others.

It is unrighteous anger that is sinful. Flying into a rage over something that is not injustice is when anger issues become more serious. This kind of anger can lead to a lot of problems in relationships, employment, and school and can also lead to legal action.

What Does the Bible Say about Anger?

If you’re struggling with anger issues, then the Bible is a great place to turn for help and advice. We’re going to look at five verses about anger the Bible, to get God’s perspective on how anger should be handled.

Don’t Let Anger Control You

And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil . . . 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 4:26-27, 31-32 (NLT)

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul is really direct about the consequences of being controlled by your anger. When your anger issues are in control of you, you’re opening yourself up to attacks from the enemy, Satan, who is always looking out for weak spots that he can exploit.

What does it mean to not “let the sun go down while you are still angry”? Well, this part of the verse is talking about how you can settle into a state of constant, bubbling anger that rapidly becomes feelings of bitterness and resentment. As we discussed earlier, anger in itself isn’t a sin, but holding onto it and allowing your anger to fester is not healthy.

Paul goes on to give some practical advice (although in practice it’s not quite as simple as it sounds) about getting rid of “bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander.” I don’t think there’s an expectation that as a Christian you will never get angry, but this verse exhorts you to take control of your anger by practicing kindness and forgiveness just as God practices kindness and forgiveness towards us.

Don’t Be Quick to Respond in Anger

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.James 1:19-20 (NLT)

In the heat of the moment, getting excessively angry can cause a whole heap of trouble. If you’re naturally quick-tempered, you’ll know how easy it is to say something in anger and immediately regret it. The trouble is, once you’ve said it, you can’t take it back, and hurtful things said as an angry outburst can tear relationships apart.

If you’re prone to flashes of temper, then heeding the advice in this Scripture on anger can help you to manage your anger issues. When we respond in anger, we’re often foregoing the “quick to listen” part of these verses. Taking the time to listen to the other person’s perspective instead of immediately flying into a rage can allow you space to consider a more godly reaction.

You don’t have to agree with someone else’s views, but nor do you have to become angry. When you’re slow to speak, you have a better chance to choose the right words that can convey your views without causing a massive argument. Unrighteous anger is almost always a knee-jerk reaction. Practice righteousness by carefully considering your response, instead.

Follow Jesus’ Example

It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple area, he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.” – John 2:13-17 (NLT)

Jesus’ anger in the Temple is a great insight into what righteous anger looks like. It’s easy to justify your own anger issues as being righteous, but this passage of Scriptures about anger might cause you to reconsider whether your anger really is righteous.

Getting angry about injustice and wrongdoing in the way that Jesus did is okay. Jesus was consumed by anger because of the disrespectful way that the people were behaving in the Temple court. It was God’s house and they were using it as a marketplace. By doing that, they were insulting God and Jesus had every right to fly into a rage, given that He was preparing to die for them.

If you find yourself trying to justify your anger as being righteous, you need to search your heart to see whether this is really the case or if you are looking for an excuse to be angry. Jesus was angry on behalf of His Father, and his response was to berate the people for turning the Temple into a den of thieves.

Getting angry on behalf of someone else can be righteous but it’s not an excuse to behave inappropriately. Notice that Jesus wasn’t angry about something that was done to Him. You may feel that it’s justified to be angry if you’ve experienced an injustice, but the Bible really talks about righteous anger being about injustices that happen to others. It’s hard to have a righteous perspective when you’re the victim.

God’s Approach to Anger

The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected – even children in the third and fourth generations.Numbers 14:18 (NLT)

As Christians, our ultimate goal is to be more like God (or Christlike), so it makes sense that we should follow God’s example when it comes to anger. This passage in Numbers reminds us that although God does get angry, it takes a lot to make Him angry.

If you have anger issues and find yourself becoming very easily angry, you might want to spend some time thinking about how God would react in your situation. Or, even more poignantly, what the world would be like if God was more hot-tempered.

This passage also takes into account that although God doesn’t get angry easily and He is filled to overflowing with love for his children, and He forgives our transgressions, He is just in dealing with those who are unrepentant. This leads to the next verse.

