Anger is an emotion I’ve struggled with over my lifetime. Do you ever struggle with anger?
As a child, I got angry when I didn’t feel heard, when I felt no one took me seriously or when my feelings weren’t validated. As the youngest, the way I got my voice heard was when I yelled or said outrageous things that exploded from inside.
When I reached adolescence, my anger and voicelessness went inside. I learned to silence myself by disappearing, either starving or stuffing my emotions through an eating disorder.
As an adult, I’ve learned self-control with anger, though it’s not easy at times.
How do you control anger? How do you deal with it so that it doesn’t get the best of you ? Here are seven ways to work at anger.
1. Communicate your thoughts, feelings or frustrations before the situation or your anger escalates. When you’re proactive to talk calmly to the person you’re frustrated, hurt, or upset with before anger sets in, you diffuse the situation and get your voice heard without your tongue being out of control.
2. Release the anger that’s built up in your body through physically activity. Punch a pillow, run, exercise or do something physical that takes the negative energy out of your body and releases it in a healthy way.
3. Focus on something outside of the situation to take your mind off of the situation and to diffuse angry feelings. Take a walk, listen to music, get involved in work at hand, bake, clean – do something that focuses your energy on something positive, not the source of your anger.
4. Talk it out with a friend, counselor, or trusted person in your life. Release your anger with safe and healthy people who won’t ramp up or fuel you anger.
5. Put words to your feelings through writing out how you feel.
6. Pray, asking God to calm your anger and replace it with His peace that passes all understanding in Christ Jesus.
7. Change what you can about the situation. If your anger is systemic or ongoing, consider how you can remove yourself from the situation or source of the anger. Also consider what you need to change in the situation or relationship if it’s applicable.
Dear Father, teach me how to control anger that gets the best of me. Help me to let you control my tongue instead of me. Turn my eyes to you before I speak. Be the controller of my emotions, Holy Spirit. Amen.