British statesman Edmund Burke argued:
“men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there is without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
Anger is defined by the Oxford dictionary as a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. It's a very normal and healthy emotion, and I am sure everyone has experienced this negative emotion. However, when it spirals out of control or flares up it can take a toll on our relationships and even our health.
There are a few ways that we can identify the triggers of our temper.
Some of the causes of anger include:
- Unmet Expectations
Expectations trap us and mostly we can not see beyond them. We all expect things from our friends, family and loved ones. It can be a job, a hug, a good word among others. Resultantly uncontrolled anger results in bad health habits, damages relationships and leads to all kinds of outbursts and regrets.
Some people think of themselves first. Sometimes when we are full of pain, all we can think about is how we shall avenge our pain. The first murder in the bible is a result of selfishness. Uncontrolled anger is dangerous. A man who lacks self-control is like a city whose walls are broken down.
- Lack of Faith In God
God's character is just and sovereign. When we surrender an issue to Him he will be faithful to see that justice is carried out. When we do not trust God our anger can smoulder our hearts and cause us to lose our faith in God.
- We handle the anger with our own wisdom
The bible tells us that anger itself is not a sin. What we do with the anger is what ends us becoming either sinful or good. Trusting in God’s wisdom means that despite our anger we will look for a way to deal with it. However, many people do not trust God with their anger.
Knowing how to deal with uncontrolled anger is a key to preventing sinful actions and behavior.
Below we will look at seven strategies that can help us take hold of our anger:
1. Relax and breathe
As simple as this may sound, it helps a lot when trying to control the flare-ups when angry. Just take a deep slow breath in and out and take back control of your body. Take some time doing this exercise as soon as you feel triggered. After some time you will realize that you have retained your mental clarity.
2. Stop Talking
It's a hard task to restrain yourself from talking, especially when your anger is triggered. (Psalms 4:4) However, being silent for just a few seconds gives you a clear mind and you will be able to say the right things lovingly. You can even look at your watch for two minutes before taking any action. This will give you time to think and therefore act appropriately.
3. Evaluate Yourself
Most times when you feel angry, it means that something else is going on. It just takes a small trigger to reveal what is going on with you. Times when you find yourself in a constant state of rage, always blowing up and losing your cool, it means that something else is going on. Finding the true source of your anger on your own is just an opportunity to learn how to manage it. It might be an experience or belief that needs to be addressed so that you can release this rage.
4. Forgive and Let Go
Sometimes we may find ourselves angry at something that was said to us and we understood it differently or something that was done to us and it hurt our feelings. It becomes very hard to move forward from this especially if the person that did this to us is our friend. Holding onto the anger just hurts us even more. We can only free ourselves when we forgive them and release the angry feelings we may be harboring towards them. This will not be an easy task especially if the person doesn't even realize the damage they caused but for the sake of our own peace forgiving them ensures our healing.
5. Take time out and Exercise
The hormones released when we are angry; mainly adrenaline and cortisol are the same hormones released when our bodies are under stress. When you do regular exercises, your body learns how to regulate adrenaline and cortisol levels effectively. Hence, you will be able to control your anger whenever it's triggered.
6. Meditating on the Word of God
Speaking the Word of God over our circumstances is also an effective key in dealing with anger. Finding scriptures that would talk about anger and how to deal with it will give us victory. Our perspective will be in check and we will be reminded to choose what we say wisely.
Meditating on the scripture gives us victory over our anger no matter how deep it may run. Search today's scriptures that speak about anger, memorize one this week, and when you are angry meditate upon it. And as you do so, may healing fall on you, and may you be able to control that rage today.
7. Seek Professional Help
We are all human and sometimes we let our anger get the best of us. You are not alone in this. However, don't let anger rule over your interactions with others or spiral out of control. Since it's impossible to avoid all people and settings that could incite anger, when we are unable to control it by ourselves seeking professional help may be helpful in this setting. There is anger management counselling which will help us learn through a profession how to control our anger issues.