Revenge is for God to Take

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19 (NLT)

When you hold onto anger, it quickly becomes resentment and bitterness and can lead to a desire for revenge. If someone has hurt you deliberately, then it’s natural to feel that you deserve some kind of recompense, in the form of revenge. However, the Bible is firm in reminding us that it is not for us to take revenge.

It can be tough to surrender your desire for revenge and trust that God will ensure that ultimately justice is served. No matter how difficult it is to let go of your anger and resentment, not doing so will only hurt you more. Holding onto anger can cause depression and anxiety not to mention giving the devil a hold over you.

Christian Counseling for Anger Issues

When you’re struggling with anger issues, it’s helpful to explore what the Bible says about anger, but you may also benefit from getting in touch with a Christian counselor. Christian counseling gives you the opportunity to discuss your problems with anger with a trained professional who will bring a Biblical perspective (not only a psychological one) to each session.

Working with a Christian counselor, you can explore more Scriptures about anger and discuss your feelings about the Biblical understanding of good and bad types of anger. You’ll learn tools to help manage your anger in a more godly way and have a safe space to discuss the underlying issues that may be affecting your anger issues.

Featured photo:
“Wandering,” courtesy of Priscilla du Preez, unsplash.com, CC0 License

When to Be Concerned about Child Behavior Problems

When should you be concerned about child behavior problems in your home?

We all have our moments of “cringe-worthy” behaviors. We say things we later regret or lie to get out of awkward situations. When we consider how difficult it is to control our own behaviors, just think of what a child goes through – with a brain that is still developing, and lacking the maturity and experience to understand all the consequences of negative behaviors.

Even children who are usually well behaved may encounter a situation where they are so overcome by emotion that they “lose it” and engage in inappropriate behaviors. This is especially true of very young children whose emotions are still in the early stages of development.

Nevertheless, there are negative behaviors that should not be ignored in children, or they may become ingrained, interfering with the child’s relationships and daily life. Taking quick action to nip these problems in the bud will avoid them developing into serious issues that require professional intervention.

No matter what behavior issues you are going through with your child, take confidence! Your child can learn to control his or her emotions and behavior. As a child’s brain is still developing, the child has a surprising ability to learn new concepts and develop appropriate behaviors, under the guidance of parents and other caregivers.

In their book, No Drama Discipline (2014), authors Siegel and Bryson recommend that we “chase the why” when considering a child’s behavior problems. Rather than jumping to conclusions as to why a child is misbehaving, instead engage in some detective work and find the true answer.

Let’s take a look at ten child behavior problems that are common in children, yet absolutely cannot be ignored. These behaviors require swift intervention to bring them in check before they escalate. By exploring the reasons why your child may be engaging in these unwanted actions, you can devise an action plan of how to deal with them.

Child Behavior Problems You Shouldn’t Ignore

1. Telling Lies

We all know it’s wrong to tell a lie, but we all do it from time to time. No matter what age, lying is a significant problem when it becomes habitual – so ingrained that the person’s word cannot be trusted. Some children become repetitive liars, which can make it difficult for parents to know when to believe the child. This could even put the child in harm’s way.

Why does a child lie? A child may lie in order to avoid a feared or disliked activity. Children struggling with self-worth might tell stories in hopes of being admired by others. A child might lie to avoid being punished. When a child has failed at doing something, they might actually say that they were able to do it, in order to feel more self-confident.

Children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) may be impulsive liars, where their mouth engages before their brain, according to Carol Brady, Ph.D., (ADDitude Magazine).

2. Stealing

When parents teach their children boundaries between what is theirs and what belongs to others, most children quickly learn that taking something that doesn’t belong to them is unacceptable. Unfortunately, some children develop a habit of stealing, for multiple reasons.

Perhaps they enjoy the thrill of swiftly taking something without being noticed and the adrenaline release. They might be attempting to gain control over a situation – such as when they perceive a disparity between what they have and what others have. Stealing may be a way of getting something parents don’t allow – such as candy.

