5 Simple Ways to Deal with Anger
Have you ever been so angry that you just wanted to pounce on someone?
In the video below, Dr. Larry Iverson shares his insights on the stages of anger and how to stop it in it's tracks.
I found this video very helpful in my situation. He makes a very good point about human nature, and how we deal with fustration.
Lately, I have been dealing with a lot of turmoil in my life. I feel that I am in an unfair situation, while being judged unfairly, and I am having difficulty dealing with my anger.
I do not really feel the need to share what that situation is, but I do feel the need to share how it has affected me.
I have always considered myself an intelligent, caring person that is capable of seeing both sides in any given situation, and providing a sound solution that leaves everyone feeling satisfied. In my current situation, this does not seem at all possible. I feel like a complete victim, and the more I struggle to make things right, the more I feel like the other people in my situation are trying to sabotage my efforts.
I have examined the validity of these feelings thoroughly, and have found small glimmers of hope here and there, that maybe others are not trying to hurt me at all. They have certainly sustained claims of their innocence through this whole ordeal, and even given examples of how they have tried to help. However, I have seen more evidence to the contrary, than I have seen in favor of their claims.
One of the hardest parts of being a Christian, is knowing that forgiveness is a necessary part of pleasing God. We are, as part of the body of Christ; supposed to forgive the trespasses of others against us completely, so that we can receive complete forgiveness from God for our trespasses against others. In situations like these, this is so much more difficult than it sounds. In my opinion, I have always been a forgiving and loving person. This time however, anger is eating me from the inside. I honestly do not want to forgive this time, because I feel it will only leave me vulnerable to more pain in the future. I cannot even begin to tell you how much turmoil this has caused me as a Christian woman who believes in loving others as much as possible.
Having said all that, I would like to share that I have already been working to deal with my anger in healthy ways. I came across a book not too long ago, called Released from the Trap by Christian Author, David Minor. Along with reading that, I have spent many hours over the last six months immersed in scripture on the subject of forgiveness. I reluctantly have to admit that neither the book, nor the scriptures have offered me any peace of mind.
I would start many times saying, "Yes, I can do it! I can forgive and forget, and give it to God!" However, circumstances seem to open old wounds more easily than they opened the first time, and my anger is building against new and old wounds alike. Things that I was sure I had let go of keep rushing back into my mind, and actually overshadow the current situations, because they seem to be the foundation of my current pain.
I have learned that when dealing with people who are capable of hurting you repeatedly, you are sometimes dealing with people who have no sense of moral standards. In David Minor's book, he suggested that one of the steps to dealing with anger is going to the person who has hurt you, and telling them that you are angry, and would like to forgive them. I must reluctantly admit that speaking from experience, telling a person who cares nothing about you or your anger towards them, only serves to give them another opportunity to hurt you. After putting a lot of thought into it, I suddenly came to this realization: Many people get murdered as they are begging for their lives.
My point is, there are some people that just do not care whether you are able to forgive them. In my case, my desire to do so was actually used against me, and when I tried to apologize for an angry outburst that resulted from being wronged again, I was told that I needed to forgive and forget, and that as a Christian I should know that.
How will I deal with my anger in a healthy way then? Even though I do not agree with David Minor that I should try to rationalize with people who have hurt me, I agree that I should own my anger without guilt, as long as I do not sin because I am angry. The bottom line is that guilt and fear leads to sin. The outburst I was referring to earlier, was a good example of that. I had professed my hatred for one of the people who was hurting me. I felt justified in my hatred, because I felt that I had made every effort to negotiate with this person and avoid the mess that I am now dealing with as a result of his actions.
Was it a sin to hate his behavior? No, I do not believe that hating his behavior was wrong. Was it a sin to hate him? Yes, there is a difference between hating a person, and hating their actions. If I could do it differently, instead of saying "I hate you." I would have said, "I hate what you are choosing to do." That statement would not have been sinful at all. Would it have solved the situation to say either of those things? No, nothing I could have said would have solved this situation.
What is next? The other suggestions in David's book, included work, practicing a hobby, physical exercise, and of course, giving it to God. Therefore, here is the plan:
This is the easy part. I am just going to say it. "I'm angry. I hate this situation, and the reason for the situation. I feel disregarded, and in my opinion, the reasons given to me do not justify the actions taken by other people. I feel that I deserve to be treated with more understanding and compassion, because if it were the other way around, I would be showing more compassion toward them." I do not feel guilty for being angry about this.
Since this is my job, I am writing about my anger, and how I am dealing with it. I am also using the energy from my anger to motivate me into pursuing other online endeavors, and a few physical world projects. I have also found that my anger greatly subsides when I have cleaned or organized something in my surroundings.
Practice a Hobby
Another convenience in my life is that writing happens to be one of my favorite hobbies. I get a real sense of satisfaction when I succeed in publishing an article. Sharing my thoughts with other people in the hopes that it may help someone in a similar situation is also very satisfying. My personal website serves as a creative outlet, where I can post beautiful pictures and express myself in whatever way I see fit.
I love to go for walks, and it always helps my mood. I have also found that doing pushups on the wall feels great, and is a good low impact exercise that just about anyone (including myself) can do. Physical exertion releases emotional stress, and can increase your ability to relax later in the day.
Give It Away
I have also found that writing out my true feelings, and disposing of the paper, I have written them on helps to at organize my thoughts, and release them without hurting anyone else. The hard part is to dispose of my thoughts after writing them out. The urge to just give them to the people I am angry with is strong, but I have managed to control my impulse, because I know it would not help.
I also find that praying helps. Out of all the ways to deal with anger, this one is probably the hardest to implement, because in the heat of anger, your first thought is not always to pray, but honestly, that is what you should do. I am trying to get into the habit of telling God that I am angry about things before I tell anyone else, and asking him to help me soften my heart so that I will not be distracted from moving forward by things of the past.
I am sure that I will have to use this plan of action more than once, and I will have to use it to quench my anger about this same issue. My situation is not over yet, and I have a lot of work ahead to repair the damage. Therefore, I know that I will continue feel angry. I am okay with that, as long as I know I am doing my best to overcome my anger and move on with the rest of my happy life.
The situation I ended up in has finally been resolved, and upon some heartfelt relfection, I feel that I should be thankful that I ended up in the predicament I was in, because it opened a door to a completely new circumstance. I suddenly find myself happier than I have been in a very long time. I attribute God's grace to my current situation, and I know that if I had tried harder to hold onto my anger it could have blocked him from bestowing his grace upon me, and bringing me to place of peace and prosperity.
The action made by the other people I talked about ulitimately ended up bettering my situation, by giving me something to pray for, and giving God an opportunity to step in. I'm not saying that we should deliberately disregard other people in order to let God take over, but I am saying that when you feel disgarded, go ahead and try to let go of your anger so that you can pray without bitterness. Trust him to better your situation even when it seems that it can't get any worse.
My anger was driven by fear that my situation would get worse than it already was, because of their actions. God proved to me that he does not leave or forsake those who love and trust him. Once that truth is realized, there really is no reason to be angered by anyone elses actions. All that is left is grattitude for God's ability to make bad situations work for your good.
1 Timothy 2:8 (NIV)
Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
Proverbs 14:29 (NIV)
Whoever is patient has great understanding,
but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.
Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV)
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?"
Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."
Released From The Trap by David MinorCopyright 2001
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