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.
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).
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.
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.
“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