3. Bullying, Harming Others, Self-Harming, and Property Destruction

No one wants to be the parent of the neighborhood bully. Rather than facing the fact that their child is hurting other people or purposefully breaking things, some parents simply ignore this violent behavior. Parents need to immediately address why their child is violent or destructive.

Violent or destructive behavior often results from deep-seated anger. The child may be receiving abuse from another child or adult. The child might be jealous if the parents’ attention is diverted to a new baby or to their career, and feel that negative attention is better than no attention.

Self-harming (hitting, scratching, or cutting themselves) is alarming behavior. Children may talk about hurting themselves or even committing suicide. Never ignore such talk or behaviors. It often indicates depression or other serious emotional issues. Immediately seek professional help if your child has suicidal ideations, is self-harming, or is violent toward others.

4. Temper Tantrums

Almost every small child has temper tantrums. Their brains are still growing rapidly, and they are learning how to regulate their emotions. When they encounter a stressful situation, such as getting tired and bored in the supermarket or getting over-stimulated, it might result in a “meltdown.”

Children who have sensitive natures – who experience strong emotions and take longer to recover from anger or sadness – are more prone to temper tantrums, even at an age when most of their peers have become relatively adept at emotional regulation.

When your child is having a meltdown, give the opportunity to regain control in as calm an environment as possible. Maintain your own composure, speak in a soft and matter-of-fact tone and try to remove the child from an over-stimulating environment. Don’t goad overwrought emotions further by reacting in exasperation.

If tantrums are occurring frequently, or it takes a long time for the child to regain control, or if the child is causing harm to self or others, or destroying property, then counseling is recommended. If you feel helpless and worn down by all the meltdowns, you will benefit by having someone come alongside to support and guide you in helping your child regulate emotions.

5. Belligerence and Defiance

If your child is usually cheerful and compliant, then abruptly begins to question your directives, or refuse to obey, this defiant attitude may be a way of asserting himself or testing boundaries. Your child may be disrespectful to you or other authority figures. Many times this behavior is picked up from peers or even TV shows.

You may be noticing your child has become combative and quarrelsome with his or her siblings, with friends, or even you. This may be a sign that the child is suffering from anxiety or depression, or may be feeling out of control.

6. Ignoring Others

If a child is habitually ignoring authority figures, it may be a display of defiance. If the child is ignoring even non-authority figures, it could be due to a hearing disorder, or the child could be going through internal struggles, withdrawing inwardly, and simply less aware of what is going on around him.

It could also be a sign of ADHD. With ADHD, children have trouble filtering the other sounds around them, in order to concentrate on what one person is saying. They also tend to get lost in a “dream world” and not focused on the matter at hand. If you’re seeing a lot of ignoring behaviors, you probably need professional help to determine if there’s a physical or emotional reason behind it.

7. Refusing To Go to School

If you child frequently complains of headaches or stomach aches on school days, has meltdowns right before the school bus shows up, or simply takes hours getting out of bed and ready for school, these are all signs that the child is resisting going to school. Now it’s time for you to play detective and figure out what’s going on.

Perhaps someone is bullying your child at school, or the teacher is unpleasant. Your child may be bored by lack of challenge, or suffering anxiety because of difficulty learning the material. Your child may simply not want to leave you or your secure home environment. The child may feel nervous about tests. If a child is depressed, they often lose interest in activities they once loved.

8. Laziness

When a child seems unusually unmotivated to do schoolwork or engage in sports or other activities, there’s probably something going on under the surface. Fatigue and lack of enthusiasm or interest in activities a person once enjoyed are signs of depression. If the child has a high level of anxiety about something stressful, this may have an immobilizing effect.

9. Smoking, Drinking, or Using Drugs

Children begin to experiment with cigarette smoking, drinking alcohol, or smoking marijuana around the age of thirteen. But children much younger than this engage in substance use, especially if it is readily available at home or from a friend or relative. Obviously, this behavior demands immediate attention before addictions develop or other serious issues ensue.

