Everyone struggles with getting hot under the collar. Anger is part of being human. We all have triggers that set us off and make us angry. We don’t have to work on not getting angry, we have to work on managing our anger instead of it managing us. What matters is not so much the anger itself, but how we handle ourselves, how far we let it control us. Proverbs 29:11 says, “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.”
Everyone has triggers. What are yours?
The way to handle anger is to know your triggers and (try!) to choose how to respond to any given situation instead of just flipping out in rash anger. Handling ourselves this way gives us power and grace. To stop from just lashing out, here are 3 not-always-so-simple steps to keep cool.
1. Freeze! When someone does something and you feel the blood rushing to your face, stop right there. Don’t move a muscle, don’t say a word, don’t react. Give yourself a few minutes to regain control. You can’t change how you feel, but you can change how you react.
2. Breathe! Take a few deep breaths. Stopping and breathing, instead of spouting off, will save you over and over in life. Paying attention to your breathing will take your mind off whatever just happen, even if only for the moment–long enough to get a handle on the situation.
3. Chill! When something happens, when someone upsets you in some way or another, often the best thing to do is NOT to dwell on it. I’m not saying we should let everything go and be happy, happy…but if anger is controlling you or your day, the best thing to do is stop, breathe, chill and think about something positive, no matter how difficult.
What are your triggers and what ways do you handle them?
Lindsay, it seems the term “managing” anger gives the impression that we can keep it around and get more familiar with it as the days, weeks, and years go by. I believe God wants us to walk in freedom not having to always check to make sure it isn’t continually stewing right underneath the surface. It is always the best policy to get rid of the root of the trigger so it isn’t an issue where we have to wear ourselves out with continual management. Kind of like a garden…I can manage the weeds by chopping them off, but I have to do it again and again. I can get rid of the weeds that are already there (as opposed to the new seeds floating through the air) by pulling them up by the roots. Over and done with for those particular weeds.
Believe me, I understand what you’re saying. I was not referring to deep rooted problems of anger over the same issues that some carry with them all their lives … white-hot anger kind. (On my FB page, I wrote a disclaimer about psychotic snaps … lol.)
“Weeds” always pop up in life. We ARE and CAN BE set free … but that doesn’t mean we will forever live in happy, happy land all our days. Life is messy. We all face moments of being put-out in some form or fashion.
I don’t write deep theology — I write to win hearts and plant little seeds of encouragement and hope. Just my style.
Thanks for your comment though … nice to get a conversation going.
PS — I don’t know about getting rid of my triggers (which happen to be some personalities around me) … can’t just throw people away. BUT I CAN change how I react to people. Just saying.
LOL — one more thing. The verse I added to the article implies we all … the fools and the wise … deal with anger. Anger is not a bad thing. Thinking deeply on that verse made me realize we all will deal with it all of our days here in our earthly bodies.