“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”
– Proverbs 29:11 NIV
I am guilty of allowing the folly of giving full vent to my anger and being displayed as a foolish person. I don’t live in regret, but I have regretted being the foolish person who gave full vent to his anger. Thank God for Jesus Christ who covers my transgressions, forgives my sins, and does not count them against me.
I have also demonstrated being the wise man who keeps himself under control in the face of distress and under the duress of injustice and the provoking behavior of others. In those moments all glory goes to God for the power of His Spirit at work in and through me that equips, enables, and empowers me with the fruit of patience and self-control.
Anger is a very powerful emotion that brings with it a surge of adrenaline. Because the effects of anger (both internal and external); how it makes one feel and influences some to do, some may feel, or think, anger is an unhealthy emotion. Anger is simply an emotion, like sadness, happiness, fear, etc., but it can be expressed in an unhealthy manner when it is not managed appropriately. We usually experience anger from a sense of injustice, but without anger we would not be compelled to act against injustice. Anger, by itself, does not affect change. Just ask the parent who is angered daily by their adolescent child who consistently fails to clean up their room. The parent’s anger does not, by itself, influence the child to clean up. Being angry about something, alone, will not bring about the desired results we seek. When channeled properly, however, anger fuels us to action. The Civil Rights Movement of the late 1950’s-1960’s is an example of faith and anger in action.
Anger out of control is anger that is left unmanaged. Much like a balloon when the air content reaches full capacity and the balloon is released, it flies all over the place. Anger out of control is like a balloon released with a full content of air. Take the same balloon filled to capacity and, instead of releasing it, you hold the end of it allowing air to be released intermittently until the balloon rests exempt of air. This is anger being managed, or anger under control.
Anger Management is relearning the triggers and signals that occur when someone is becoming angry so they can then learn to better manage the emotion anger. Anger triggers are the internal/external forces that occur that can cause someone to become angry. Feeling tired, hungry, annoyed, a particular word, a pointed finger, someone lying on you, favoritism, being mistreated, etc. are all examples of anger triggers. Anger signals are the physiological reactions that occur within me that let me know I am becoming angry. Sweaty palms, increased heart rate, clenched fists, rolling the eyes, neck swiveling, cursing, yelling, calm voice, crying, etc. are all examples of anger signals.
I cannot control someone trying to push my buttons (anger triggers), but I can learn to control my reaction by learning to identify the anger signals when they occur to move away from anger quicker and return to a normal state. By doing this I consistently learn to detect, defuse, and deal with my anger and my circumstances in a manner that allows me to be victorious, free, and in control of self. This provides me clarity, wisdom, and the necessary resolve to face the challenges that provoke anger in order to overcome and prevail against it.
Detect- recognize your anger signals which is your internal alarm to begin calming down
- Some have trained themselves to ignore their signals seeing them as permission to release the anger (or give full vent to it)
- Road rage, verbal, mental, or physical abuse, violent behavior are all examples of anger unmanaged from recognition of signals
Defuse- the only thing I should be seeking to do when angry is calm down
- studies indicate it takes roughly 45 minutes to calm down once you arrive at an angered state which makes this an inopportune time for decision-making
- employing ‘positive self-talk’ reflecting on positive thoughts or saying something to yourself to help you calm down, (i.e., ‘I am not a victim in this situation,’ ‘I am not above injustice,’ etc.)
- engaging in healthy, positive physical activity causes you to exert the adrenaline associated with the emotion that helps to bring you emotionally, physically back to a relaxed state
Deal- once I am calm, relaxed I can separate how I’m feeling from the cause, source, of my anger and look at constructive, positive, healthy ways of resolving the conflict
- Clarity of thought enables me to see how to effectively handle the conflict and may also help me to see that the only real solution is to apply faith and allow God to help me get through the situation, because it is something that is out of my control
- Being calm allows me to see whether this is something I can change and how to go about affecting change, or this is something I cannot change, so LORD change me to better deal with, overcome, and prevail against the reality of what I face
May God bless you and help you to respond to your anger signals and manage your anger in a manner that allows you consistently to be free, prosperous, and productive.