Once again, it’s important to explore the reason why a child is using cigarettes, alcohol or drugs. Is it peer pressure? Is the child copying the behaviors of the adults in his or her life? Is the child trying to cope with overwhelming emotions?

10. Premature Sexualized Behavior

All very small children explore their body. However, if preschool or elementary children are demonstrating overt sexual behavior or language, this is reason for concern.

Parents need to determine if the child has been exposed to pornography, or has observed teens or adults in sexual situations, or has even been the victim of sexual abuse. Consulting with a professional can help you discover what is going on with the child, and what to do about it.

What Should Be Done About These Child Behavior Problems?

Most negative behaviors are indicators of deeper, less obvious problems. Before you can help your child with the unwanted behavior, you first have to determine why the child is doing it. Finding the root cause is the key to effectively eliminating the problem.

This requires calmly investigating what the underlying issue is. Is it an immature and unregulated emotional system? Are there changes in the family that may be causing stress? Are there any problems at school – with learning the material or with peers or teachers? Is there any chance that the child is being bullied or exposed to inappropriate things or harmed by someone?

Often, child behavior problems are a way of coping with emotions or challenges the child can’t control. For instance, the child may feel jealous and neglected when parents bring a new baby home that demands a lot of attention. The child might act out with tantrums or defiance or even hurting others.

Just as adults cope with disappointments or hurts with unwise behavior – such as binge eating or drinking too much – children also choose incorrect ways to cope. Children don’t clearly understand the consequences, and their brains and emotions are still developing, thus they are more prone than adults to engage in problematic coping.

Understanding why children display unwanted behaviors does not mean we permit the behaviors to continue. But knowing the “why” behind the behavior helps us to determine issues that should be dealt with, and enables us to guide the child toward emotional control and equip the child with skills to overcome negative behavior.

A therapist trained in child development – especially development of the brain and emotions – can offer invaluable guidance and support. A counselor can help you determine issues underlying the problem behaviors, and suggest a plan of action.

When Should I Seek Help?

You don’t need to be in a crisis situation to seek counsel from a professional therapist on child behavior issues. In fact, the earlier you seek help, the better so that the problem behaviors don’t become worse.

However, there are several circumstances when you should immediately seek professional help:

  • if your child is harming self or others or destroying property,
  • if the problem behavior is very frequent or is escalating,
  • if the behavior is interfering with daily life – with school, family life, or friends,
  • if you suspect the child has been abused – physically, sexually, or emotionally, or
  • if you are exhausted and feel hopeless and don’t know where to turn.

We’re here to come alongside you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to get started in the right direction for your child.

Photos:
“Problem Child”, Courtesy of Patrice Audet, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Egg Stealer”, Courtesy of Andrew Poynton, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Pouting,” courtesy of martakoton, pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Smoke with Me”, Courtesy of Smoke & Vibe, Unsplash.com; CC0 License

Eight Anger Management Tips for Men from Scripture

While many may say that we are much more civilized than the olden days when conflicts were settled by duals to the death, anger is still an issue that plagues many men worldwide. Road rage, bar room brawls, fights in the gym, domestic violence, and a verbal tirade in the workplace are just some examples of anger unchecked.

Though both men and women may suffer from anger issues, seeing such rage from men is often quite scary as they are often the ones inflicting much physical damage. This may then cause a domino effect of anger as other men may retaliate as well, leaving devastation in their wake, possibly hurting whoever is in their way.

Thankfully, Scripture contains much wisdom in helping people today deal with their daily struggles, including managing one’s anger.

Anger Management Tips from Scripture

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – Galatians 5:22-23

In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul discusses the fruit of the spirit. If every man could fill himself with this fruit, then managing anger would not be a problem. So for those struggling with anger, it would be good to focus on and ask for such spiritual fruit.

Love

In Galatians, the love that is spoken of is a love for every person which stems from God’s loving presence in a person’s life. Such love means one should be concerned and compassionate towards others, and not indifferent or prejudiced. To have such love in one’s life means that you truly care about the people around you as they are a brother or sister in Christ.

