Anger is one of the most unpleasant feelings for people to experienceeither in themselves or in others. If you"ve ever been around a raging child, an angsty teen, or a loved one unable to cope with life"s circumstances, you probably experienced first-hand the tornado of anger. Maybe, you"ve been that tornado yourself, and keep getting swept away despite your best efforts.
Unfortunately, we can"t flip off the anger switch in our brains. It goes with us everywhere, and is ready to come out under the right conditions. Potentially, this is even an appropriate thing. Anger, is a natural and God given human emotion. God directs us to have it.
"Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger." Ephesians 4:26 English Standard Version (ESV)
So anger is a legitimate feeling, and yet we find few people that can wield this emotion well. We are often nervous of its destructive power and hurt by it. I"d like to go over a few common mistakes that people make when dealing with anger, as well as some tools that can help you address anger in yourself or a loved one.
Note: Some of the below examples are not intended to apply to abusive or violent situations.
1. People stay in it too long.
One of the big mistakes I see people making in my practice is this: Staying in a situation they know will illicit anger or staying in a situation when they are angry, well beyond the point where they can function appropriately. If we"re honest, we have all said and done things we would never normally do when we are angry. Anger directs brain power away from the thinking parts of our brains, and into the areas associated with action/reaction. In these situations, I ask people to put their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and plans to act on hold. I ask them to calm their emotions in what ever way works for them. Then when they are calm and can think more clearly they can assess if their angry episode still holds weight. It might. I think there are good reasons for people to be angry, and we don"t always perceive situations well or have a good plan of action if the anger is justified. Take time to go through the practice of, "is my anger actually warranted if so, how do I address the situation in a way that would keep me from regretting my actions?"
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