Sunday, 13 November 2011

Anger management

Are you an angry person? 

How often do you get angry?

How do you get angry?  Do you just 'let it all out' or do you bottle it up until one day you have a massive breakdown? Or perhaps you let your anger seep out in a passive-aggressive way, making snide remarks or behaving sulkily, hoping the other person will notice?

Here's some things I've learned about anger, both from God's Word and also practical life experience. P.s. No, I am not the Hulk. 

(the emotional, impulsive, raging monstrous alter-ego of Dr. Bruce Banner in the Marvel Comics Universe. How do I know this? Let's just say that me and my friend M once made an unwise decision that led to an afternoon spent watching the Hulk in a theatre filled with 13 year old boys). There is always room for imrovement as far as managing our emotions goes, the history of humanity indicates it's an area we struggle with. Here's my top 3 tips:

1. Decrease Pressure.
At least for me, stress=getting angry/irritated more easily.  Of course, you can't eliminate all of life's stresses and annoyances and shut yourself up in a comfortable little bubble. However, (and especially if you struggle with anger), it's a good idea to really rethink your schedule, time management and priorities if you are habitually getting angry and irritated. Pray to God and ask for wisdom to cut out any unnecessary burdens/stresses from life. Sometimes we think we have no choice but we do- there is nothing we have to do (except pay taxes and die, right?).

2. Be flexible-   If things don't go your way or as you had hoped/planned. 

3. Ask yourself, "Why am I angry?"
This is a dangerous question to ask because if you start asking this, you may just learn some things about yourself that you didn't want to know (but probably need to know).  Firstly, just asking a rational question can help get you thinking at a time when angry emotions are completely clouding your logical/rational thinking. And then you can start using rational thinking to problem solve yourself out of whatever has gotten you upset. Secondly, asking yourself why you are angry is a reminder that you are responsible for your emotions, regardless of who/what triggered it. Have a look at this verse where God uses this strategy with Cain, after Cain becomes angry at God and his brother Abel:

"Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at your door and it's desire is to have you but you must rule over it."  Genesis 4:6

God said, 'your anger wants to control you but you must rule over it!' God would not tell us to do something if it wasn't possible to do it! It's a command but also a promise: "You can rule over it!"
If we are in a right relationship with God, He will help us to be in control of ourselves at all times, no matter what our circumstances are or how other people may behave towards us.

* a great online resource for Bible verses about anger and also some helpful articles.

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