Anger, however, comes from a place of pride and selfishness. Regular, uncontrollable anger against others means that one’s feelings are more important than those around. Only by becoming more loving can a man gain the wisdom and patience to deal with life’s frustrations.

Joy

While many may seek happiness, it is joy that allows one to see the positives in life despite the changing circumstances. But true spiritual joy can only occur when a person is focused on God, trusting in Him as our loving Father, provider, and protector.

In order to control one’s anger, a person needs to choose joy, knowing that our life is blessed as a child of God. When this is done, a man’s mental energy is diverted towards what is positive and not the negative things causing such anger.

Peace

Out of all of the fruits of the spirit, peace is the most antithetical to anger. When one has peace, it means that despite the circumstances, anger is not present. Such peace, however, only comes from God.

Left to ourselves, anger, frustration, and disappointment are the usual responses to situations that do not go our way. But with God’s help, this can be overcome. So rather than praying to not be angry, pray instead for peace in the heart and mind.

Patience

Anger usually does not exist alone. It is often the result of another emotion such as sadness, embarrassment, disgust, or frustration which arises from a particular event in a person’s life. Patience is the spiritual fruit that allows one to prevent such primary emotions from igniting anger. So when a man has patience, he is able to first address and control the initial emotion so that anger is not required to defend his hurt ego.

Patience, however, requires much practice and prayer to perfect. This starts with first contemplating on the areas in one’s life where more control is needed (e.g. budget discussions with the wife, dealing with misbehaving kids, disappointment with employees). Also, a man should be willing to humble himself when patience runs out and continuously pray for more.

Kindness

One way to remove internal anger is to fill life with positives. By focusing on acts of kindness, a man can feel better about himself and the people around them. Thus, in times of disappointment or frustration, it is hoped that the positives within will overpower the negatives stemming from the situation, preventing anger.

Contrary to what the media usually presents, kindness does require grand gestures towards others. Small, daily acts of kindness, such as a smile or a helping hand, can already change a person’s outlook towards life. But when dealing with difficult people or tough situations, it helps to ask God for the strength to be kind. Kindness is a spiritual fruit that blesses both the giver and the receiver.

Goodness

For many men, their anger stems from not achieving their desired goals in life. Thus, when they fail to impress or succeed, they become angry – first at themselves, and then at others.

The way to counteract this is to focus on the good things in every aspect of his life. Though our life on earth can never be perfect, there is still much good to be thankful for. Goodness also means purposely living a good life so that there is no need for shame, guilt, or regret. While it may be difficult at times to always be or do “good,” with Christ’s help, it is possible.

Faithfulness

One fruit that everyone needs today is faithfulness. Sadly, because of all the options presented and because of the various bad examples by people around us, it is difficult now for people to stay committed, which is often a cause of much anger or situations leading to anger. This faithfulness, however, is not just about romantic relationships (though particularly in marriage it is very important!); it is about following through on all commitments a person may give to others or to God.

In Matthew 5:37, Jesus advised, “Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.” Thus, whether the situation is about work, investments, friendship, love, or service to God; a man needs to fulfill his obligations to prevent untoward incidents that may lead to anger.

Gentleness

One definition or idea of gentleness is power under control. Men who are always angry allow their power to run wild, hurting others, verbally or physically. With gentleness, a man willingly holds back to make things safer for others.

Similar to patience, this requires much practice; but it can be done. When approaching possibly heated conversations or dealing with particularly testy people, for example, gentleness should always be at the front of one’s mind. If so, it will be easier to maintain composure and avoid anger.

Self-control

Self-control is the final fruit. With self-control, a man will be able to manage his response to antagonistic situations. However, to truly have self-control, the other spiritual fruits need to be present and the divine help of the Holy Spirit must be there as well. Without them, trying to manage one’s anger will be very, very difficult indeed.

Prayer and practice of self-control together with the other spiritual fruits are necessary for this fruit to be achieved.

Making Use of the Fruits

In order to use these spiritual fruits to control anger, a man has to first look within to determine the underlying cause. Is it bitterness? Pain? Sadness? Is this triggered because of certain people or certain situations?

