Anger comes in a range of strengths, from mild irritation, to frustration, all the way to fury and rage We all get angry
When we get angry, we need to learn how to use our anger creatively and effectively – not to hurt people but to heal yourself and your relationships with others
What we usually call ‘anger’ is actually only the 1 st stage – the protective stage. Here, your anger gives you a power boost to make you feel bigger and stronger so that you can face a person who seems more powerful than you or a situation that seems too difficult to manage.
1 st Stage – anger is a built-in, natural emotion that everyone feels. It kicks in automatically
The fact that anger is a normal, God-given response in NO way means it is okay to do unacceptable behaviour Ephesians 4 v26-27 ‘In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.’ It is normal to be angry, but it’s what you then do with your anger that matters
3 things trigger your anger: 1.You experience a situation or behaviour that you judge is unfair, hurtful, or in some other way ‘wrong’ 2. You feel unable to calmly and easily right the wrong – this may be because you believe that you lack the skill or ability to do so, or the person/situation seems bigger than you can handle 3. The experience is troubling enough that you cannot simply tolerate it or let it go.
Think of a situation recently when you got angry. Which one (or more) of the 3 triggers explains best why you got angry?
If you hold onto anger for a long time, it causes you problems Physical – ulcers, diarrhea, frequent colds and flus, slower wound healing, heart attacks, headaches, backaches, high blood pressure Mental, emotional and spiritual – it separates you from other people, keep feeling like a victim, impacts your ability to be grateful and have a healthy spirit, feeling inadequate, depression and anxiety
Proverbs 14 v17 ‘A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated.’ Proverbs 29 v22 ‘An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins. Proverbs 30 v33 ‘For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.’
James 1 v19 and 20 says, ‘Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.’
The 1 st stage of anger is automatic. It just happens! The 2 nd stage is optional. To reap the benefits out of anger, you need to consciously choose stage Two. The 2 nd stage of anger is quieter, more thoughtful than stage one.
Step 1: Safely regain your emotional balance -Identify your anger cues -Regain your emotional balance instead of harming others -breathe diaphragmatically. This relaxes your contracted muscle -take an exercise break. Use up the adrenaline-fueled energy -talk about it – find someone you trust and talk about it. Talking it through reduces the tension -write a poison-letter – write out your anger. This releases a lot of the frustration. Once it’s written and the anger is released, destroy the letter
What is your way of calming down when angry? How often do you do it when angry? All the time, some of the time or never?
Step 2: Write it down in more detail Describe the anger-provoking experience and your thoughts and feelings about it by writing it down. - writing it slows the mind down. It also stops you going over the same info all the time.
Step 3: Identify your Unmet Need You experience painful feelings and anger because there is a need that is unmet. To help identify your unmet need, re-read your Letter from Step 2. Look at the painful feelings you experienced – if you feel ignored, then your unmet need to be seen or included or recognised
Step 4: Take Action to meet your Need Decide how you will fill your need, and take small, manageable steps to do so. For example, if your unmet need was that you weren’t listened to by a teacher, what could you do to meet that need?
Step 6: Forgive - Forgiveness is not about condoning someone else’s actions -Forgiveness is the only way for you to be free of anger -forgiveness opens up the possibility of reconciliation with the other person. -Write or tell the other person that they are forgiven
Matthew 5 v23-24 ‘Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.’
How to tell if you are dealing with anger well: -Do you end up hating the person, holding grudges? Do you end up harming the other person with your words or actions? OR Do you forgive them?