Today I want to discuss the impact of anger, as well as the damage it can cause. Depending on how it is expressed, it can enhance or end people’s relationships or rob you of your peace of mind and health.
There are different forms of anger. Anger can be righteous or justified, especially in tough situations, such as seeing or learning about tough things that happen to innocent people. In instances of child or elderly abuse, anger is justified and common. Becoming angry just because things don’t go your way or you’re simply disappointed, is an opportunity to rework the game plan, not through away the play book and stop making good choices in how you respond. Worse yet, sinning in ones anger is not justified and is never beneficial. There are differences between healthy and unhealthy anger, and understanding the various types of anger and how to the control problems are crucial to overcoming anger.
When working with angry people or even struggling with anger within your own mind, it is important to remember that anger is a normal emotion.
Understanding the underlying reasons why you feel this emotion is a great start to diffusing the feeling. You can have an overwhelming event that triggers emotional pain and anger ensues. Or perhaps you become angry because you feel an action or event is unfair. In many instances the root cause of anger is offense, which is a perception of the event.
Having self-awareness and putting in place the necessary proper management solutions will help you work through anger.
Did you know that there are different types of “toxic” anger that actually wreak havoc on the mind and body? When individuals get angry their brain functions in a different manner; the part that releases serotonin (the feel good hormone) is shut off and is replaced by the hormones adrenaline or cortisol. These hormones are present in low impact situations that cause anger and states of feeling enraged. If exposed to excessive levels of these hormones, for even short durations of time, can cause damage to occur in the heart, kidneys, muscles and to your brain itself.
Regardless the cause, toxic anger develops when anger is not dealt with in a healthy manner. Episodes of lashing out, yelling, screaming, fits of rage or even lengthy moments of silence can be toxic.
There is another option, face the situation with a new perspective. Let’s start here with learning that
fealing with anger is generally a three step process.
- Identify why you are angry.
- Take a time out, step back and reexamine how you should respond. As Christians we should take a page out of Gods plan for anger and follow the example of Jesus. He handled anger with grace, with patience, with prayerful consideration and with boundaries. Not to say He didn’t display righteous anger, but He never sinned in his anger. You can choose to manage your words wisely, so not to cause more harm.
- Dispel the anger and replace it with a conversation in which you are filtering your words. Filtering means to cause peace in the moment, instead of pouring fuel onto the fire that needs to be extinguished.
Although these steps sound simplistic, they are not easy. It takes practice in the midst of anger to stop and think about what and why you feel the way you do. Remembering to pray for a healthy response takes practice, and implementing prayer into everyday situations is the key to bring about good communication habits into situations where anger arises. When you pray you are asking God to give you wise words, acknowledge Holy Spirit is with you as a helper. You will begin to find a sense of direction in the circumstances you face. Deep breathing is also a great way to try to relax in the chaos. Taking a break from the moment and getting centered on rational thoughts is vital, even if you can leave the circumstance at the moment you’d like, you can take a break in actions and choose to say you need to take a break and pray. Take your thoughts captive. The Lord tells us to do this:
2 Corinthians 10:5 “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Often anger recognition, management, and self control are all part of taking a thought captive.
Your mind, not just your behavior, must change. God calls us to change sinful behavior that does not honor Him. Instead of focusing on your outward behavior, work on disciplining your mind, from which the behaviors stem. Allow God to transform you by the renewing of your mind (Rom. 12:2).
Think through your problems rather than just react to them. When you experience difficult challenges, you can react to them and think yourself into despair every time. Or you can look forward to the next opportunity and ask yourself what you learned from this failure. You don’t have to get trapped by disabling thoughts of anger. You are capable of getting out of your despair, and anger, by taking control of your thoughts.
Choose to focus your thoughts on the right things (good things, such as the power of God in the circumstance or the love Jesus showed to those who messed up in life) you have the same authority living inside you. We are to think about those things that are “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable” (Phil. 4:8). When we think about those things, God promises to give us His peace.
Take heart, as God empowers you to focus your mind on the right things, it will become easier. You can develop a new frame of reference, based on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
It is possible to live a life aware of our thoughts and taking them captive! God gave us the Holy Spirit to empower us. Start following these steps today to gain power over your anger, your thinking and your actions that follow.