Once the cause or causes have been pinpointed, he may then check which spiritual fruits can help manage the situation. Are more patience and love required? Are faithfulness and gentleness the best solutions?

When those have been identified, prayer must begin in earnestness to ask God for the spiritual fruits to combat the causes and the anger response. The process will take time so a man needs to be patient with himself if he cannot change immediately.

Know that God is always listening and that the Holy Spirit is beginning to work on that change within. Simply asking for that change through prayer is a sign that the process has begun.

Further Help Through Christian Counseling

In some cases, anger has severely damaged a man’s family and social life so much that the situation seems hopeless. In such scenarios, Christian counseling can help that man get his life back on track, especially when unearthing the true causes behind the anger.

Your Christian counselor can also help in reconnecting the person with God through prayer and the reading of Scripture as it may have been years since such activities have been done.

Anger should never be in control of a man’s life. If you or a friend believes that anger management is a big concern, then seek help soon.

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“Angry Enough to Kill”, Courtesy of WenPHotos, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Free”, Courtesy of Zac Durant, Unsplash.com; CC0 License; “Seeking Human Kindness”, Courtesy of Matt Collamer, Unsplash.com; CC0 License; “Studying,” courtesy of Patrick Denker, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0)

Effective Anger Management Strategies for Adults

Though anger is a useful emotion to have at times, it becomes a big liability when it runs rampant every time things don’t go your way. When uncontrolled, relationships are damaged, your reputation is tarnished, and peace of mind is lost.

In this article, we look at some sound techniques for managing anger so that your life and your walk with Christ will not be damaged because of anger.

Helpful Anger Management Tools

Recognize the Anger Warning Signs

Similar to many other mental and physical disorders, it is important to recognize if you are about to lose control. If this can be done, then the anger management tools can be made use of. It helps to pay attention to what triggers your uncontrollable anger – what scenarios, who are usually involved, and how were you feeling at the time. Once this is known, you can already prepare yourself before entering similar situations.

It is also essential to know the warning signs that you are about to have a meltdown. Physically, you may experience increased heart rate, heavy breathing, jaw clenching or teeth grinding, clenching of fists, shaking, headache, stomach ache, or the reddening of the face.

Mentally and emotionally, you may have feelings of violence (e.g. hitting, throwing, or breaking things); you may be obsessing over the problem, or your mind may go blank. There may also be specific actions that occur before you fully lose control such as constant pacing, hurling of insults or curses, or screaming or yelling.

Take a Time-out

A time-out is a very effective way of preventing anger from escalating to rage. As soon as the anger indicators occur, it is best to step away and cool down before regrettable things take place.

While taking that time-out, it can help to do some of the following:

  • Take a shower – Many say that the physical experience of a shower can cool down the mind and senses, allowing a person to think better.
  • Take a walk – A change of scenery can give you a better perspective on what is happening. And as a form of exercise, restless energy is released and the mind calms down.
  • Listen to music – Instrumental music or, better yet, Christ-centered music can help you focus more on Christ to help you make the right decisions.
  • Pray and then think – As you wait for your anger to subside, you should first pray to God for wisdom and assistance for the issue at hand. Then start thinking of possible solutions to the problem. Once you have a few ideas in mind, consider the manner of how you will present them. Though you may have been hurt by the latest confrontation, returning to the discussion with hurtful words will just escalate the situation and probably cause you to become angry once more.

Let Off Some Steam

For some people, a walk is not enough to release all the negative energy. In such a case, it is best to go for something very physical such as lifting weights, cycling, running, or playing a sport. Doing yard work is another way to release steam and help out with the chores.

Distract Yourself

If you are not into strenuous exercise, it also helps to distract yourself with something fun, calming, or helpful. Watch a funny movie, work on a project at home, read a book, paint, cook, or help out a friend with something they need to be done at home.

Use Some Tried-and-Tested Relaxation Techniques

Many Christian anger management counselors recommend the following to regain control:

  • Deep breathing

A standard exercise is to breathe in slowly through the nose for five seconds, exhale through the mouth for seven seconds, and then repeat until calm.

  • Progressive relaxation

In this technique, different parts of the body are slowly and systematically tensed and released. By focusing your thoughts on the process of controlling your body, the mind becomes calmer as it imagines the tension leaving your system.

  • Yoga or stretching

Yoga has become a very popular way of releasing daily stress and it works well for anger management. If yoga is not your thing, then there are also other stretching exercises that can achieve similar relaxation results.

  • Imagery & thought-stopping

As uncontrollable anger stems from the mind, it helps to be able to control your thinking. In imagery, you choose to stop angry thoughts by thinking of pre-chosen, positive ones until you calm down (pre-chosen so you do not find yourself scrambling to think of something). This may be a Bible verse that always helps to center you or it could be a happy scene or image that inspires you (view of the mountains, oceans, or children smiling).

  • Journaling

Choosing to pour out your feelings onto paper is another helpful method. Aside from allowing the angry thoughts to flow from your mind onto something else, it is also a way for you to later analyze what keeps bothering you.

Digging Deeper for the Cause

While it is important to be able to put the flames of anger out with the abovementioned methods, it is of greater importance to discover what is causing all of this rage.

Conduct a Moral Inventory of Yourself

Though awkward at first, it is necessary to discover the true causes of your anger dilemma. You should reflect on your life and list down people that you have wronged. If possible, do try to make amends so that those areas in your life can have closure. Sometimes rage stems from anger with oneself over past mistakes with others, feelings of guilt, or unworthiness.

Next, make a list of the people who have hurt you. Then pray and seek to forgive them in your heart. Dealing with them Biblically may give you the peace of mind you have always been looking for.

Take Better Care of Yourself

In many instances, this rage comes from personal anger directed at yourself as you may not feel as “beautiful” as others. Though we are all created differently, always remember that as people created in God’s image, we are all beautiful. But to help us feel beautiful and healthy, it is necessary to take care of ourselves by eating properly, getting enough sleep, exercising, doing things we love, connecting to others, and strengthening our relationship with God.

Be Yourself

Pretending to be somebody else can also cause much self-anger. Sometimes a person may be too passive, always following what others want them to do or conforming to what others wish them to be. There comes a time, however, when a person has to make a stand and assert themselves in the right way. Pray for the strength and wisdom to do so and then exercise it when you feel you are being coerced into something you do not wish.

Know God and Live According to God’s Standard

Life on earth will always be challenging. This is why everybody needs God’s help, especially those who cannot control their anger. But this cannot occur unless you purposely seek to know Him through prayer and meditation on Scripture.

The more you seek Him, the more you will discover that He has never forsaken you and that He has been moving in your life to bring you to this particular moment where you are finally ready to have a lasting relationship with Him.

Part of this relationship is living according to God’s standard. The more that you do wrong in your life, the more you will experience inner turmoil which may also be a cause of your uncontrollable anger. God’s standards are very high, but don’t let that daunt you. As you walk daily with Christ, God will give you the grace and strength you need through the Holy Spirit so that little by little you will find yourself transforming into someone better.

Seeking Help through Christian Counseling

Despite the various methods to control anger, some people have difficulty doing this on their own. If professional help is needed, seek assistance from a professional Christian anger management counselor.

In Christian counseling, the above mentioned anger management techniques will be discussed and the counselor will help you implement them properly. Moreover, sound counseling methods will be used to help you determine the true root of your anger so that solutions may be found.

But most importantly, the Christian counselor can help you connect to God so that you can view anger from God’s perspective. It is through a strong relationship with Him that you will be able to truly control yourself as challenges come your way.

In this fallen world, there are many temptations to inappropriate anger. If you or a friend is having difficulty controlling your anger response, seek help soon.

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“Punching Fist”, Courtesyof PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Overlook”, Courtesy of Mc7000, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Relaxation,” courtesy of pixabay.com, pexels.com, CC0 Public Domain License: “A Calm Faith”, Courtesy of Garon Piceli, Pexels.com; CC0 License

Three Anger Issues Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

You’re driving down the highway and a driver cuts in front of you. Your immediate reaction is to blare your horn and shout obscenities. Road rage is a term used to describe someone expressing their anger while driving and it’s one of many examples of anger.

There are a variety of situations that can trigger anger. Here are a few  anger issues symptoms to look out for.

Common Anger Issues Symptoms

1. Silent and invisible anger

Anger issues symptomsWhen most people think about anger they imagine verbal and physical outbursts. However, anger manifests in many different ways including a silent and invisible expression. The phrase “it makes my blood boil” accurately describes how anger can feel.

You could be fuming mad internally, but on the surface, you appear normal. Anger, if never addressed in a healthy way, can begin as a silent build-up of emotions. Like a volcano, it lays dormant under the surface until one day it erupts unexpectedly.

2. Aggressive anger

Anger issues symptomsAggression is the typical symptom that comes to mind when anger is mentioned. Think of a toddler’s temper tantrum. They pinch, hit, scream, slap, punch, throw, slam and stomp. Those tantrums don’t always go away as the transition to adulthood happens.

If anger isn’t properly directed and managed it can cause harm to yourself and others. Counseling provides a place to talk about and examine what exactly is causing the anger. If anger isn’t being talked about, it’s being expressed instead.

You can think of anger like a water bottle. Each situation that frustrates or angers us adds a drop to the water bottle. Eventually, if the water is never released it becomes too full and overflows. In the end, it’s usually something that doesn’t normally frustrate us that ends up causing the overflow.

Anger issues symptomsIt’s not until someone snaps that others pay attention. It’s often hard to see what’s bubbling under the surface until it has already boiled over. Anger is like an iceberg.

Above the surface of the water, only a portion of the ice is visible. But below the water, lies the part of the ice that is unseen. This is the other feelings besides anger that create the bulk of the iceberg that’s invisible. These feelings can range from guilt to embarrassment and stress.

Anger, whether silent or screaming, can be brutal. Learning to communicate your feelings of anger is the key to normalizing and neutralizing the power anger has. By discussing what you remember and how it made you feel you are integrating the right (emotional) and the left (logical) hemispheres of the brain. This helps you to regain control of your anger instead of allowing anger to dominate you.

If we only look at anger when someone is in the middle of being angry, we will never understand their anger fully. Whether sitting with a 4-year-old who has constant tantrums or an ex-convict who recalls having blackout rages, the conversations are similar.

A counselor might ask, “What do you remember?” In digging deeper the conversation might shift to, “Where did you first start to feel the anger in your body?” Taking the time to understand and examine your anger in order to discover root issues will help you heal.

3. Self-focused Versus Others-focused Anger

People don’t always associate anger with depression, but if you dissect the thought process of someone living with depression, you will often find signs of anger turned inward.

Anger issues symptomsThoughts like, “I’m worthless” or “I’m not good enough,” can become repeated thoughts in the mind. If these thoughts are left bottled up, it can turn into a belief that life is not worth living anymore or everybody is better off without you around. Self-hatred can lead to suicide.

The opposite of this is homicide. Homicide is when anger towards another person builds to the point where murdering that person seems justified. Others-focused anger takes on various forms including aggravated assault, rape, domestic violence, child abuse, bullying, and terrorism. Both self-focused and others-focused anger is rooted in deep feelings of anger that originated somewhere within.

Anger is a normal emotion. How you channel that anger is what matters most. Anger that is left unchecked, can have disastrous effects. Feeling anger can be helpful because it is a gateway to identifying and uncovering other thoughts and emotions. Christian counseling is just one way to begin a journey of handling your anger in healthy ways. If you struggle with anger and its symptoms, Christian counseling offers a safe place to experience freedom.

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“Angry Adult”, Courtesy of Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Plastic Face”, Courtesy of Splitshire, Splitshire.com, CC0 License; “Man in Shadow”, Courtesy of Roman Carey, Pexels.com; CC0 License; “Icy Anger,” PICT3742.jpg, Courtesy of Cchelle, morguefile.com